ARTIST: Fabolous

ALBUM: Loso's Way

SOUNDS LIKE: Fab's interpretation of Jay-Z's American Gangster x R&B singers

FUN FACT: The former king of throwbacks keeps his jerseys locked up in the basement.

WHY COMPLEX IS CO-SIGNING IT: Back when Ghetto Fabolous dropped, the Brooklyn MC's catchy singles, punchline-filled freestyles, and dare we say, "swag" made kids from all five boroughs want to be like him. Eight years later, Fabolous has grown from a flashy newcomer with hood-certified mixtapes to a veteran with a gang of hits. By now, both fans and critics have become used to his R&B-assisted lead singles followed by albums that rarely live up to the hype. As if to address past career missteps, Fabolous returns with Loso's Way---a conceptual album loosely based on Brian de Palma's film Carlito's Way...

Lyrically, the album's filled with rewind-worthy punchlines and good-old braggadocio. On "The Way 'Intro,'" Fab comments on how he's often overlooked amongst the industry's greats: "Let's talk about how I kill everything I touches/Or how I walked in this game with no crutches/No Diddy, no Dupri, no Dr. Dre/No Cash Money from Baby, no Rocs from Jay." Keeping up with the movie theme, the rapper flows melodically on "Pachanga," where over a soulful loop and bouncy drums he talks of changed friendships---a reference to the movie character that betrays Carlito for Benny Blanco. He continues his own version of the film's plot on "I Miss My Love"---a near-six-minute tale about a drug dealer going back to his criminal activities.

But like other releases from Fabolous, he relies a little too heavily on a familiar formula---female-oriented singles accompanied by a string of R&B acts that detract from the overall theme of the album. Ne-Yo ("Makin' Love"), Trey Songz ("Last Time"), Ryan Leslie ("The Fabolous Life"), Keri Hilson ("Everything, Everyday, Everywhere"), and the now all-too-familiar "Throw It In The Bag" featuring The-Dream are all enjoyable tracks, but have no real connection to the album's concept. The sole posse cut "There He Go"---featuring Paul Cain, Red Café, and Freck Billionaire---is a little underwhelming, while "Money Goes, Honey Stay (When the Money Goes Remix)" featuring Jay-Z sounds great on paper but loses because of its bland hook. Overall, despite the album's reliance on tried-and-true methods, Loso's Way includes enough solid materials that deserves a listen. Just don't throw it in the bag.

KEY TRACKS (LISTEN):
"The Way 'Intro'"

"Pachanga"

"I Miss My Love"

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