Fat Joe’s [click to read] Jealous Ones Still Envy [click to read] received mixed reviews but earned the Bronx emcee a platinum plaque. Trying to rekindle the achievement, Joe has decided to release a sequel to that disc with J.O.S.E. 2. Carrying Terror Squad on his back, his albums are always met with anticipation and great expectations but the product doesn’t always live up to the high hopes. This album is no different.
From the jump, Joe makes it clear that he is gunning for the charts. Lil Wayne [click to read] and Ron Browz join him for “Winding On Me” [click to listen] for a predictable Auto-Tune heavy cut and T-Pain [click to read] does the same on “Put Ya In Da Game.” The club-driven production wouldn’t be a problem if it wasn’t so monotonous. This continues on the dismal “Aloha” and the uninspired “Porn Star” [click to listen], where Lil’ Kim joins Joe for a “Magic Stick”-styled collaboration full of Auto-Tuned raps. When the tone of the album switches, it doesn’t get much better. Though Raekwon [click to read] makes an appearance on the soul-inspired beat for “Ice Cream,” The Chef couldn’t save the track from a hook this simplistic about drugs.
“Ice-cream, ice-cream, who wants ice-cream?
Hey, everybody’s fiending for that ice-cream!
When she screams ice-cream, I scream, she screams.
Hey! Everybody’s fiending for that ice cream.”
With many low-points on the disc, it’s still possible to find a positive side to J.O.S.E. 2. “Congratulations” boasts Eric Hudson’s [click to read] horns and keys, a great change of pace from the rest of the album. “One,” the album’s single may be your run of the mill Akon [click to read] track, but it’s one of the best cuts on the album due to Joe’s candor and humor (“She loves me even though I’m fat”). Another stand out track, “Joey Don’t Do It,” shows Crack rocking over electric guitar riffs and hard-hitting drums, fully allowing him to brag about street cred while dissing others like he has nothing to lose. Sadly, highlights like these are few and far between.
Too often, Joe falls into the trap of making records based on what’s hot at the moment. The problem with that is that trends end daily. This album seems full of cuts that could have potentially been radio hits (though still critical duds) last year and therefore it sounds stale in October of 2009. Though J.O.S.E. 2 shines when Joe is not chasing formulaic records, the cookie cutter style he often uses makes this album lose its impact. This is especially disappointing since fans know what he is capable of delivering when he is truly inspired. Instead of looking at what others were doing for this album, Joe would have been better off doing his own thing to make others envy him, or at least applaud him. In a year that saw Raekwon and Jay-Z [click to read] drop sequels worthy of praise, this sequel fails to improve on the original, which wasn’t necessarily a great effort to begin with.