Mistah FAB, DJ Rah2K & The Empire - I Found My Backpack

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This sounds like nothing commonly expected from a mainstream Bay Area rapper, and yet F.A.B. convinces listeners he's built his career on this kind of music.

Over the last decade, Mistah F.A.B.’s name has become synonymous with the Hyphy movement, and rightfully so. Carrying the torch lit by predecessors Mac Dre, Keak da Sneak and E-40, F.A.B. kept the fast-paced style of music going despite a decline in interest from people outside of the Bay Area. With his latest release I Found My Backpack, it looks as though that association, at least for the time being, will be put on hold.


Right from the outset, Mistah F.A.B. makes it clear on “Eulogy 2 Hyphy” that his decision is not out of lost love or backlash, but rather a new musical direction that will still feature the Bay’s best qualities. Feeling compelled to defend his actions, he explains, “I took losses, I never ran away / I’m still reppin’ hard till this very day / Hyphy poster boy, what you afraid to be / You afraid to be you, that’s why you afraid of me.” This same message can be heard on “Hip Hop,” where F.A.B. rapidly spits rhymes to prove that he’s a student of the art form first;

“My words are lyrical, analytical, unequivocal, never typical, kind of spiritual you hear em’ bro? / Sort of biblical, painting visuals, scientifical, cold and critical so here we go (here we go) / I bring miracles when people hear me flow and in a year or so, the whole world ‘fin to hear me blow / I open doors for the Oakland poor, gave a little hope for more.”

Mistah F.A.B. enlists close producers Poker Beats and Rob-E to handle nearly half of the album’s tracks, and they do a commendable job of allowing F.A.B. to channel his inner-rap star over fresh Hip Hop beats such as “My Environment” and “Get The Picture.” However, it’s his collaborations with crate-digging savants !llmind and Jake One that become the highlights. On the former record “Looking For Fame,” !llmind combines blistering drums with menacing keys as F.A.B. holds his ground in the streets. Then on “The Theme,” Mistah F.A.B. narrates a brutal set-up over swindled money and a woman while Jake One lays down solid drums and an eerie melodic line to guide the storyline. Without giving away the ending, let’s just say F.A.B. has his cake and eats it too.

Not all of the album’s cuts are as successful. Describing his hasty judgments on “I Don’t Give A Fuck,” Mistah F.A.B.’s rhymes also in turn become reckless (“You better be like them Jamaicans, and run pretty fast”). Rapping alongside Atlanta emcee Pill, Tha Bizness-produced “Go Harder” has a decent feel supported by throbbing drums. However, the duo’s decision to blend Showbiz & A.G.’s “Soul Clap” and Busta Rhymes’ “Pass the Courvoisier, Part II” into the hook is less than appealing.
As sad as it is to say, listeners may never have received this reinvigorated version of F.A.B. had he stuck to his Hyphy roots. I Found My Backpack sounds like nothing commonly expected from a mainstream Bay Area rapper, and yet Mistah F.A.B. wears the new look so well you’d think he had built his career on this kind of music. Whether or not he continues on this path with his much-delayed fourth studio album, Liberty Forever is uncertain. However, we can look to the old adage conceived by KRS-One and agree that no matter the artist’s location, popularity or style, a dope emcee is a dope emcee.

13 Comments

  • Philip Carpenter-Powell

    Real solid joint. FAB spits from the heart. A lot of the tracks simply just jam, too. 4/5

  • Joyce

    Solid album. Better than Saigon, some great tracks on here. I give it a 4.

  • Mr Clean

    a man of many talents this one covers all current rap vibes, good voice and well balnced lyics

  • FAB=underated MC (FoodForThought)

    fab will 4ever be connected to what people outside of northern cali call "the hyphy movement". but he was around before all the sideshows n shit hit mainstream. first of all he is one of the best freestyle rappers in the game (R.I.P. jin) if anyone knows. 2nd if you listen to his cd SON OF A PIMP then you know how fab started and what he is really about. even in his "hyphy" shit he spits. its not like he ever made some solja boy shit or gay southern dance songs. give him a chance to seperate himself for all that and prove his lyrical ability.

  • c red

    iI FEEL YA DOG YELA BE SPITTIN!!!!!

  • Anonymous

    this album is pretty good but the best thing i have heard in a min is that yelawolf 0-60 that ishhh is bankin cant wait to hear yela and em on a track and hope it has a dre beat

  • i fuck pregnant white girls on the daily..creampies from the brown man..squirt!

    dude dont just take shits he know he is the shit.i use to work at a starbucks in the bay area, this nigga would leave them 20 dollar tips in quarters.i fucks with his music.5 stars

  • Bryant Carter

    a friend who was hit by a drunk driver and is now in a coma. Before I say anything else I do ask that you pray for her recovery. I was recently interviewed by a west coast magazine, and just had the interview published to the mag site. If I get enough FB likes my interview will go into the actual magazine. The link is http://wwsmag.com/updates/bryant-c-caught-up-20-10/ I just ask that you take a look, and press like for me. I made it an honest interview so I'm sure that you will like it. http://wwsmag.com/updates/bryant-c-caught-up-20-10/ Also feel free to view my youtube link @ http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=bryantc1000&aq=f

  • quibble

    silky smooth rhymes. fluid lyrics and polished beats. 4.5 easy.

  • kyobeatz

    this album is mad dope to anybody who hasn't copped it go get it now

  • ayo

    Dude don't just say he nice, he know he nice.

  • pepe silvia

    Actually this is pretty much exactly how Fab was before the Hyphy shit took off. Check out Nig-Latin and Son of a Pimp. I've gotta imagine that a good portion of his fans have always identified him as hip hop.