Label: Maybe Music Group, Def Jam Recordings
Producers: Schife, OhZee, Phil 4 Real, Don Logan, Drumma Boy, The Olympicks, B-Rock Agee, Rick Rock, The Dream Team, The Tranzformerz, Cool & Dre
Features: Bun B, Birdman, Schife, Gucci Mane, Drumma Boy, Young Jeezy, J.W., Game, B-Rock Agee, Masspike Miles, Mack 10, Warren G, Suede Royale, Yo Gotti
The Carol City Cartel's debut Custom Cars and Cycles was at once underrated and a disappointment; underrated in that it deserved to do better than 4,000 in first-week sales, and surely someone should have noticed that Gunplay had star potential early on. It was a disappointment, in that the record largely stays in one mode from front to back. The album is a little like going on a long road trip with all of your friends: packed with ignorant fun, but at a certain point, you'll know exactly how long is too long to be stuck in the car together.
In this case, songs like Gucci feature "Trick'n Off," Jeezy's spot on "Erryday," and Birdman feature "Go"—which includes scene-stealing bars from Gunplay—are standouts, in part because the guest stars add a dynamic contrast to Torch and Young Breed's more workmanlike bars. On the other hand, it also points to the album's primary flaw: it is perhaps the least impactful album ever released. Songs crest five minutes and occasionally stretch to seven. Great beats and song concepts wear you down with verse after verse. Ross is a little too generous to his crew here. Burying a great Gunplay spot at minute 4:30 in "Trick'n Off" feels like a waste of talent. Although it can feel like a slog, the grooves are strong, the tone is upbeat, and the energy ideal for drinking. —David Drake