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If Hip Hop fans are annoyed that Dr. Dre's "Detox" is taking forever to put out, then they should be doubly agitated by the length of time it took taken Stat Quo (former Shady-Aftermath signee) to release "Statlanta". The rapper is Atlanta-based, as the title to the record suggests, and finds that after a number of years anticipation (seven to be exact), his debut was finally hit the streets in Summer 2010. Although Dre may have built-up the hype over his third solo album release and continually let people down by re-starting the project, for years Stat Quo has had the intention of putting a record out and finally this is his chance to show the world if it was really worth all the effort in wanting it to eventually see it come to fruition.
From the start of the album, which suitably is entitled "The Beginning", Stat announces that "Statlanta" has finally come, but without Eminem or Dr. Dre on-board as expected (in case listeners hadn't kept-up with the goings-on in the Shady/Aftermath camp). Interestingly, he follows that up by speaking on how he's here to bring "...nothin' but that m****f**kin' A" suggesting that he's to offer a release filled to the brim with just what you'd expect out of an Atlanta-raised rapper. It was clear from the offset that this wasn't true.
In 2010, connotations of Rap out of Atlanta are far-detached from what it would have been ten years ago. Interesting musical mixes from the likes of the Goodie MOb, OutKast and Ludacris have been replaced by the Trap-Rap of Young Jeezy, Gucci Mane and OJ Da Juiceman in addition the Crunk, mindless party Rap from Soulja Boy, Travis Porter or Waka Flocka Flame. Although those from a decade ago may be around, new Hip Hop out of Atlanta shouldn't be expected to be anything of much significance (musically) and although Stat may not go down either of the newer routes, it seems that this is just the case here.
After a rather lifeless introduction, it seemed as though the album had little chance of getting better. "Welcome Back" sounds as if it was recorded back in 2003/2004 (based upon the production - even though the contents of his rhymes tell another story), "Dedicated" would only have fit in if it had come out around 2007 and "What I Like" sounded like very-late 2008. This feeling of irrelevance and outdated-ness ran through the whole of the album and just made it seem as though he was destined for failure from the offset. He packs in a few old tracks and makes them try to fit in alongside obvious new ones (such as "Catch Me" with Boi-1da on the beats) and so it makes for an uncomfortable, disjointed record.
The style of Stat Quo through the album just never quite seems right at any point. Obviously his time out on the East Coast significantly influence his style, but it means that he sounds as though he'd never receive attention in his hometown or anywhere in the bass-driven South. The only track with any sort of fire comes in the form of "Success". In that, the lead single, he speaks on the many aspects of his own day-to-day life over some thumping beats from Phoenix (in a very Dr. Dre-like way) and although it may stand out, it isn't as promising as "Like Dat" was when that first hit the streets in 2005.
Through much of the album the beats are just very average, and so they mean that they give very little inspiration to motivate Stat to come up with the goods. The tiresome "Space Ship" stands out as that sort of thing and means that more filler is made as a result. As there were so many tracks like this, it felt as though there was nothing to look forward to on the album after the first few tunes had come in. Looking down the list of songs and seeing both Raheem DeVaughn and Houston's Devin the Dude on "Lie to Me", you might expect something pretty decent there, but even with that its only actually Devin's verse with any sort of substance. Stat Quo does essentially nothing himself through the album and the plain nature of the album reflects this. To those into New York conscious Hip Hop then "Alright" may appeal to you for its Talib Kweli feature, but even there we hear nothing we don't already know by both MCs. As Stat Quo didn't appear to put much effort in, none of the collaborators did it for him.
All in all, the album may feature the odd nice verse or two from Stat Quo, but the fact that he's done nothing but recycle old things means that the album has no sort of flow to it and that it doesn't quite fit in with what's going on in 2010's Hip Hop world. It would be very difficult to recommend it as it takes on such a form, but if you have got the time then you may find hidden gems within it (not that it sounds as though it's the type of album that will grow over time). If you were excited for it dropping long ago when "Like Dat" came out then you're likely to feel very different about it by the contents of "Statlanta" in its ultimate form.
1. "The Beginning" **Three Stars**
2. "Welcome Back" (feat. Marsha Ambrosius) **Three Stars**
3. "Ghetto U.S.A." (feat. Antonio McLendon) **Two Stars**
4. "Dedicated" **Three Stars**
5. "Success (Back to U)" **Four Stars**
6. "Catch Me" **Three Stars**
7. "Cry" (feat. Brevil) **Two Stars**
8. "Space Ship" (feat. Esthero) **Two Stars**
9. "Lie to You" (feat. Raheem DeVaughn and Devin the Dude) **Three Stars**
10. "Alright" (feat. Talib Kweli) **Two Stars**
11. "What I Like" **Two Stars**
12. "Penthouse Condo" **Two Stars**