Originality is an important component in the Hip Hop world. Great emcees, from Andre 3000 [click to read] to Rakim [click to read], have gotten their respect by shining in spite of what everyone else was doing at the time. True originality can catapult artists from mediocre levels of obscurity to recognition and/or respect. The lack of originality can just as well restrain an artist's rise to the top.
Ace Hood's anticipated Gutta reads like an unimpressive list of rap clichés. The R&B tracks for the ladies equipped with token "heartthrob" singer on the hook? Check. "Ride" features Trey Songz crooning about a ride or die chick (yet another overused topic) and the Yung Berg carbomn-copy "Call Me" features Lloyd. But serenading said ride or die chicks is not the only overused tactic here either.
The album also feeds off of famous guest spots including the often used T-Pain [click to read], Rick Ross [click to read] and Akon [click to read]. Aside from them, Juelz Santana, Trick Daddy [click to read] and Plies [click to read] all lend their voices to the album. At times, the slew of guests make songs seem more like they came from a DJ Khaled compilation album than an Ace Hood solo effort, as is the case with "Cash Flow" and "Ride (Remix)."
The subject matter also shows little range for Hood. It ranges from drug peddling to songs about making money. This type of banter can be heard on many a major album out, so instead of dwelling on that, more should be said about the way it is done. While the songs demonstrate minimal originality and little thoughtful lyricism, the flows used on Gutta may be loved by those who can appreciate the down south bounce and Florida flavor.
That brings us to musical accompaniment. Some tracks definitely stand out. The energetic thumps from Drumma Boy's "Get Em Up" and The Runners' "Cash Flow" mesh well with the theme of the album and create a dirty musical backdrop. The more solemn sounds in "Top of the World" and "Stressin'" add much needed flexibility in production. Many of the songs sound interchangeable including "Can't See Y'all" and "Ghetto" which provide uninspired production and dull lyrics.
As we established already, originality is important, but it isn't everything. With enough bang and enough guest spots to make radio heads happy, this album is bound to attract some fans to the Floridian rapper's debut. But, the over emphasized drug dealing and gangster theme fused with unimaginative lyricism does little to set Ace apart from anyone. In fact, with the same guests that can be found pretty much everywhere else in 2008, this album fails to stand out this month, let alone this year.