Saturday, December 13, 2008

Yung Joc -- Hustlenomics

Rating: 2/5 stars

Pros: Several catchy songs that would get any party jumping.

Cons: Rushed album gave Joc no chance to match debut.

Bottom Line:
Sophomore slump could derail Joc's career.

Recommended Tracks:

Play Your Cards

Bottle Poppin

In a strange bit of irony, Yung Joc's new album Hustlenomics is an almost textbook example of a hustle:

1. Capitalize on a brand name while consumers still have a positive association with it. Hustlenomics was rushed to the market a little more than a year after Joc's breakthrough New Joc City. The lead-off single Coffee Shop was released two months after the last single from New Joc City peaked on the charts.

2. Associate the product with as many big names as possible. Though New Joc City became a surprise hit thanks to the synthesizer-heavy chemistry between Joc and producer-mentor Nitti, Hustlenomics has a long list of A-listers thrown haphazardly together: Diddy, Game, the Neptunes, Snoop Dogg and Jazze Pha.

3. Make an appeal to every demographic, regardless of the product's strengths. Joc's fan base is primarily teenagers and party-goers (he has toured with Omarion, Ne-Yo, Ciara and T-Pain). And after an album of clubbing and bottle-popping, his gangsta raps ("You don't want no static / holes through your chest hard to breathe like asthmatics”) feel forced.

Joc’s laid-back drawl and raspy voice work well with up-tempo synthesizer songs like his breakthrough hit It’s Goin Down or the Cool & Dre produced Play Your Cards. He’s likeable enough to deliver drug-dealing rhymes ("First I take they order like a coffee shop / Then I steam it up and cook it like the coffee shop") alongside a children's chorus without seeming out of place.

But instead of letting Joc build on his promising debut, Bad Boy decided to make a quick buck. For all his talk of "teaching you how to hustle," he hasn't figured out who the real hustlers in the rap game are.

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