The Death of Me
You can't help but mention the name "Ahmad" without mentioning the song "Back In The Day" that has become THE anthem of Hip-Hip culture circa 1990. If y'all haven't been checking for Ahmad since those days, the first thing you'll probably notice is that his entire style has changed somewhat. If you really think about it, his earlier delivery was based on more of a sing-along type flow rather than (say) a battle rapper's flow.
If you want to call the sound "evolution" that might fit. Ahmad's flow is most definitely more of a sort of nearly out-of-breath singing flow. Naturally, the man was only 18 when he had a very famous hit song, so obviously things have changed. On his latest solo record, he offers some very poignant lyrics delivered over some inconsistent beats. If anything hampers the record it's the quality of the beats on some songs coupled with some lyrics made unintelligible due to the delivery of the lyrics...sometimes it's like Ahmad is almost out of breath but since he is really singing the last part of what he is saying can be difficult to hear. Still, there's enough here to recommend. The album could benefit from a higher quality of production - both in terms of the beat making and in terms of just the audio-recording. It's not enough to drop an ill line if I have to keep going back to make sure I heard it right.
So the songs here that seem more like R&B songs? Yeah, those don't work for me. I'm talking about songs like "Like Hip-Hop", "I'ma Emcee", and "Dang" (where - I can barely understand the lyrics). Other negatives for me on the album fail due to production that I think could have been more interesting. Songs like "Writtens" and "UPS" (which by the way, has a great concept in the quest for love in a world blinded by crass materialism - "I'm not dating you because you work for UPS) exemplify this.
However, the more overtly Hip-Hop-centric tracks are great. "Get Some Money & Go 2 Jail (feat. Crooked I)" features laugh out loud lyrics that you shouldn't really be laughing out. Specifically, the song talks about how the media loves a good prominent African American gets in trouble story - a story all too common as far as the 6 o'clock news is concerned. Name checks on this one include OJ, Mike Tyson, Michael Vick, and Plaxico Burress (twice).
Or how about "Don't Run...Trinity"? You can't go wrong taking an interpolation from a classic Mary J. Blige song ("Happy"). This is a good case - in spite of being an incredible song - of how the sing-song delivery of Ahmad can make the lyrics hard to hear. He sounds like he's about to run out of breath. I don't know if this is just a stylistic thing or if there is some physical limitation causing it. Suffice it to say that the issue is prominent enough to make you wonder.
"Nig Can't Tell Me Nunt" has a beat that is like an interesting interlude off of a beloved instrumental hip-hop record. I'm digging the vibe, digging the lyrics, digging everything that's here. The song is made even better due to the fact that here you can really understand what the man is saying. And he's got a lot to say: It's amazing how at 17 they label me a one-hit-wonder/what were you doing at 17?
Ahmad is not as good of a Hip-Hop singer as - say - Cee-Lo. And for the most part that is OK. At times his delivery can be distracting and there are moments when he could have used a bit more budget to bring out some better beats. Yet, he is a very capable lyricist that deserves more attention that those would label him as a flash in the pan would give.
3.818 out of 5
|1. Run Up On Me Tho (03:55)||4|
|2. Writtens Feat. Jurny Big (03:28)||3|
|3. Get Some Money & Go 2 Jail Feat. Crooked I (03:22)||5|
|4. Don't Run, Trinity Feat. Gabrielle Galindo (04:05)||5|
|5. Nig Can't Tell Me Nunt (04:11)||5|
|6. I'ma Emcee (03:56)||3|
|7. U P S (03:27)||3|
|8. We Doin' It Feat. Mesh, Eligh & Luckyiam (03:51)||3|
|9. Like Hip-Hop (04:03)||3|
|10. T K (00:04)|
|11. Dang (03:11)||4|
|12. Don't Run, Again Feat. Nene White (03:47)||4|