The clubs and airwaves have been inundated with The Diplomats affiliate and U.N. member Vado’s “Speaking in Tungs” , and the time has finally come that the public gets a full length offering (one of these “street album” releases that seems to be rather popular these days) from the Harlem emcee. With minimal features and completely original content (and no shortage of Vado’s trademark adlibs), from beats to lyrics, it’s an excellent introduction into the skills that Vado brings to the table.
Longtime fans of the Diplomats’ sound will thoroughly enjoy Slime Flu. Even down to the title, the project seems tailored toward Cam’ron and his squad. And it seems that Vado has taken the right notes from those that came before him, as he pulls their trademark rhyme schemes and style off as if he’s been working with Killa as long as any of the rest of them have. At the same time, he manages to stand out on his own and never blend into the background. The smoothed-out, mellow “Celebration” is a perfect example of this, as Vado rhymes, “All blue like Megan Fox eyes / Small fry you a smart guy / Should know I ain’t bringin’ champagne when sparks fly / Still can’t believe king of Pop died / No tears my heart cried like when my pops died / Hood is like the BET awards / Everyday I hit the stage fiends see me, they applaud / No diploma we got GED awards / Keep it comin’ boatloads, don’t let TNT aboard.” The balance of hustler mentality, affinity for G Shock watches and extravagant fashion, with a dash of whip appeal over the mood-setting horns and slow paced drums with hints of keys and chimes will make even the most rigid personalities feel like sparking a cigar and enjoying the finer things in life.
Other standout tracks include “The Greatest,” “Rugby Down,” and “Crimesquare” featuring former Children of the Corn member and fellow Harlem dweller McGruff. The latter, which boasts a classic scratch hook over a dark-sounding beat, shows Vado executing some good word play (“Dialing the operator is the only time y’all touch O’s”) as he exchanges verses with McGruff about the street life. With a feeling of sincerity he spits, “Duckin’ feds, walkin’ on thin ice / If I get caught know it’s 25 to life / When you live that fast live gotta pay the price / Be up day and night movin’ that yay that’s right / Layin’ pipe getting’ dome on that turnpike / Burn like the ounce of sour in one hour, gun shower on you punk cowards / Get your suit and flowers.”
Even the lowest points on Slime Flu are average at best, nothing being entirely worthy of the skip button treatment. The street album gets rocky around “Beat Knockin” and “Bullets and Gunsmoke” an early feature for Grand Hustle’s Philadelphia delegate, Meek Mill. “Beat Knockin” just isn’t too enthralling of a track, and the beat doesn’t live up to the title as well as it could have. “Bullets and Gunsmoke” suffers a subpar verse from Meek Mill (let’s hope he wasn’t lying when he said, “So if this rappin’ go wrong / Man, I wouldn’t even stress it, I been trappin’ so long”) over a beat by Jahlil Beats more suited for someone with Young Jeezy’s type of style.
Slime Flu proves to be a solid introduction for Vado as he seems to be steadily gaining notoriety in the New York scene and beyond. As Dipset seems to be back with a vengeance in 2010, newcomer Vado is having no trouble proving that he deserves to be along for the ride. If tracks like “Shooter” featuring Cam’ron and an abundance of cars, jewels, guns, and “sliiiiiiiiime” are any sign of what’s to come in the future, Vado can be sure that fans will be anticipating his next release.