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The Darkside isn’t cool without Vader

Let me start this out by saying I don’t like Fat Joe. He’s a boring rapper to me, but he has fallen off the grid recently, so it was news to me when I found out his tenth album was dropping on Tuesday. I imagine it’s probably news to you as well so I thought I would review it. Fat Joe recently signed with E1 Music to release The Darkside Vol. 1 and in my opinion, he shouldn’t have.

As with most of his tracks, his lyrical abilities are very basic and strained by his continuous desire to be a legend (which he’s claimed he is in multiple interviews). His first album Represent is the only album of his I’ve ever owned and that was only for the sake of having it. This record is not good. I was semi-hopeful when I heard the legit beat in the second track “Valley of Death” that his skill may have matured in my listening absence, but I was disappointed when I heard is boring flow, lackluster rhymes and unimaginative themes. His collaborations are what you would expect from any relatively well known artist nowadays : Wayne, Jeezy, R.Kelly, Cam’ron, Trey Songz, and Clipse (Why Clipse, why?) and all fall short, except Clipse (but that may be my bias towards liking Clipse). This was supposedly going to be Joe’s return to his hardcore rap roots and reinforcing his claim as a hip-hop mogul, but is just a rehashed album with no new concepts. When I think of hardcore, I think of Jedi Mind Tricks, Immortal Technique, Ill Bill and the other rappers who can make you cringe with their brutal lyrics, not make you stare blankly at your iTunes window as track after track passes by without reaction. “Rappers are in Danger” is, I would imagine, supposed to be a violent sounding hardcore track, but is particularly bad song with it’s poorly scratched chorus (“rappers are in danger”, how original…) and Joe’s tame lyrics. I almost imagined the first single off of the album “(Ha Ha) Slow Down” was good because of its nice bassline and interesting sample, but the rapping on the track is weak and Joe’s hook is annoying.

Tip for you Joe: if you want to sound hardcore stop using such laid back beats and samples and create a grungy, dirty sound. Oh, and learn to rap about some new stuff.

This relatively unknown album should stay just that, unknown. Unless you are a die hard Fat Joe enthusiast (something I have yet to ever encounter) you probably will be bored by this completely unoriginal album. I listened to this wildly mediocre album so that you don’t have to, heed my advice. I promise you a good review soon. I promise.

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