Black Rob - Game Tested, Streets Approved

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3.18

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There is more to Black Rob than "Whoa,” but there is nothing that quite lives up to it on Game Tested, Streets Approved.

Being in jail is no simple thing. When some sort of complicated situation lands people in jail, it will almost certainly change that person in some type of way. Readjusting to life on the outside can be more of a struggle than being on the inside, as recidivism rates worldwide always prove. So for someone like Black Rob, who did a very inconvenient four year bid, the opportunity to get back on the outside and pursue a legitimate career with an established independent label (in the form of Duck Down Records) is perhaps the best thing that could have happened to him. Now free of the nuisance of parole and his issues with Bad Boy Records, and presented with the opportunity to reestablish himself both as a rapper and as simply a man, Rob presents his audience with his first album since 2005, Game Tested, Streets Approved.

Contrary to popular belief, not all emcees come out of the correctional system as better lyricists. Though Black Rob shows growth as a person on tracks such as “Showin Up,” where he admits his flaws and addresses criticisms throughout bars such as, “for years I’ve been a slave to money, girls, and clothes, and manmade creations and incarceration, parole and probation, stipulations, violations, visitations and vindications,” that also seems to be the height of his lyricism on the album as well. The soulfully vocal sample-driven instrumental on the track is the perfect backdrop to Rob’s introspection, and allows the song to stand out as one of the best on Game Tested, Streets Approved, alongside “No Fear” featuring Sean Price (and his cosign-inducing bar, “Brooklyn’s finest, fuck police, your wife’s a cop? Then fuck police”). On the flip, tracks such as “Welcome Back” and “Can’t Make It In NY” have that type of unpolished sound and average flow that one would expect from a rapper selling mixtapes out of their hand around the block, not from someone who had a single on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. 

And though it’s nice to know that Rob stopped robbing and seems to be living his life free of illegalities, there are signs in his words that even after a year out of jail, his thought process is still at least slightly institutionalized. The Breyan Isaac-assisted “Celebration” details the glory of the beloved summertime BBQ in New York City. Yet amidst the quips about steaks on the grill, the neighborhood swimming pool, and chasing women around with water guns instead of actual guns, he manages to throw in lines such as “nutcrackers, cold beer and sodas, calisthenics work arms, legs, and shoulders.” Though calisthenics may not be a part of the average backyard BBQ, one can only imagine that it’s a part of a prison yard summer.

There is more to Black Rob than “Whoa,” but there is nothing that quite lives up to it on Game Tested, Streets Approved. The LP is not for the sheepish – it’s chock full of true-to-life tales of incarceration and struggle, but realness in this case cannot overshadow average musicality. Though one must commend Black Rob for trying to rap his way back into society rather than turning to what landed him in the bing in the first place, this may not be enough to reestablish the spot he once held in the Rap scene.

29 Comments

  • tom

    nice, reminds mi of dmx without the adlibs,, cool its a dif era but mi digs this like whoa

  • tomeCapone

    It has to be tuff to be a niggg over 35 and still in the booth, giving game. Black Rob has lived the life all this niggaz are trying to claim. I fucks with him. Keep giving us heat Rob. Whoa!!! Bitch!!!

  • s

    Just listened to the entire album with the my dudes and we all was zoned out...heads bobbin and all..BR did his thing...this cd will have scratches by the end of the week!!!

  • Anonymous

    THIS SHIT IS FIRE sample been used but his lyrics are the truth

  • Mugz101

    Very solid album. I don't understand the low rating?!

  • ronnieb

    I don't understand this website. This reviewer does not know rap

  • I'm At Work And Bored

    I just don't get it. Out of 1000's of emcees out there that needs help, why Duck Down picked this guy? And Stat Quo already made a song using this same sample from above video. Stat's version was 10x better

  • gramps

    Absolutely terrible album. Don't make that "street" shit excuse either. Suge Knight wouldn't play this.

  • YO

    YOO IF U AINT FUCKIN WIT DIS...YOU AINT A REALL NIGGA NAH MEAN?? THIS IS SOME REAL STICK UP MUZIK NY SHIT NAH MEAN?? SOME GULLY SKULLY FULLY BULLY SHIT NIGGA POSTED UP ON THE BLOCK PUSHIN ROCKS SHIT MA NIGGA NAHMEAN!!!! RUN UP ON A BITCH AND SNATCH A PURSE SHIT NAHMEANN!!! IMPREGNATE HER AFTER NAHMEANN!! THIS A MOVIE NIGGA!!! A MOTION PICTCHA NAHMEAN!!!

  • Ace

    The album cover looks like a hobo taking a shit in the park.

  • DMellow77

    Slow flows, lazy beats, nothing compelling in the rhymes ... Such a disappointment.

  • the Grza

    I thought Duck Down woulda gave Rob some heat. Haven't heard the album yet. Will have to judge for myself. I'm shocked at this rating.

  • Anonymous

    Guys working out in the park on the playground is not part of the urban america BBQ ? It's sad people from the suburbs get to have an opinion on urban music...some people should really not speak on something they know nothing about

  • Nico 3

    It gets better after a few listens, but the production definately doesn't do Black Rob any favors. To be fair, nobody knew this was coming out, so with a better label, and a little more effort, he could see another day.

  • Chris

    I hate to admit it: this project sounds like an amateur release. The production is awful and the good beats are ruined by some people that can't sing on the choruses. B.R should of done an accapella album instead, it would of been more enjoyable given how bad the music sounds. He can spit but his producers didn't do their part. Better luck next time.

  • The Truth

    I can't believe what I'm seeing here. This album is a easy 4.5/5. I guess the writer (Amanda) is a fan of Solider Boy and the skinny jeans wearing cats. This is straight fire. It's a true Hip-Hop album. That's the problem with this industry now. They glorify wack rap and forget about the essence of Hip-Hop. Let's get it together people. Support this album because it's truly worth it. I guess those that dislike this are fans of garbage rap such as Waka Flaka, Tyga, and many more...SMFH

  • Eklipz'77

    Amanda Bassa, did you really listen to the album ??? The albums bumps and Rob's shows that he's a better lyricist than most rappers out. Don't hate on this dude ! The album's a definite 3.5 !!!

  • tdotfromdabronx

    I mean its not that bad but its not that good either he could have done way better and he needs to watch it with the contradictions he doesn't have all the money he boasts about on most of the tracks...not that that's a problem but keep it real Rob E Rob tdotfromdabronx.tumblr.com

  • @Iamsquareon

    This fucking album bumps, dude is a helluva lyricist, very descriptive writing and he knows how to take you where he wants you to go. There are no wasted bars with ramblings of words that rhyme for the sake of rhyming. Dude is a throw back I wish today's generation would be more like. This is a solid 3.75/4 in my opinion.

  • hiphop

    the new video Celebration is kinda tight damn 2 stars ? is it that bad ? gotta peep it

  • Anonymous

    Black Flop oh sorry i mean Black Rob. 1700 records sold first week and 2 star rating. Give it up Rob. You are done. This is in no way life story shit

  • asd

    this album is average but 2 stars. i would give it 3 stars

  • 1one

    This album sucks! Black Rob is real but this is a real weak album.

  • Anonymous

    the writer is right real lyrics doesn´t mean a good album. i expected more from Black Rob he still sounds as in 2000 and the beats a very weak and the songs are boring

  • angered

    If they made a single for the video, I'd buy that. Album is TRASH. Sorry Rob.

  • WTF

    holy fuck yall are giving this mans album only 2 stars, yall are fuckin retards this album is a 4 easily, black rob is a real nigga whos got dope lyrics about real life shit and excellent beat selection as well, yall must be owned by shady records, lol

    • Onaje Jordan

      Black Rob doesn't fit the new rapper profile. You know can't spit rock snapbacks and wear girls jeans. Oh i forgot spit over god awful techno beats.