When Fort Myers, FL native Plies managed to quietly go gold with last year’s release, The Real Testament, he likely surprised even himself. With the follow-up, Definition of Real, Plies sets out to continue his success by using the formula that has served him so well – just being himself.
The album sets it off with Trey Songz-assisted “I’m Da Man,” which is dripping with braggadocio – courtesy of Plies‘ drawn out southern drawl. “Ol’ Lady” is just absolutely hilarious, as Plies threatens to steal the girl from anyone who doesn’t pay back the money they owe him: “Don’t want yo’ side ho, nigga, I want your main bitch/The one you call ‘babe,’ the one you in love wit’/Make yo’ ho pack yo’ shit/And make her call you right now, tell you it’s over wit’/Before she hang up the phone, she gon’ tell you she my bitch/And when you call her back, gonna have her number switched.”
Bragging and humorous tracks are both things well within Plies‘ skill set, but he should definitely leave the gangsta shit to someone else. A clear indicator of this is “Bushes,” an unconvincing track where Plies attempts to sound as menacing as possible, but fails to accomplish anything beyond a pretty pathetic impression of T.I. “Shit Bag” also fails to persuade anyone to believe that Plies is the hardest thing since Freddie Foxxx, and would’ve been better left off of the album.
Plies is at his absolute best when he gets introspective – which is a shame, as he doesn’t do it nearly often enough. “Somebody Loves You” is a touching tribute to slain friends, and utilizes a Patti LaBelle sample perfectly. “1 Day” is another such song, and displays a lighthearted nostalgia on the surface, while thinly masking deeper sadness. It’s clearly the best song on the album, and will make listeners wonder why he didn’t make more cuts of this quality.
“Dat Bitch” is sure to bang hard in the whip, and T-Pain fits perfectly in “Watch Dis.” “Who Hotter than Me” suffers from an insipid hook and “Feel Like Fuckin'” is just awful, while “Rich Folk” and “#1 Fan” both manage to be relatively catchy. A pattern you’ll notice with Definition of Real is that it’s very hit or miss; still, it manages to have a cohesive sound.
Anyone that’s heard Plies rap, even for a moment, knows that his technical abilities and lyricism leave much to be desired. Seemingly incapable of switching up his flow or creating vivid imagery, it’s important to realize that in listening to Definition of Real, you won’t be getting Ready to Die. That being said, Plies does manage to say meaningful things at certain times, and the swag and charisma are undeniable. So no, Biggie he ain’t (and who is, really?), but it would be remiss to write him off as an emcee who’s got nothing to offer.