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Sept. 17, 2005

Yayo should have kept 'Thoughts' to himself

by Abe Schwadron, Online Managing Editor
Every successful rapper has a special characteristic that makes his flow unique. Lloyd Banks has the punch lines, Young Buck has the Southern swagger and Eminem has the exceptional storytelling ability. Tony Yayo, the latest addition to the G-Unit family, has no unique characteristics.

Yayo's debut album, "Thoughts of a Predicate Felon," is a lyrical embarrassment to the Shady/Aftermath label. Banks, Buck, 50 Cent and the rest of the artists featured on eight of Yayo's seventeen uninspiring tracks outshine the rapper on his own album.

Rap mogul 50 Cent's protégé, Yayo was recently released from prison where he spent 18 months for gun possession and bail jumping. But Yayo fails to live up to the billing of the "next 50" with "Thoughts," proving he is only a Flavor Flav-like hype man and revealing he is incapable of carrying an entire album on his own.

"Homicide" and "It is What it is," the opening tracks on the album, represent Yayo's first attempt at thug appeal. The tracks have decent beats and drum programming, but Yayo's loud and raspy flow, which is probably better described as yelling in rhyme, makes him sound like he has a sore throat. Yayo's irritating voice and monotonous hooks compromise the gangster appeal he had been looking for.

Yayo disappoints again on "Tattle Teller," which features a beat similar to that of The Game's "Hate It or Love It." On "So Seductive," featuring 50, Yayo's corny rhymes and lack of imaginative lyrics ruin an otherwise tolerable song. "I can't stop thinking of the things you do/ When you freaking me and I'm freaking you/ I said the ice on my neck make the shorties stare/ Baby let me fly you in my Leer," he raps.

On "Eastside Westside" Yayo speaks in monotone through most of his verses, including the hook. Yayo adds this song to a long list of simply boring tracks, and makes his music almost insufferable with lines like "I ride through your hood and I shine like Jesus."

"Drama Setter," featuring Eminem and Obie Trice, two of the more established members of the Shady/Aftermath group, is one of the best-produced tracks on the album. "I'm a drama setter/ I don't go looking for no trouble but somehow the trouble always finds me/ Don't make me have you in the trauma center with ya mommy cryin/ 'Cuz her only son is dying" raps Eminem on the hook, which opens the song. Yayo, however, drowns out the spectacular beat with his gruff yelling, rapping, "Broke days we used to put water in our cereal, now we crossing borders just to shoot another video." The best part of the track is Trice's verse, which is refreshingly understandable and clean, something rare on the album.

The best track on the album, "We Don't Give A [Expletive]," features fellow G-Unit members Banks, Olivia and 50. Olivia provides the first R&B vibe on the album, and is a good complement to Yayo's unpolished raps. Banks delivers the best single verse on the album, rapping "Don't go tongue-lashing with Lloyd/ I'll put stabs in ya boy like Brad Pitt in Troy." The track provides a good set of strong lyrics that remind listeners of G-Unit's glory days.

The next track, "Pimpin," again exposes Yayo's weak rhymes and unfunny punch lines. "While you shop on Melrose, buying girls shoes/ I'm in Mickey D's buying number twos." Yayo's cries of, "Here we go now!" and "What!", a la Lil Jon, drown out another nicely produced beat.

"Curious," featuring Joe, and "Project Princess," featuring Jagged Edge, add an R&B sound to the later stages of the album, but neither is outstanding and both sound eerily similar. "I'm So High" is the typical commercial track found on most G-Unit albums about smoking marijuana, which turns out to be one of Yayo's best performances and a surprisingly hot track. "I be getting high, doing my thing/ So my eyes are Chinese and I'm high like Yao Ming." An oldies sample and a piano-heavy beat also add diversity to the track.

One of the most intriguing songs on the album, "I Know You Don't Love Me," featuring G-Unit, samples a Hawaiian-type beat. 50 provides another hook, and the song is one of the best on the album, but Yayo's lone verse is confusing — he mentions Eva Mendes and his drug money in the same sentence. The highlight of the song is the performances by Buck and Banks, whose verses are refreshing. Banks in particular spices up this track, rapping "I'm nicer than them Japanese cats at ping-pong" and "I hear you when you whisper/ Got the ear of Ray Charles."

Overall, "Thoughts of a Predicate Felon" is unexciting and uninteresting. Yayo lacks lyrical originality, and his debut album wavers between Yayo's attempted gangster image and his love song-singing alter ego. Yayo has yet to solidify himself as a rapper, and makes the mistake of acting as a G-Unit hype man and giving other artists the chance to outshine him on his own record. The entire album can be summed up in one song, "Love My Style," in which Yayo samples Britney Spears' "Toxic," a pop-princess song adored by teenage girls, not hip-hop fans.

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  • Tony on September 17, 2005 at 10:45 PM
    nice article abe, keep up the good work.
  • Brandon (View Email) on September 18, 2005 at 10:03 AM
    I couldn't agree with this article more. G-Unit would be better off if Tony Yayo was still in jail. I feel Lloyd Banks, Young Buck, Olivia, and formerly Game, all added their spice to G-Unit. The only songs I like on this album are the ones featuring fellow G-Unit members and one with Eminem, such as I Know You Don't Love Me, We Don't Give A [expletive], So Seductive, and Drama Setter. Tony Yayo is a negative asset to the well talented G-Unit. The only thing he brings positive to the group is thug representation. The beats on this album were undeniably hot, but Tony seems to ruin all of Dr. Dre's masterpieces with his annoying voice and lackluster lyrics. I feel I can rhyme better than him and his lyrics are simply unacceptable. This album will still go platinum, although all positive credit should go to 50, Eminem, Dre, and the rest of G-Unit from turning this album from absoloutely terrible to average.
  • yayo is garbage on September 18, 2005 at 1:42 PM
    i think hes lloyds banks dad or something that man has speech impedements and alzheimerz
  • Marc Smith (View Email) on September 18, 2005 at 10:11 PM
    Yayo's album isnt the best but it isn't that bad. But it would take a true g-unit fan to really understand his style, which appears to be quite horrible. I am suprised that his album is of that quality but at the same time I think that the article is a little to critical. For instance, "Yayo's lone verse is confusing — he mentions Eva Mendes and his drug money in the same sentence." Eva Mendes was in Training Day, where she was aware of Denzel Washington's character's drug money he used to pay of a debt. Maybe you should do a little more research when writing about lines from songs. Best believe rappers do.
  • sam on September 20, 2005 at 1:34 PM
    did you just call young buck succesful?

    "Every successful rapper has a special characteristic that makes his flow unique...Young Buck has the Southern swagger "

    You did! what the heck?
  • sam on September 20, 2005 at 1:42 PM
    everyone likes toxic. everyone
  • buck on September 20, 2005 at 2:08 PM
    ill take buck over yayo any day--plus that was to go with the g unit theme dummy
  • sam on September 21, 2005 at 6:30 PM
    well sure ill take young buck over tony yayo... thats like taking kerrry over bush. neither of them are any good, but you know one is a heck of a lot better than the alternative.
  • cold on September 21, 2005 at 10:57 PM
    "sam :: 9/20/2005, 1:42 PM
    everyone likes toxic. everyone"

    This man speaks the truth.
  • G-Unit Is Cool on September 22, 2005 at 2:40 PM
    Yayo sucks, he should have stayed in jail.
  • sungri (View Email) on September 24, 2005 at 9:54 PM
    a little over-critical, but to borrow a line from the record, it is what it is.

    yayo's strictly average at best. The whole g unit appeal gets his him more nods.
  • Jack (View Email) on September 29, 2005 at 9:25 AM
    I agree with the album review but not on Yayo's ability as a rapper. Listen to him on his mixtapes, the Invasion series and the G Unit Radio series. He comes across as one of the best in G Unit here. I think since then he has fallen into believing his own hype - he was better with a little humility. Dont write him off though.
  • abby on October 3, 2005 at 1:15 PM
    wow.. yayo and his cd sound awful.. not that i would have bought it or anything..

    yayo must have some "unique characteristic." i mean.. he wouldn't get signed if he were lame.. would he..?

    maybe he would..
  • mothusi majoro (View Email) on October 6, 2005 at 1:11 PM
    not much to say but i must admit that you really don't like this guy.
  • OH ! on October 13, 2005 at 7:15 PM

  • BuX on November 14, 2005 at 7:40 PM
    Tony Yayo is by far the worst in G Unit he ruins great songs like So Seductive, which had a chance of being a amazing song, until yayo comes along with his voice and screws it up.
  • kenny (View Email) on December 6, 2005 at 7:07 PM
    That album is not great , but it's not awful , i think Yayo fell because he attempts to be too much like 50 cent. He's no lyrical giant but listent to '' live by the gun''. that is a real track , overall it's a 6 out 10
  • jamal abdul (View Email) on December 6, 2005 at 8:51 PM
    i'm a black wall street fan but i'll be real,yayo have a problem delivering his rhymes, the hype is not bad it's just the lirics and the way how he deliver it,it's wack. in mixtapes he's ok but he needs a long time in the underground world so he can improve him self.
  • izzNice (View Email) on August 28, 2006 at 4:10 PM
    Yayo's not bad.
    3.Yayo <---see
    somewhere lower. Spyda Loc
  • bcm (View Email) on February 10, 2007 at 2:24 PM
    4k all Yayo's haters
  • bcm (View Email) on February 10, 2007 at 2:35 PM
    yayo is the second in the g-unit after buck,all the rest are juncks,50is the worst
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