By Jack Barnes
When rappers, ballplayers and other visiting dignitaries come to the Bay Area, Mistah F.A.B. is the first person they call. Ten years after his breakthrough original Son of a Pimp album, the Oakland rapper returns to the national forefront with the release of Son of a Pimp 2 (via Faeva Afta Music/EMPIRE), his latest studio album and his first since 2007’s Da Baydestrian, which attracted major label attention. Enjoy this audio stream below after the jump.
As the Bay Area’s Ambassador, Mistah F.A.B. has friendships with dozens of rappers in every region and scene in hip-hop, reflected in the album’s absurdly strong cast of all-star guests including Kendrick Lamar, Boosie Badazz, IAMSU, E-40, G-Eazy, Too $hort, Snoop Dogg, 2 Chainz, Jadakiss, Raekwon, Schoolboy Q, Keak Da Sneak, Bun B, Slim Thug, Z-Ro, Paul Wall, Lupe Fiasco, Tech N9ne, B.o.B, Keyshia Cole, Curren$y, Devin the Dude, and a posthumous appearance from Bay Area legend and good friend The Jacka. The album features production from some of the best in the game, such as Pete Rock, IAMSU, P-Lo, Jake One, The Mekanix, Tha Bizness, and Erk Tha Jerk. As impressive as the guestlist is, Mistah F.A.B. did not make the album stunt his massive Rolodex. Keeping true to his legacy as a sociopolitical griot, F.A.B.’s album documents social justice issues such as mass incarceration, intersections of race and class, local activism, and more. As a noted storyteller, F.A.B. also included vivid songs about love, loss, and survival. Son of a Pimp 2 is an inspirational reflection on how the rapper overcame a tumultuous upbringing to become an upstanding citizen in his community.
Mistah F.A.B.’s deep connections with his community and relationships with rappers from all regions and subgenres resulted in the versatile Son of a Pimp 2–influenced by the world, but rooted in his home. Among the highlights from Son of a Pimp 2 is the Rolling Stone-premiered “Survive,” featuring Kendrick Lamar, Crooked I and Kobe Honeycutt and poignant, guitar-led production from Tha Bizness. “Survive” boasts impressive lyricism by the three emcees, who convey strife against everyday struggles in poesy eloquence on the track. Last month, Billboard premiered “What Yo Hood Like,” a true East-meets-West collab, featuring an appearance from Jadakiss with Pete Rock behind the boards. “What Yo Hood Like” is a horn-driven boom-bap track, with F.A.B. rhyming about overcoming his upbringing and representing his neighborhood: “Oakland be the city where I’m livin’ at/where killers goin’ tit-for-tat/they get you and you get them back.” More recently, F.A.B. released “All Around the World,” featuring a verse from Silk-E and a gorgeous chorus from Keyshia Cole, F.A.B. laments the state of global affairs over shimmering production from Bay Area sound architects, The Mekanix, touching on police brutality, terrorism, warfare and mass incarceration. Other highlights include the hyphy-as-fuck Mac Dre tribute “Still Feelin’ It,” stoner’s anthem “The Chill,” featuring Curren$y and Schoolboy Q, and the gorgeous “Black Hollywood,” with a chorus from Bobby V and verses from Too $hort and Snoop Dogg in full loverman mode.
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