Def Jam was definitely in the building on Tuesday night as Fabolous presented his upcoming album, From Nothin’ to Somethin’, which is due out June 12th, to New York press. Cups were full and the beats dropped hard as execs spilled through the door of the Sony building, and L.A. Reid and Jay-Z rolled through to show their support. As the DJ went track by track, Fab himself introduced each one. Here’s a taste of what to expect when the album drops next month.
1. “From Nothin’ to Somethin’”Â (Intro)
Produced by Reefa
The intro to this album is what you’d expect from Fab and his all-star producing crew. Complete with heavy beats, it’s a champion entering the ring for another round type of mood setter. “I’m not a kid at all, before I leave I’mma try to get it all,”Â he spits. Overall, an ambitious set-up.
2. “Yep, I’m Back”Â
Produced by FreeBass
This is kind of like another intro, but the organs give it a more laid-back vibe. He’s got the classic “get ya hands up”Â flow going, trying to motivate while reminding you of his current rep as one of the more decent lyricists out there.
3. “Change Up”Â featuring Akon
Produced by Akon
This one starts out with Akon’s signature Konvict Music intro, which always promises a sick beat, if nothing else. There’s a message to this song about keepin’ your mind right even after getting hit with money and fame. Fab and Akon remind us how valuable a street mentality is, no matter how far they go in life. Fab claims he would never “get money, disappear—pull a Chappelle.”Â
4. “Make Me Better”Â featuring Ne-Yo
Produced by Timbaland
We’ve already caught ourselves humming the hook to this one because anything Timb puts out seems to strike gold these days. This is just the first of Fab’s many lady-projected joints on this album, but it’s definitely one of the more solid ones. The thug romance appeal can’t be denied and Ne-Yo’s sweet talking doesn’t hurt either (“If I’m a star then she’s the sky,”Â he sings).
5. “Baby Don’t Go”Â featuring T-Pain
Produced by Jermaine Dupri
T-Pain is another one that you can’t ignore on the radio—he’s everywhere. JD’s Southern fused beats don’t touch snap this time, which is refreshing. T-Pain’s distinct mechanized vocals light up this track, making it a potential club banger. It’s one of those “forgive me, I acted stupid”Â type of songs that’s just Bonnie and Clyde enough to be endearing without being sappy.
6. “Return of the Hustle”Â featuring Swizz Beatz
Produced by Just Blaze
A lot of us have heard this one and the video is out too. It starts out with Swizz’s blaring intro and loops his “C.R.E.A.M.”Â motto throughout the track. It retains the classic money over bitches theme, a lot of smack talking that would compel a higher male interest. It’s upbeat, something to get you hyped before hitting the club.
7. “Gangsta Don’t Play”Â featuring Junior Reid
Produced by Reefa
The quality of this one stands out because Fab left his comfort zone on it. Junior Reid’s (also from The Game’s “It’s Okay (One Blood”Â) signature wail sets this one off, creating a more solemn “rude boy”Â appeal. It’s a street warning type of song with Fabolous spitting easy over Reid’s powerful vocals and a high-inducing riddim.
8. “Real Playa Like”Â featuring Lloyd
Produced by Polow Da Don
Fab had to get Polow on at least one track on this album, and it worked out just right. Lloyd’s vocals were overwhelmed by the beat on this one though. It’s very reminiscent of Ludacris’ “Pimpin’ All Over the World.”Â Fab spits his immaculate reputation when it comes to wining and dining a lady in different cities.
9. “Diamonds”Â featuring Young Jeezy
Produced by Steve Morales
This one is saturating the radio waves right now and boring a lot of fans. When are rappers going to stop using the same “chain reaction”Â line? The beat is predictable but it’s catchy in the clubs.
10. “I’m the Man”Â featuring Red Café
Produced by Reefa
Fab puts on his cocky hat in this one, claiming that he embodies the spirit of every man (dope man, boss man, ice man). It’s one of his weaker tracks because he ignores his natural knack for comical punch lines and goes hard on the generic “I’m that dude”Â rhymes.
11. “Jokes On You”Â featuring Pusha T of the Clipse
Produced by Cannon
This one is basically a battling jab at Fab’s competitors. It’s a business oriented track on which he challenges, “You on BET only if it’s ‘Comic View.'” Fab reverts back to his strength of tough one-liners on this one, which makes it worth hearing.
12. “What Should I Do”Â featuring Lil’ Mo
Produced by Amadeus
His passed collabos with Lil’ Mo have been nothing less than concrete hits because they went pop, but this one has a different tone to it. It’s more reflective instead of the usual relationship banter. It’s still contemplative though lacking a memorable hook. Fab gets serious at the end, channeling his spiritual side.
13. “Foggin’ Up the Windows”Â
Produced by The Runners
This track is very high school; Fab spits about having sex in the back of his car. The beat is old school reminiscent, but it’s nothing outstanding. There’s no real substance to this one, and though we know that a radio hit doesn’t always need substance, it lacks a fresh ideal on the topic. Note: The version we heard did not feature anyone, but MTV reports that the song will feature R. Kelly.
14. “First Time”Â featuring Rihanna
Produced by Big Tank
This is tender sentiment on a hard beat, which makes for a solid potential single. It’s very bump and grind, while still retaining Fab’s clever game lines. The song describes the first butterflies-type interactions between a couple. Despite the sexual tones, Rihanna stays innocent on this one and it plays out as a great contradiction in style.
Reported by Rajul Punjabi in New York