They say you never get a second chance to make a first
impression. Nowhere is this more true than in the music industry. Slim Thug Presents Boss Hogg Outlawz Serve
and Collect is Slim Thug‘s
introduction of his crew: Killa Kyleon,
Sir Daily, PJ, J-Dawg, C. Ward, Young Black, and Rob Smallz. The move is clear and calculated: the consummate
businessman, Slim, is out to develop
his brand and label (the Boss Hogg
Outlawz) while he preps his sophomore album due out this year.
“We Boss Hoggin'” leads off the compilation with Slim Thug refusing the current ballin’ mentality (a la Jim Jones) in favor of his Texas
version, which he eloquently defines as – you guessed it – “Boss Hoggin’.” No
shortage of shallow materialism here, just plain braggadocio rap on how Slim Thugga is the boss of the world.
Mr. Thug is joined by PJ and Sir Daily on “Wood Wheel,” whose strong point is the Michael Watts-esque hook supplemented
by a tuba inspired bass line that is very well-executed. PJ and Sir Daily play
their parts; neither stands out, but then again neither hurts the track. My
favorite verse comes from Slim
himself: “I’m taking off down the runway/
broad day Sunday/ haters looking at me, I ain’t playin’ that with gunplay/ hand
on the grain while I swangin’ on the one way/ boppers everywhere I see it’ll be
a fun day/ I might as well stay up all night ’til its Monday/ my shit’ll
probably end up where my son stay/ got baby mama drama cause the bitch drivin a
“Recognize a Playa” is the same recipe plus a teaspoon of newcomer C.Ward, who I instantly liked on the
strength of his claim: “I’m so fresh you
can smell your boy through a stuffy nose/they call me Chris Wizzard, that’s just how it goes.” J-Dawg joins the party next on “Ride on 4’s.” Dude says nigga like
81 times, which gets old quick…plus he sounds a lot like his slightly more
famous Texas-mate Pimp C. Killa Kyleon at least brings more
energy on “Badge on My Neck,” and he’s even better on “Back to Front.” Again,
the production is the best part- with the verse just clean enough to hold your
attention till the next organ-laced break. Good and Texas.
The next 4 tracks (“Straight Outta Texas,” “Rollin’,” “This Is For My Gs” and “I’m
a Hogg”) all feature some combination of the previously mentioned Boss Hogg Outlawz rapping about some
combination of the previously mentioned silliness. Then comes “Cheating” which,
umm, showcases the vocal skills of Rob
Smallz. Slim Thugg‘s verses seem
to be on the track by default only, and the concept (baby why you cheating on
me?) completely contradicts the Boss Hog/
I’m a pimp-gangsta theme of the other 14 tracks.
Young Black essentially sneaks in
the back door with a solo track called “I’m Fresh.” Unfortunately, for him this
is the track where you start to get bored with the slabs, candy paint, and
tinted windows rhetoric and realize that you’ve heard this somewhere before.
But there is good news: the album ends rather uneventfully, with two more tracks
that you forget as soon as they’re over. The bad news is that that the album
ends rather uneventfully, with two more tracks that you forget as soon as
Slim Thug is actually one of the
good guys in the industry, and he’s to be commended for giving his crew such a
good look on this album. But, as is the case with many crew albums, this one is
spread a bit thin with recycled cliché lyrics and a general lack of substance,
style and inspiration. I doubt that even true Houston north-siders will ride to
it, simply because it sounds way too polished compared to the now classic Swishahouse mixtapes that made Slim Thug Already Platinum. I give him an A for effort, but Serve and Collect is probably not the first impression that the Outlawz were hoping to make.