Album: My Time
Label: Big Daddy Records
Rating: 5 / 10
Reviewer: A to the L
OK, put all thoughts of Star Wars and wookies out of your head for the duration of this review. We gotta take this shit seriously, son. With a mixture of black and Puerto Rican blood running through his veins, this Spanish speaking, uniquely named Brooklyn resident has dropped “My Time”, his debut release, and in fact, the first release of fledging label Big Daddy Records.
The album starts with one of the weirdest opening cuts I’ve heard in a long time. ‘What’s My Name’ features a fairly standard sounding Dirty South influenced beat, with the most horrible chorus of voices chanting Choobakka’s name throughout. Couple this with some uninspiring, “this is me, back up and bounce” lyrics, and you have all the ingredients for a wack cut. But for some unknown reason its strangely addictive. Its definitely not the style I expected from a New York emcee though.
The next couple of cuts are a mixed bag too. ‘She’s Feelin’ Me’ features Choobakka trading verses with Lady J, who also drops an extremely catchy chorus. The beat is another start-stop affair, with a nice little flute sample flitting in and out of the background. Its all about the chorus on here though. ‘All Eyes On We’ is a distinctly reggae-influenced affair, and features Sean Paul on the mic helpouts. Its OK – nothing special, and owes a massive debt to Bubba Sparxxx’s ‘Ugly’.
Things don’t really rise to any greater heights with ‘Out The Ghetto’ or ‘Big Daddy Money’ either. The former is a standard rags-to-riches affair that you’ve heard a thousand different rappers spit a thousand different times, and while its certainly not bad, there’s nothing remarkable here that makes it stand out either. The latter cut is obviously the radio friendly cut – a much lighter, almost poppy beat, with a syrupy female hook, that again isn’t the worst of the bunch, but doesn’t stand out from the crowd either.
As things continue, it becomes clear that this seems to be the story with most of the album. Throughout, Choobakka seems to do nothing more than rework scenarios and subjects already covered much better by other rappers. ‘Guns Cocked’ is a clumsy attempt to hit the storytelling targets that Biggie set up with ‘Niggas Bleed’ and ‘Suicidal Thoughts’. ‘Dance With Me’ displays Choobakka’s Latin roots, but unfortunately comes off as a Big Pun out-take. ‘Bluntz In The Air’ as the title suggests is a drug anthem, which borrows heavily from Snoop’s ‘For All My Niggaz And Bitches’, but ultimately fails to inspire.
Its not ALL bad though. Occasionally things do come together all at once, to produce some nice material. The strings-dominated ‘I Like That’ is a superb example – a tongue-in-cheek misogynist’s dream, which features a violin sample so sharp you could cut glass on it. Similarly, the anthemic ‘Top Down’, the Roc-A-Fella influenced title cut, and the rumbling ‘I Don’t Think They Know’ are all worth hitting the rewind button for.
So there you have it – Choobakka is here but ultimately, with an average flow, some average beats, and no kind of unique selling point, its gonna be hard to pick him out from the crowd. And at the end of the day, an average album can get little more than an average mark.