Sleepy Brown is the type of artist who lives in
his own world of music. Best known for lacing Big Boi with hooks, Sleepy
is actually no stranger to solo albums. Fans of his basically slept-on first
release, Sleepy’s Theme, know that Mr. Brown has a gift for creating a
mood, attitude, and genre all his own.
Mr. Brown provides an interesting
comparison to Sleepy’s Theme, with Sleepy combining his trademark elements
(catchy production, smooth vocals, mack-player content) in much the same
fashion. “I’m Soul” is an extended intro of a track, which sets the mood of the
album: “Sleepy.” Big Boi and Pharrell star on “Margarita,” which is
the closet thing on this album to party music. The Neptunes beat, like much of the album, is vaguely reminiscent
of the mid 70’s. Big Boi’s verse is
as sharp as ever, with a calm yet motivated tone that fits well with the horn
and drum duo. Sleepy’s vocals
actually serve to compliment Pharrell’s
hook on this one; his deep fatherly tone offsets Pharrell’s boyish crooning at every turn. “Dance With Me” doesn’t
quite make you want to dance, and unless you’ve ever been in a smoky lounge at
4 a.m. with nothing on your mind except the woman at the bar giving you the
eye, this one comes off contrived.
“One of Dem Nights” is another disco-inspired ballad… smooth, smooth, smooth.
A long lazy violin lulls you into a state of absolute cool, conjuring up images
of mid-length leather coats, gold-rimmed sunglasses and large cars. “Me, My
Baby & My Cadillac” is an ode to the same, this time focused on the joy of
rolling with a man’s two favorite things: his woman and his car. This one would
be more of a standout if it weren’t already released on Big Boi’s Got Purp Vol. 2
last spring… In fact, much of Mr. Brown is
conceptually identical to Sleepy’s Theme;
the only difference being OutKast’s
more prominent influence this time around.
As one-third of the successful Atlanta-based production team of Organized Noize, Sleepy Brown (whose real first name is Patrick) has helped write and produce hits for ‘Kast, Goodie Mob, and even TLC.
Now signed to Big Boi’s Purple Ribbon
Records, Mr. Brown takes another
look at the singer/songwriter/ producer with the designer sunglasses and a
penchant for the ladies.
Although true ATL music fans (what up, D?)
will call Sleepy’s Theme a classic, Brown’s first independent album remains
largely unheard, due in part to poor promotion and a general lack of star power.
Apparently, Mr. Brown is determined
not to make the same mistake twice, this time prominently featuring platinum-plus
friends OutKast. The formula,
however, remains essentially the same, and Sleepy
Brown remains true to his 1970s funk-inspired tradition.
That being said, songs like “Underwater Love,” “Sunday Morning,” and “Oh Ho Hum”
cause the second half of the 13 track disc to falter, failing to add anything
to what Sleepy’s already done. As a
case-in-point, this album even includes 2004’s hit single “I Can’t Wait” from
the Barbershop 2: Back in Business soundtrack.
By the end of the album it gets difficult to separate one song from the other
as everything just bleeds together; and not in a good way. If he gets credit
for staying true to form and keeping it real then he certainly deserves
criticism for being a bit too monolithic.