A year and a half after releasing Volume One, Rapper Big Pooh gets busy on his wonderfully prodigious follow-up entitled, Fat Boy Fresh, Vol. Two: Est. 1980. It’s apparent Big Pooh’s lyricism has grown since his debut on Little Brother‘s The Listening, but he really steps it up a notch on the second volume of his Fat Boy Fresh series. Ever since Sleepers dropped, Big Pooh has been on his A-game throughout his solo career and that doesn’t change on this phenomenal album.
There’s a nice mix of features on this album; Californian emcee Fashawn makes an appearance, as well as Chaundon, Joe Scudda and even our man Lute (props!). The wonderful vocal talents of Blackksoul are featured on two tracks, “Preface” and “Epilogue/Whattup” in which he provides some catchy and melodic singing alongside the hard stylings of Rapper Big Pooh.
What’s most amazing about this album to me is the production. Usually, Big Pooh favors a more soulful and bright style when choosing instrumentals, but on Fat Boy Fresh, Vol. Two, Big Pooh took a more rich and colorful production style, with notable hints of jazz. This is somewhat new territory for Big Pooh, but he journeys into the darkness at the ready and shines bright enough for all to see.
The sparkling notes on “Preface (feat. Blakksoul)” radiate as Big Pooh raps in an angry tone about working hard to get where is; a noble track for a man who’s definitely deserved his fame. Then, the harsh vocals continue on “Hgh” as Big Pooh goes ballistic and cuts deep by laying down relentless bars and a nice entendre here and there. The shock-factor is present in both Big Pooh’s delivery, as well as the rhymes themselves, and that helps put Big Pooh on another level from enough emcees today.
Amongst the brash words Big Pooh spits on varied tracks off of Fat Boy Fresh, Vol. Two, he tends to always bring it back down a bit on songs like “Friends,” “Like Me” and “Shine (feat. Lute).” Also, on the aforementioned tracks, there’s a notable difference in the production, too, especially on “Shine (feat. Lute).” An elegance swallows the music and encompasses the aura of the tracks through an array of horns, crisp production and a unique set of samples.
The direction Rapper Big Pooh took on this project is one that I would love for him to continue to follow. He does great over bumping soul beats like the ones 9th Wonder provides sometimes, but he arguably does better over this new style of production he’s starting working with. He “shine[s] when the moon[‘s] out” and re-solidifies himself as an underground legend in the game through heated bars over a set of multifarious instrumentals. A fresh sound for an always-relevant rhyme artist, Big Pooh does a stand-up job on his new album and can easily acquire a captive audience from any one who hears this. So, my rating…
I recommend this album to any fan of Little Brother, 9th Wonder or anyone who shares that kind of sound.
1) Est. 1980
2) Preface (feat. Blakksoul)
6) Cognac (feat. Chaundon)
7) Frienemy (feat. Scolla, Big Sand & Joe Scudda)
8) They Aye Aye (feat. Jozeemo & Fashawn)
9) Lilke Me
10) The Grown Many Theory [Alright] (feat. Joe Scudda & Thurz)
11) Shine (feat. Lute)
12) Exercise in Futility
13) Epilogue/Whattup (feat. Blakksoul & King Mez)
14) Where I am (Bonus Track)
15) Phone Bone (Bonus Track)
16) Go Girl (Bonus Song) [feat. Maniz]
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