Tuesday, May 15, 2007

CD Review: Mistah F.A.B. -- Da Baydestrian

Tue, May 15, 2007 at 5:05 PM

baydestrian2.JPG Released amidst reports of hyphy's demise, Mistah F.A.B.'s third album Da Baydestrian nevertheless stands as a testament to the erstwhile movement's infectious appeal. ... F.A.B. likewise transcends any notion of superficiality or faddishness with the closer, "100 Bars," a lyrical jaw-dropper which proves he's as skilled at MCing as he is at directing traffic. - By Eric K. Arnold Mistah F.A.B. The Baydestrian Faeva Afta/ThizzEnt/SMC Released amidst reports of hyphy's demise, Mistah F.A.B.'s third album Da Baydestrian nevertheless stands as a testament to the erstwhile movement's infectious appeal. The timing is certainly ironic: just as critics are penning eulogies blaming everything from sloppy business to industry apathy, here comes F.A.B. in his airbrushed T-shirts, sporting a scowling thizz-face like a tribal mask, still cooler than a polar bear in stunna shades, his yellow bus leaving skidmarks as he claims his props as Prince of the Bay. Let's be clear about one thing: Even if there was no movement -- which there is, with or without major-label involvement -- F.A.B. would still represent Oakland, and by extension the Bay Area, to the fullest. His Atlantic debut may have been pushed back, but his hustle can't be stopped.

Truthfully, Da Baydestrian is an indie-label album only where semantics are concerned; qualitywise, it holds its own with any recent rap album from any region. A gaggle of producers, including Gennessee, Sean T., Trackademicks, and Traxamillion, offer slaps galore and certified soundtracks for 3 a.m. sideshows (or ghost-riding the Volvo). F.A.B.'s agile vocals twist up phat verses, spit slang like a ghetto thesaurus, and reveal a depth that hyphy's scarcely hinted at before. For all the stupefying sturm-und-drang of "Baydestrian," "Sideshow," and "Dem Cars," the author paints a poignantly emotion-stirring, possibly autobiographical picture of 'hood reality on "Life on Track:" crack houses, black spouses, single mothers, four brothers/ informants, snitches, under covers, no gas, two blankets, no more covers/ mama lost three one morn there's no more brothers/ two sisters, eighteen and a step-dad/ torn-up mattresses, every night I slept bad. F.A.B. likewise transcends any notion of superficiality or faddishness with the closer, "100 Bars," a lyrical jaw-dropper that proves he's as skilled at MCing as he is at directing traffic. - Eric K. Arnold

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