Double albums are a funny thing. I’ve always wondered why artists choose to do them. It sounds selfish but, wouldn’t it be more frugal to just release one side as an album and have a lot left over to put out another? I mean, I can understand an artist wanting to put out all the music that he’s put effort into within the past year, as that is their mind-state for that period of time. I can also understand the need for a double-disc when it is a concept album, and all the tracks are necessary to keep the overall theme of the album construed. However, when you are Lil’ Flip and you decide to put out a double-album after a three year hiatus, it is puzzling when you think that 37 tracks of the same thing will be a decent idea for a comeback.
I Need Mine is Flip’s attempt at a triumphant return to keep his mark in the game, after a break that has been detrimental to his rep. While his last outing U Gotta Feel Me was a major commercial success, “Da Freestyle King” was under major heat as a feud with fellow southern artist T.I. erupted. As T.I.’s popularity has grown, Flip seemed to be the unanimous loser in the fight. After a 3 year break, Flip comes with his second consecutive double album, and what he promises as his best effort yet.
As anyone knows, listening to a album that is twice the normal length is a daunting task. But when you have every song being a near-carbon copy of the previous, it is pure torture. As you pop in the CD, “I Get Money” sounds… exactly what you would expect from Flipper. There is virtually no growth after these 3 years. The beat sounds like a Lil Jon throw-away and the lyrics are so ridiculously cardboard. Just like with every song on here, it is the hook that seems to be the only part that is worth listening to.
The sample from “Top Billin” is a nice little addition, and almost makes your head bob as you listen, but the rapping is putrid. Rick Ross is on here and unsurprisingly stinks, although he…*gulp*…actually has a better verse than Flip. “Fly Boy” is practically the same song as “I Get Money”, so excuse me while I skip over the songs that are generically similar to the others (which will be the staggering majority of this album).
I haven’t listened to a mainstream Hip Hop album from the south for a while, nor listened to the radio, so hearing the typical and basic Dirty South production here gave me the feeling that you get when you are eager to eat your cereal but then you smell the disgusting odor coming from the carton of sour milk. Songs like “Bustaclip”, “Starched and Cleaned”, and “White Cup” are so ridiculously uninspired (in lyrics and production) that you just can’t possibly bother listening to more than 20 seconds of either.
I must give Flip credit for the lead single “Ghetto Mindstate,” as it is a pleasant surprise, to say the least, in comparison to the other tracks. While the title makes you think it will be another boring record of the same stuff we’ve heard over and over, the introspectiveness and overall mood is quite touching. The production, with its piano keys and riffs, has a peaceful aura which still retains the mainstream sound intact. Flip changes up the subject matter to a more retrospective view of the surroundings that he came up in. While the lyricism isn’t spectacular, the imagery makes up for it as he leaves few details out.
The guilty pleasure of this album for me is “Playa 4 Life” because of Chamillionaire’s undoubtedly catchy hook. The beat and the lyrics are vomit-inducing, but the chorus is just so fun and banging that I would say it makes up for it. The sung-hook is a nice break from the annoying single-line samples that are scratched (in Chopped and Screwed fashion).
One thing immediately noticeable is the chip on Flip’s shoulder for most of the LP. “Say It To My Face” is a big F-U to his adversaries, most likely T.I. after the now-infamous beef. Most of the other songs also see Flip as an angry and re-vamped in his tone. However, he unfortunately was unable to use this anger to step his song quality up. “Mary Jane” is the worst ode to weed that I’ve ever heard. Bar none. I won’t touch upon it but just know that it is horrid.
It hurts me because he wastes his time with songs like these when he should be making tracks like “Find My Way.” Now THIS is more like it. In the vein of “Ghetto Mindstate,” Flip takes us back and reminisces. The production is a very deep and cool strummed guitar that is a perfect backdrop. Robin Andre delivers the best performance on the entire album, as his chorus is simply marvelous. Lil Flip’s lyrics are simplistic once again, but he’s got some substance within these lines at least. Easily the best song on the album. It is introspective moments like that and “Single Mother” that show where Flip can do something right.
The 1st disc is undeniably superior to the 2nd, as the latter is composed entirely of commercial trash. Practically every song on the 2nd disc is the trash that I skipped from the 1st. Just take a look at how generic the names of the songs are: "Hustle," "Get it Crunk," "Stay Ballin’," "What it Do. Hmm" … gee, I wonder what these songs have to offer. The best part is that in the middle of all this, there is a song called “Real Hip Hop.” Flip does a respectful nod to all the rappers that he would look up to as he grew up, over one of the best beats on the album. It’s nice to see homage being paid to the old school, but I wish he was a bit more creative with it, as there still seems to be something missing.
But while that song seems to be missing a bit, the entire album is missing a lot. Lil Flip’s comeback may not only be a critical flop, but I’m predicting it won’t do much for sales either. With Rap sales plummeting, and most of the dirty south sound already becoming played-out, I Need Mine will fail to catch the attention of the sheep-like mainstream fans. With every double album ever made, a solution would have been to take the best of both discs and just make a regular single LP. That would have especially helped this album as most of the songs here are filler in the worst way possible, and should have been eliminated.
The several deep moments on here would have been a nice balance to the typical southern sound, but they are instead diluted and lost in the sea of mediocrity in this extremely long album. I would not recommend this album to anyone aside from hardcore fans of the rough Dirty South rap. Even to mainstream fans this will sound horribly redundant, and difficult to listen to because of the length.Powered by Sidelines