Welcome to the next solo album from one half of the dynamic duo otherwise known as 8Ball & MJG. 8Ball’s new release is entitled “Almost Famous“, and you’d think after looking at the production quality of the CD and some of the names to grace some of the tracks; 8Ball may have hit the big time. The sounds on the CD are cleaner, with better instrumentation. The first track of the CD entitled “Thorn” seems to exemplify this – its basically a long instrumental.

The higher budget on the album also seems to bring home what 8Ball is always trying to get across: are other MC’s more real than him. The improvement in production with backing from some big names, only solidifies his stance clearly, or does it? That is at the discretion of the listener to decide if 8Ball has sold out, but what this reviewer knows is that this album sounds a lot better in everyway to anything I have ever heard from this cat.

Standouts are littered all over the album. They include: “No Sellout“, which I would like to think is quite self explanatory, “Slab Rider“, which I dare anyone to try not to end up reciting or humming the chorus during an entire day, as well as “Live this“. Coupled with the aforementioned jams, cameos ran rampant: “4U” featuring Cl’che, has a tight beat and nice rhymes, “Do you really” featuring MJG, makes you bounce with catchy lyrics, and can’t forget the nice honey jam entitled “Holla Back” featuring Carl Thomas of Bad Boy Fame.

Alas, with some good, comes some bad, and Some of the cameos are, in some cases, surprisigly disappointing. “Witcha Lookin’” featuring Ludacris, and “Stop Playing Games“, the first single off of the album featuring P.Diddy are weak. I was shocked especially when I got to the track guest hosted by Ludacris, who has turned any track he appears on into an instant club favorite, to be so poor.

Minus a few stumbles on this 15 Track CD, I walked away particurlary impressed. 8Ball is following the recipe to success in the mainstream market, while still holding it down for his peeps. Just as long as non of his supporters forget: “He ain’t no “sellout” “. Cop the CD, its a nice listen.