Before Loso, we had Ghetto Fabolous
Updated: Jul 26
On June 30th, Fabolous did a friendly music catalog against Jadakiss on an IG live on the channel @verzuztv. On my own personal Instagram story, I asked my followers which one of the rappers do they prefer, and the winner was Fabolous which I promise to a random album review of one of the winners. I chose to review Fabolous' debut album Ghetto Fabolous. It was released on September 11th, 2001 and with the promotional help of the world-famous DJ Clue, the album features Ja Rule, Jagged Edge, Lil' Mo, and Nate Dogg. Why of all Fabolous albums, I choose his first one, well I personally already own his 3rd album Real Talk and I've already been exposed to his 5th album, Loso's Way. We already know that Fab has a good catalog and a good hip-hop career, but let's take a trip back memory lane to his debut in 2001.
The album starts with a bouncy track called "Click & Spark" followed by the song "Keepin' It Gangsta" which is one of Fabolous most known songs. On this song, Fab raps about how he keeps it gangsta in everything he does on this cool instrumental with an electric guitar riff in the background and does anybody else than me who have some nostalgia about playing Midnight Club 3 Dub Edition because of this song. Then we have the song "Young'n" which is produced by The Neptunes and you can notice it with their signature sound and the hollering of Pharrell in the hook throughout the whole song. This is the song that introduced me to Fabolous back in 2001 when I was in my last year of elementary school, and listening to the song again now, Fabolous sounds like a young Ma$e. Then we have the following songs "Get Right" and "Ride to This" featuring Ja Rule which are mostly catchy beats with rhyming lyrics and wordplays for fun. "One Day" is where Fabolous gets personal about growing up and he also raps about the advice that his mother gave him as a young man. On his first album, it's nice to see Fabolous getting personal earlier in his career. Then we have one of Fabolous most famous songs "Trade It All" featuring Jagged Edge but not the remix that is more known with P. Diddy which is in Fabolous second album Street Dreams. But the original one. "Trade It All" (original or remix) is a very nice rap and r&b song mix together as with the help of Jagged Edge on the hook, Fabolous raps about finding the right woman for him and he will trade anything he has just to keep her because she's special to him. Even though it's just a song and not reality, these are nice words on a mellow song. Then we have a bouncy summer track produced by Timbaland titled "Right Now & Later On".
Halfway through the album, we have the songs "Take You Home" featuring Lil' Mo and "Get Smart" which are your typical catchy but well-produced tracks with some average metaphors and lyrics. "Can't Deny It" featuring Nate Dogg is my favorite track from the album with Fabolous mellow flow, the bumping track produced by Rick Rock, and the King of hooks himself the late Nate Dogg who interpolates 2Pac's "Ambition Az a Ridah" in his own words. This is song is also Nate Dogg's first-ever guest appearance on a non-Westcoast artist followed by "Area Codes" by Ludacris. Then we have "Ma' Be Easy" produced by Just Blaze followed by "We Don't Give A" where Fabolous shows his non-playable side when he's in the streets. Fabolous keeps on rapping of his street side and lifestyle on the songs "The Bad Guy" and "Gotta Be Thug". Compared to most of the songs in the album, he raps less about jewelry, flashy clothes, and women, but more about how he deals with his issues in the streets. The album finishes with the song "If They Want" and of all the songs from Ghetto Fabolous, Fab sounds so much like Ma$e.
As his first album, I'm sure Fabolous did a good introduction back in 2001 with the catchy beats and the promotion help of DJ Clue. For the songs, mixtapes, and album later in his career, in 2020 Ghetto Fabolous is more of an album just to listen to. Fab has some good lyrics and metaphors that make the album enjoyable but his way of rapping on this album makes me want to call him the skinny Ma$e but nobody knew how to spell his name in his rap songs as well as Fabolous which made him unique. Still, Fabolous did improve his rapping skills a lot throughout his career especially since he started to call himself Loso, and songs like "Keepin' It Gangsta", "Trade It All" and "Can't Deny It" sure made the fans curious to know more about Fabolous, and he does know how to rap to the ladies.
Beat Instrumental: 3/5
Album Production: 3/5