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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Album Review: Swizz Beats' "One Man Band Man"

While Swizz Beats is one of the orchestrators in hip hop today, crafting some of the hottest beats heard on radio and albums all over, he falls short in terms of the "lyrics department" himself. This is to be expected as he's a producer and most producers in hip hop aren't skilled in both. It's a prime example of why Kanye West is so talented and maybe underrated.

Swizz' "One Man Band Man" proves that point well. Swizz creates some hot beats for his album, but then doesn't flip words on them like many other great rappers do with such skill. This leads one to believe that maybe Swizz should employ a more Dr. Dre/Pete Rock/Diddy approach. That would be to create a solo album, but have plenty of guest stars along for the ride. The standout hits are "It's Me B-tches" and "Top Down" both of which have catchy anthems and hot beats but again prove as examples of how you don't notice the lyrics so much as the chorus and beat.

There's definitely some tracks that seem out of place on the album, including what's become typical in rap lately, the Chris Martin of Coldplay track. Swizz is the second rapper since Jay-Z to collab with Martin and Kanye West will become the third. The track is interesting and sounds like it could be used in some sort of Schoolhouse Rock piece or cartoon-style commercial for life insurance. 2 tracks which come off rather "corny" are "Take a Picture" where Swizz chants "get your cameras out, let me pose so you can picture me doin' my thing" and "The Funeral" where Swizz tries to rap in what he must believe is a clever introspective role about death. The track just comes off as odd and strange when Swizz discusses how he raped an ex-priest's niece amongst other analogies he tries to produce. Then there's "Money in the Bank", another one of the original tracks Swizz released with a sped up whiny chorus which may play as entertaining/amusing to some and irritating to others. The "Bust Ya Gunz" track is one of the hotter beats on the album and a track that would drive Bill O'Reilly wild.

The main downside to this album is the overall level of rapping, lack of guest verses and the themes of some tracks may come off as corny to most. On a side note to that, the remix of "It's Me B-tches" could have been left off the tracklist, as it features Lil Wayne rapping in a french accent and R Kelly in a sing songy rap style. It seems uninspired and unnecessary as far as remixes go, but might grow on some listeners. While he provides more hot beats here, Swizz can stick to handling the controls and bringing us hot tracks by artists like Eve, DMX and Jay-Z. Otherwise, if he plans to release solos, he'll need to enlist those same rappers and then some for the tracks on his tracklist.

Cop it for the beats, but don't expect much lyrically. One Man Band is currently for sale at Amazon. com and drops August 21st.

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