In anticipation of part deux to his well-received Loso’s way, Fabolous has returned with DJ Drama for another sequel – There is no Competition 2. Fab has always excelled in the mixtape circuit, so it’s easy to see why this is such a highly-anticipated release – but does it live up to the Brooklyn emcee’s track record?
After DJ Drama eulogizes the competition in the intro, Fabo gets to work with “The Wake.” Though he doesn’t follow through with the funeral concert particularly well, the track sets things off nicely with his trademark lazy flow over several layers of synth and thumping drums. “I’m Raw” has the line of the album, and it’s not even close: “Bitch I’m raw, so you hear any nigga outcook me / Is suspect like R. Kelly with girl scout cookies.” Throw in references to DJ Jazzy Jeff and it’s a reminder that, when Fabolous is interested, he can really turn a phrase.
The tough talk continues on “Body Ya,” until Fabolous returns midway through to his most tried-and-true subject: women. “Shout out to the groupies, shout out to my ex / Probably sayin’ fuck me, so shout out to the sex / Don’t get mad at me ‘cause I’m on the next / All of this ‘cause I ain’t respond to your texts / Big up to you bum bitches and your 10 dollar dresses / Big up to the big girls, y'all are so precious / Salty bitches tryin’ to raise a nigga blood pressure / Grown lil’ girls, do your mouth get any fresher?”
By the time “Body Count” rolls around, TINC2’s homogeneous subject matter and production begins to wear out its welcome. Some relief comes in the form of the “Body Bag (Remix)” , which features Cam’ron and Vado. Though it’s the same topic of discussion, the frenetic violin loop and hard-hitting drum provide a switch-up in the sound, which up until now was largely comprised of synths, not to mention the well-timed cameos.
Perhaps the presence of other emcees brings out the best – “best” being a relative term here – because 'Loso certainly livens up on “Tonight,” which features a nice guest spot from Red Cafe and a touch of low-end bass. “Lights Out” doesn’t manage to do more than highlight Fab’s inability to write a decent hook on this release, as the one here includes “I don’t see nobody” eight times. At this point, DJ Drama mercifully comes back to “lay the competition to rest,” and attempts to assure that in Fabolous’ hands, fans will “never have to worry about wack product again,” though this reviewer remains unconvinced.
With his last two releases, Fabolous has tried to shake his reputation as an underachiever, but There is no Competition 2 does little to advance that cause. The rhymes are marginal by the Brooklyn rapper’s standards, and the production – an area that Fabolous has had great success with in the past – will satisfy as much on tinny laptops speakers as on full-spectrum sound systems. One might argue that these tracks are a warm up in preparation for Loso’s Way 2, but I say leave the warm ups where they belong – on the studio’s cutting room floor.