With a string of multi-platinum albums to his name, Ludacris [click to read] did what every successful Hip Hop artist does nowadays: form his own recording company, Disturbing Tha Peace. Yet save for the few notable singles from Shawnna and the questionable lasting-power of Chingy [click to read], DTP artists have rarely tasted the same results as their label head.
Enter Bobby Valentino [click to read]. Once a member of mid-'90s R&B group Mista, the quartet had a hit single in "Blackberry Molasses," but would eventually disband due to underwhelming sales of their debut album. Reborn as a solo artist, Valentino would find a new home at Disturbing Tha Peace, and would find success in his self-titled frosh long-player in 2005, thanks to the massive hits "Slow Down" and "Tell Me." However, while his sophomore effort, Special Occasion, slowly reached gold status, the album largely went under the radar, prompting Bobby to sever ties with DTP and soon form his own label, Blu Kolla Dreams. Finally striking out on his own, Bobby drops his third album, the appropriately titled The Rebirth.
With renowned beat maestros Tim & Bob scoring the majority of The Rebirth, Bobby tries to once again capture the magic of his first two monster singles. On the melodious "My Girl," Bobby longs for a love he's forever searching for, the short but sweet "Dance The Night Away" is a whimsical journey backed by smooth piano plinks, before teaming up with Raphael Saadiq [click to read] on an updated cover of Tony! Toni! Toné!'s "Just Me & You." Yet Bobby is at his best when he sings about his quest for deep affection. On "Be My Love" he pledges his love for his woman, and the heartbroken tale of "On The Edge" is paired with the smooth stylings of Tim & Bob's guitar-tinged backdrop.
But while Bobby's voice is above average at best, but it is his songwriting that ultimately proves to be his greatest weakness. The album's lead single, "Beep," is coupled with nonsensical lyrics from both Bobby and guest rapper Yung Joc, with corny lines like, "Got a pole in my condo, I can make it rain/Now make you clap for me, you driving me crazy." "Butterfly Tattoo," his ode to the infamous "tramp stamp," suffers from bawdy vocals and an uninspired beat. While Bobby's attempts to remain faithful to his girlfriend while being attracted by the allure of another temptress at a club on "Hands On Me," his pleas come off as contrived, and although "Make You The Only One," is backed by the Tim & Bob's ethereal flutes and percussions, the song is ultimately weighed down by its elementary hook: "No more party party for me, no more drinky drinky for me."
While The Rebirth has its moments, Bobby Valentino's sub-par pen game is what proves to be his greatest downfall, turning otherwise notable singles into quickly forgotten stanzas. Perhaps if paired with gifted songwriters Bobby could push over the tipping point and into superstardom, but it unfortunately won't happen with this album.