The earth spun around the sun since Soulja Boy [click to read] conquered last summer with his youthful explosion of dancing, lighthearted lyrics and do-it-yourself approach. Twenty-one year-old V.I.C. hails from the same stomping grounds of Georgia, loves dancing and comic books, and gets his own DIY operation backed by Warner Brothers. With Soulja Boy on the boards for his own summertime hit “Get Silly,” both fans and skeptics seem to know where this movie is headed, if the audience stays in the seats. For now, Beast is a fitting title for V.I.C.‘s work ethic, but hardly a testament to his microphone abilities.
With Bruce Wayne back in theaters of his own right now, one could argue it’s the right time for a record like “Batman.” Instead, the song, driven by a reckless rendition of the ’60s TV version theme for melody is just late to the party. V.I.C.‘s delivery and production is largely reminiscent of the Hot Boys sound of the late ’90s, however the content dwarfs in comparison. At 21, V.I.C. might sound good on Collipark and Soulja Boy drums, but he’s hardly as kid-tested and mother-approved. “Beat That” is a song not about MPC pads, but about that gushy stuff that feels like a 2 Live Crew update rather than cutting-edge dance rap. “Jaw Jackin'” is the lone street record, entirely held down by Bun B [click to read], as the 21 year-old who’s already revealed his silly and kiddish tendencies, wants to stop all those haters across the room. The inconsistency of Beast bleeds track-to-track, and many listeners quickly realize that what they heard on the radio is both false charm, and about as good as it gets.
Production can’t hide Beast‘s blemishes either. Whereas Hurricane Chris [click to read] and Lil Mama appeased some with catchy beat concoctions and deliveries, V.I.C.‘s self-taught abilities are transparent. “Do You Know” is telling, with its incessant use of background sound effects and filters that computer software options may likely outweigh the ear or flare for talent. Polow Da Don drops in on “I’m The Shit,” which incorporates a great deal of V.I.C.‘s own production style, but cannot seem to pull out the radio hit-making potential he’s eloquently done in several genres. Not for nothing, V.I.C. shows potential in places. “By Faith” is a slower ballad that demonstrates vulnerable songwriting, challenging production, a well-crafted chorus and even the makings of an emcee. However, that’s one song among nearly 20, and clearly not the way the label or artist appears to be positioning themselves.
In total, Beast is confused. The singles mislead the listener into believing this is teen rap. The trite messages of sex, money and bragging are more Bow Wow than Soulja Boy though. From “Rock The Bells” allusions to OutKast interpolations, legendary cosigns and big-budget production, V.I.C. is likable, but disorganized at his debut. Just as RJD2 following behind DJ Shadow or Ja Rule [click to read] behind DMX, V.I.C. must prove to be prolific, in order to break out of his younger peer’s shadow.