Fabby Davis Jr. is one of the few Bay Area artists that was heavily affiliated with the Hyphy movement, who has not only survived that debacle, but expanded his reach far beyond Northern California. And although it has yet to be shown undeniably on any given project, this popularity is largely due to his ability to be a jack of all trades, and create buzz in practically every corner of the hip-hop world. For those looking for an MC’s MC, the man has an incredible ability to freestyle, for real, and to battle, as was shown when he destroyed Royce Da 5’9” in 07’ during his disgusting 10 minute a cappella freestyle for Stash Magazine, for those looking for trunk muzik listen to “Peanut Butta” or “The Sideshow” with Traxamillion and Too $hort, if you want club music, how about “Spill It”, conscious rap? check his tribute to Oscar Grant, and don’t even get started with the viral shit, cuz “Ghost Ride It” has 2 million views, and if you combine the views for the different postings, “Hit Me On Twitter” has around a mill as well.
Yet if he can make all these different fans from polar opposites of the spectrum happy, than why doesn’t he have more respect? The problem is, he’s inconsistent in two ways. First of all, when he does a “Hit Me On Twitter” every one who became a fan due to his freestyles, battles, and lyrics begin to vomit a little bit in their mouths, when he raps about getting super duper stupid doo doo dumb, everyone outside of the bay thinks he’s retarded, and not cool retarded, but anvil dropped on your head as a baby retarded, and when he spits something with a lot of intelligent thought put into it, teens, dancers, and thugs ain’t trying to hear that rubix cube, square ass bullshit. So while his ability to do every type of rap song allows him to have fans of all types from all over the world, they are really only fans of specific tracks and not fans of him as a complete rapper. It’s a shame, but that’s the divided world that hip-hop find’s itself in. Secondly, and more importantly for me personally, while on the one hand every project he put’s out has a few undeniable bangers, the majority of the song quality on albums like The Yellow Bus Rider are very ehhh at best. Solid rapping, but generic beats that you have heard hundreds of times, yet didn’t even really grab your attention the first time somebody thought to do em. I don’t know if he just has shitty taste in slaps, or if he is such a nice guy that he can’t refuse to rap over some average shit that an acquaintance of his put together. I mean he talked up a whole album produced by The Alchemist which never happened, and instead we get glove warmers produced by Rob E, and Fabby stills tries to tells us that his beats got more heat than Dwane Wade? I don’t care how loud you yell, you will never convince me that Monique is a dime, or that a piece of beef jerky is a medium rare filet mignon.
Follow Me (Produced by Ill Mind)
Yet despite my rants, it’s time to talk about his most recent project, Prince of The Coast, mixed by Cali Untouchable DJ, September 7th. It’s got 100% original beats, was released last week and it’s free, so I suggest you cop it by clicking on the cover(above). If you wanna support the man financially, than head over to www.rapbay.com where you can buy a hard copy, or who knows, it might be available in stores (but as you all should know by now, if it ain’t priced at $1.95 I ain’t looking).
For both loyal fans and newer listeners, this street album is commendable but disappointing. The intro sets the the tone when Mistah Forever After Bread proclaims his faith to Pac as the indisputable permanent King of The Coast, and Makaveli’s influence is strongly felt in almost all of F.A.B.’s verses. Rather than have a bunch of party tracks, or songs about how nothing is better than life as a drug dealer, F.A.B. strives to give you honest, non-preachy portrayals of the types of things that are really going on in the hood. Yet while 2 Pac told stories that seemed to unfold in front of your eyes like scenes from a documentary film, Mistah F.A.B.’s flow seems to create still images. “Follow Me” paints a bunch of vivid pictures of the underbelly of Oakland, over a certified banger produced by Illmind. “Where I’m At” is another successful version of practically the exact same song, but by the time you’ve made it through “Let Me Be Your Sight”, “Broken Home”, “Be Quiet”, “Better Man, and “Good Child” you feel like practically the whole project is the same song, spit just a lil bit different, over far from outstanding production. On the one hand I gotta give him props because the message of these songs is insightful and positive, yet far from holier than thou. He just tells it as he see’s it, and lyrically it’s repetitive but done well. On the other hand it seems like he sacrifices a lot of the other things that he’s dope at. In my mind, one of F.A.B.’s best traits is his comedy and light heartedness, and while there are periods of his career when he went way the fuck overboard with that shit, this album lacks the slightest sign of humor, and that just doesn’t seem right coming from Fabby Davis Jr. In fact, rather than coming off as some one capable of going all out on whatever sub-genre of rap he chooses, this project makes F.A.B. seem like a one dimensional rapper forced to do a few other types of songs. “By My Side” and “Drinks R On Me” are pretty lame tracks for the ladies, the latter of which is extra depressing due to the fact that Mike Marshall, the singer of one of my favorite hooks of all time, resorts to hitting up Autotune. “Say Somethin’” is one of the most unconvincing “I’ll murder your whole city” raps I’ve heard in while. Then “Bars Up” is supposed to be that one track that proves F.A.B. has bars for days, but unfortunately, it doesn’t really become clear until he comes to the final leg of the third verse. On the other hand “Ungrateful”, which is produced by Don Cannon, and “What They Want”, produced by J. Mac, are tight tracks worthy of multiple listens.
Where I’m At (Prod. By J Mac 4th Quarter)
Know What They Want (Prod. J Mac)
So to sum it all up, Prince Of The Coast is not without it’s high points, which have no problem standing up against a lot of what is getting heavily pushed these days, but repetitiveness and mediocre production really brings the album down. Speaking of production, in this over saturated hip-hop scene where fans download 5 albums a day, it was definitely a bad look to not have a single lively beat until the listener is 6 tracks deep. So for all of you loyal fans of Mistah F.A.B. like myself, I am sorry to say that this is not the project that you can play for your homies, and finally tell em’ “This is why I fucks with F.A.B. bitch”. Instead, if someone asks you about it, you will have to do what you do for practically every album released these days, and just highlight the few tracks that really had you going, while you pretend the rest never existed.