“Regardless of what you think of him, Fabolous has released one of the best mixtapes of the year with The Soul Tape 2; a heavy sampled, soul-driven and honest tape worthy of its title.”
No rapper can divide hip-hop heads quite like Brooklyn rapper Fabolous. Mention his name and you are equally as likely to get “irrelevant” as you are “slept on” as a reply. It’s not enough that he’s able to cause such diametrically opposed opinions, his career itself has been a dichotomy of amazing smash hits yet disappointing album sales. He goes so hard on his many various mixtapes yet falls short on his too-few mainstream albums. Regardless of what you think of him, Fabolous has released one of the best mixtapes of the year with The Soul Tape 2; a heavy sampled, soul-driven and honest tape worthy of its title.
The mixtape starts off strong with a track called “Transformation” where Fabo drops candid evocative bars over Jay Electronica’s “Exhibit A: Transformations” beat about his old life and his old self and how he wants to transform to someone better. With lines like “I wanna be somebody, somebody that’s never been/ No squares in my circle, best shape I ever been/ I’m growing up, my daddy planted a seed/ my mama watered me with a plan to succeed” he may be known as a ‘punchline rapper’, but there is no doubt that his lines are wittier and more clever than other rappers that share the same title. Take for instance the third track off the tape called “B.I.T.E”, a corny yet clever acronym for ‘B*tch I’m Tryna Eat’ considering the song’s message of always staying on your grind and always hustling so you can ‘stay eatin’. Add that to producer Teddy Da Don’s beautiful sampling of Phil Collins “Easy Lover” thundering drumline and spacey keyboard chords and a Notorious B.I.G clip on “Eatin” as an intro, Fabolous proves he is not just your typical one dimensional punchline rapper. “Guess who’s Bizzack” is a remake of the classic Scarface track “Guess Who’s Back featuring Jay-Z and Beanie Siegel and also uses the Original’s “Sunrise” with an added autotune feature by Broadway who drops a very disappointing verse. Where Fabolous drops insightful lines on failed friendships and relationships Broadway could have tried a little harder but Fab has always had a penchant for putting on weak rappers.
The second half of the 12 track tape has all of the features with the first being “Louis Vuitton” featuring J.Cole where Cole drops an emotive verse with his signature profound narrative flow about a church girl who has a secret lust for older men and designer wear. Fabolous was outdone in this track but held his own on “Life is So Exciting” featuring Pusha T. This track could have been better considering the calibre of both Pusha and Fab. They could have killed this track but you can only go so far when you rapping about cash, cars and clothes. “Diced Pineapples” has Cassie surprisingly singing really well on the hook instead of Drake and Trey Songz rapping a sickeningly sweet verse. “Beauty” features your go-to rapper when you want to make a song for the ladies, Wale, and has both Fabolous and Wale gushing about their definition of beauty. It’s one of those “dedication to my girl” kinda songs. “Want You Back” features Mr. Tell-it-all Joe Budden who if you follow his music you’ll know he’s talking about his ex Tahiry although I don’t think his current Kaylin would like that very much. Fabolous on the other hand doesn’t let us know who he’s talking about though he is unusually revealing in his feelings for her.
There are one or two skippable songs on this tape like “Diamonds” and “Only Life I Know” but the production and sampling is on point. “We Get High” is a perfect example of this which has a smooth and soulful sample of Michael Frank’s “St Elmo’s Fire”.
Overall The Soul Tape 2 is a mixtape that showcases Fabolous’ lyrical ability and has him baring his soul which is something you don’t expect from him. The features were picked well and the production is superb with samples that will literally move your soul. There’s no doubt that Fabolous has given us a free album with this one. NICE!
Written By: Nomusa Mthethwa (@NomusaMT)