Status 10: Fabolous Does it His Way

By Melva N. Lloyd

In an era where autotune, one-hit wonders, and catchy phrases like “you’re a jerk” reign supreme, it has become more and more difficult for established artists who have stories to tell to remain relevant.  If you have the success of a big name rapper like New York’s own Jay-Z, you can take a ten year hiatus (hypothetically), keep the title of the best rapper alive, and still hold onto the credibility that you gained back in 1996.  But since the Empire State already has one hip hop king, is there room for one more?  Fabolous seems to thinks so; and since he hails from the same Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn as his Def Jam counterpart, he sees that as an opportunity to only further prove that Brooklyn breeds the best of the best.

When Fabolous came onto the scene in 1998, he was merely a mixtape artist. His first single, “If They Want It” was released on the album DJ Clue? The Professional under the name “Fabolous Sport”.  But it would only take three more years for the Brooklyn MC to gain mainstream popularity.  His debut album Ghetto Fabolous entered the Billboard charts at number four stemming hits like “Can’t Deny It” and the Neptunes-produced “Young’n (Holla Back)”.  His latest recording, Loso’s Way has given the artist, born John Jackson, his first ever number one album on the Billboard Top 100.

But what makes Loso hot? What sets him apart from other lyricists with number one albums?  Why is he an artist to look out for?  For one, he is versatile enough to pen street anthems like 2004’s “Breathe” (Real Talk) but there hasn’t been a moment in Fabolous’ decade long career where he has forgotten about his female fan base.  His suave appeal and charm becomes more apparent on songs like “Into You” (feat. Tamia), “Can’t Let You Go” (feat. Lil’ Mo and Mike Shorey), and one of his biggest hits to date, the Ne-Yo featured “Make Me Better”.  Not to mention his track record as a featured artist on songs that were not his own has only made him more radio friendly.  Fab’s recent guest appearances on songs with Jamie Foxx, The-Dream and Ryan Leslie, just to name a few, only heightened the anticipation for his latest release.

Image courtesy of www.hiphoplead.com

Image courtesy of http://www.hiphoplead.com

While Lil’ Wayne was making it a point to remix every song from Beyoncé’s “Upgrade U” to Enrique Iglesias’ “Push”, Fabolous wanted to stamp a verse or two on a handful of tracks as well.  After remixing singles like Red Café’s “Hottest in the Hood”, turning a southern hit like F.L.Y.’s “Swag Surfin’” into a gritty NY club banger, and reminding everyone that it was “Loso in case you ain’t know so”, Fabolous was ready to share his own music with the world again.

Loso’s Way sold nearly 99,000 copies during its first week of sales, and on the album’s intro, “The Way” Fab boasts that he entered into the music game and reached success without the help of others: “…I walked in this game with no crutches/ No Diddy, no Dupri, no Dr. Dre/ No Cash Money from Baby and no Rocs from Jay/ And I’m still here!” Not to mention, Fabolous used his knack for remixing to turn the first single off of Loso’s Way, “Throw It in the Bag” (feat. The-Dream) into an even bigger hit when he added actor-turned-rapper Drake to the mix; the once commercial sounding record now had a smooth rhythm and blues feel to it, and the radio stations ate it up.

Musical talent aside, Fabolous knows how to stay connected with his fans.  He is a self-proclaimed Twitter-addict and one of the most engaging celebrities on the social networking site. (www.twitter.com/myfabolouslife) With over two-hundred thousand followers, he has the uncanny ability to turn a comedic current event into a popular trending topic; all while keeping his fans updated on tour dates, industry parties, album sales and weather in NYC.  He has even inked an endorsement deal with Reebok Classic sneakers and is dabbling with fashion where he is the owner of Yung Rich Clothing Line.

Image courtesy of www.complex.com

Image courtesy of http://www.complex.com

This may be Fab’s fifth studio album but he is making an impression on other seasoned veterans to assure them that he is coming for that number one spot.  With powerful lyrics and the skill to turn street verbage into rhythmic wordplay, this thirty-one year old lyricist is not going anywhere for a very long time.

Loso’s Way Tracks to Check For: “Money Goes, Honey Stay” (feat. Jay-Z), “Everything, Everywhere, Everyday” (feat. Keri Hilson), “My Time” (feat. Jeremih)

Lyrical Content: “…And please don’t even talk about swag/I’m cool and collective/A Fool with perspective/I’m far from being typical my respect is reciprocal/I already came up/You still on the zipper pull…” – “The Way (Intro)”

Lyrics courtesy of www.azlyrics.com

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