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Fabolous: From Nothin' To Somethin'

C+

Fabolous

Album: From Nothin' To Somethin'
Label: Def Jam

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Before Jay-Z signed Fabolous to Def Jam, the cocky but underperforming punchline king was seemingly just a flop or two away from joining the ever-expanding roster of has-beens and wannabes over at Koch. So while Fabolous still sounds like he just woke up from a stoned nap, there's a certain urgency to his latest, which doubles as his Def Jam debut and a commercial last chance. From Nothin' To Somethin' consequently sounds big, expensive, and irrevocably rooted in the sounds and stars of today in a way that'll probably sound terribly dated in just a year or two, from the dramatic Just Blaze-style production to the R&B hooks of Ne-Yo, T-Pain, Akon, and Lloyd. Somethin' is equally star-studded on the guest-rapper side. Jay-Z lends a verse and his seal of approval to the monster anthem "Brooklyn," while Young Jeezy and Fab must have flipped a coin to decide whether to rap about selling coke or jewelry on the boorishly infectious single "Diamonds." (Just guess which they chose.) The result is a solid but safe album that sounds disconcertingly like half the major-label rap releases of the past few years. By debuting at number one, Somethin' may have resurrected Fabolous' career, but his reputation as a glibly talented rapper who's never lived up to his potential remains intact.