Mixtape Reviews

Fabolous – “Summertime Shootouts 2: The Level Up” (Mixtape Review)

Throughout his career, Fabolous’s has been mostly a hit or miss rapper. Praised as a lethal lyricist early on in his career, Fab suffered from a lack of self-motivation and over confidence which kept his name from being mentioned amongst the elite rappers of New York.  He was known more for hit sing-a-long love songs with Tamia and Lil’ Mo than Ja Rule. Every few albums Fab brought straight fire and last summer he hit the mark with one of the best mixtapes of the year, “Summertime Shootout”. This caught many off guard, not just because it was a banging mixtape, but because he showed the focus we have not seen since, “Loso’s Way”. The anticipation for a follow up was buzzing like a text message from a side piece. Can Fab drop consecutive gems? The answer is within “Summertime Shootout 2”.

The expectations for “Summertime Shootout 2” ranged from enthusiastic to pessimistic as many fans waited to see when the glass slipper would bring Fabolous back to his true form.  He picks things up where he left off with a “Wake Up Call” skit telling him to level up. He proceeds to take it “To The Sky”; a solid opening track with the sound off his last mixtape. From there Loso takes us on a ride that doesn’t hit as hard as “Summertime Shootout” but yet is still mostly enjoyable. For those who feared that Fabolous would revert back to his rap/R&B roots, you were right. He enlists help from Future on the standout, “Check on Me”. Guest spots from Lil’ Uzi Vert (“Goyard Bag”), Wale (“Faith In Me”) and Tory Lanez (“4am Flex”) keeps the vibe on simmer. He flips Rihanna’s “Sex With Me” with Trey Songz and later flexes the gem of the mixtape “I’m Going Down”; a remix of the Mary J./B.I.G. classic.  Lyrically, Fab is still fresh, although his ode to “Ashanti” is a bit obsessive. (Reminds me of when Drake did that song about Aaliyah). “My Shit” is super corny. However, the mixtape closes out strong with “Ah Man” and the Dave East featured standout, “For The Family”.

Summer ’16 is almost over and while “Summertime Shootout 2” is not as good its predecessor, it is a solid mixtape that should put fans at ease for now. Expectations for Fab’s next mixtape should reach Cleveland Cavaliers levels. This could be a gift and a curse for a rapper who is already showing signs of cracking by falling back into old R&B habits. Will Fab extend his re-found street fame or fade away into mediocracy again? If Fab’s history has shown us anything, we know where this tale will lead us, as we wait feverishly to squeeze in two more minutes before Fab’s clock strikes midnight.

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