When an
artist creates a successful career, he may sometimes bring his friends along
for the ride. That’s natural. Lately, it’s also normal to have your close
associates create their own albums. Everyone from Jay-Z to Eminem has done
this with their brethren. It’s almost as though it’s a code: You make it, you
bring your friends and you all celebrate. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always pan
out that way. Therefore, it’s easy to understand the doubt placed on T.I.’s pal Young Dro. Questions automatically swirled as to whether or not Dro was a real emcee, or if he was just
a homie put on by his successful comrade. With Best Thang Smokin’, he has a chance to dispel the doubt and create
his own lane. The question now is: Does he do this successfully? 

The album
definitely starts off on a good note. Dro
laces “100 Yard Dash” with an infectious chorus and colorful observations. His
descriptive language sprinkled over a nice, heavy beat shows what he may have
in store. Although hampered by a horrible guest spot from Xtaci, the track is a nice little introduction for the LP. Alas,
the next slew of tracks fall flat, even with the potential. “Gangsta” and “Presidential”
are bland lyrical outputs, though I’m quite sure they will bang in various
clubs and whips around the country. With clever instances of color usage, (he
describes everything: his Regal looks like prune juice) Dro manages to cause a few laughs and the instrumentals often bump,
but it doesn’t take away from the album’s weak topical selection.

His shining
moments with ink appear when he allows heartfelt emotion to flow through. “Hear
Me Cry” and “We Lied” show there’s more to Dro
than bright colors and cliche hooks. Other shining moments appear courtesy
of the production; Jazze Pha offers
some hit selections and “Shoulder Lean” is certainly more than enough to make
some people get up and try the dance.

But in the
end, he doesn’t differentiate himself from the pack. As a matter of fact, he
sometimes appears to be a poor man’s rendition of T.I., who makes two guest spots on the LP. “They Don’t Really Know
About Dro” sounds like “U Don’t Know Me Pt 2.” “Rubberband Banks” is
reminiscent of “Rubberband Man,” and his Jazze
collaborations are quite similar in sound to “Let’s Get Away” from T.I.’s Trap Muzik. If Dro can
make himself stand out above his partner in rhyme, it would do wonders for him
as an artist, but that doesn’t happen here. If I wanna listen to T.I., I’ll listen to T.I., not a poor imitation of him.
Instead, Best Thang Smokin‘ makes one
wish a “No Smoking” sign was around.