Swizz Beatz is definitely an anomaly in
hip-hop today. Since blasting his way into rap’s collective minds over a
decade, he’s since remained a heavy player in the game; yet despite his recent
run of chart-topping club smashes is not as favored as some of his rival
contemporaries today.

Although today’s musical hitters – whether it is rap perennial rap all-stars
like Jay-Z and Busta Rhymes, or R&B
vixens Beyoncé and Mary J Blige – regularly
frequent The Monster for his services, he sometimes takes a
backseat to his more visual counterparts, Kanye West and Pharrell
. So, rather than play the backfield any longer, Swizz
launched his own label, Full Surface Records, which put
battle-rap spit kicker Cassidy on the map. Still not
satisfied, however, Swizzy stepped into the booth as well,
releasing his debut solo venture, G.H.E.T.T.O. Stories, five years
ago. Unfortunately, his ever-evolving sound – from the apocalyptic,
woofer-bursting Casio plinks of “Ruff Ryders Anthem” and “WW III,” to the lush samples found in “Good Times,”
to the triumphant horns and heavy bass lines from “Bring It Out” – at times could
not distract the listener from his below-mediocre, kindergarten raps throughout
the compilation.

After one again reinventing himself by producing some of the biggest hits in Hip
Hop and R&B over the past few years, Swizz hopes that his
successful pinch hits for others will translate well for his own batting
average with his latest album, the oddly-titled One Man Band Man.



If there were ever a reason to dislike the state of Hip Hop, it would
definitely be due to the increasing number of producers attempting to rap,
coming off horribly wrong each and every time. Where some (Diamond D,
Erick Sermon and Kanye West all come to mind)
sound at the very least plausible, Swizzy‘s
overly-simplistic nursery raps constantly violate the unwritten yet all-too-important
mores of rapping – being able to rap. While it’s apparent that Swizz
will never be considered among the greatest lyricists of all time, with lazy,
A-B rhymes like “Smoke good eat good, drink good fuck good/Come into the
club stuntin’ like how you should…/ Ring the alarm man, call me the
sandman/When I drop beats I’m the one man band man/Cash rules everything around
me cream get the money/Dollar dollar bills y’all,”
it’s painfully obvious Swizz
loves the sound of his own voice too much, which causes the quality of album’s
sometimes spectacular soundscapes to lose their shine.

Almost always, the beats have their way with Swizz at every
angle. Whether it’s the frenzied staccato-steps of the lead single “It’s Me Bitches,”
the massive Congo-esque drums of “Big Munny” or the pseudo-hyphy feel of “Money In The Bank,”
the rethreaded materialistic boasts becomes tired and vapid after a while. When
Swizz tries to show some introspection in “The Funeral”
and “Part Of The
,” while earnest, the results are laughable at best. And while
current milk-box material rapper Drag-On sounds surprisingly
decent on “Bust
Ya Gunz
,” both Lil Wayne and R. Kelly
deliver phoned in verses on the “It’s Me” remix, leaving a ravenous Jadakiss
to play mop-up duty with his ravenous – albeit too short – guest slot.

One Man Band Man is not going to change the face of Hip Hop; rather,
it is an hour-long lesson on all the wrong things in rap. Perhaps Swizz
will stay behind the boards more often than a microphone next time.