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Dec. 7, 2005

Juelz Santana: "Oh Yes"

by Abe Schwadron, Online Managing Editor
Since the explosion of hip-hop music in the last decade, every decent MC with a listening audience has made the claim that he or she is the best. In today's rap "game," arrogance and over-the-top self-hype is common among rappers, who boast their heaps of bling, excessive cash and harems of women. Nevertheless, for a rapper like Juelz Santana to claim that he is the missing link in all of hip-hop music, he has to be one cocky fella.

Santana (no relation to the legendary latin guitarist) is the charismatic and bandana-wearing member of the Harlem rap group Dipset (also known as The Diplomats), who recently released his sophomore album, "What the Game's Been Missing." Featuring guest appearances from fellow Diplomats Cam'ron, Hell Rell and Jim Jones as well as rappers Lil' Wayne, Young Jeezy and Sizzla, the album nearly lives up to its title.
Dipset's Juelz Santana proves his potential with his latest release, "What the Game's Been Missing."
Dipset's Juelz Santana proves his potential with his latest release, "What the Game's Been Missing."

Overall, Santana's creativity and cleverness shines on the album, although the 21-track adventure is clogged by several tracks' worth of filler material with typical Dipset themes, such as "Clockwork," "Freaky" and "Kid is Back." Juelz's unique style of wordplay, punchlines and repetition is unfortunately sometimes overshadowed by the gangster image of The Diplomats, but his loyalty does produce strong emotions on his best tracks, which include the reggae-infused "Shottas" and "Murda Murda," which recycles the infamous sample from Damian Marley's "Welcome to Jamrock."

Santana's album opens with "Rumble Young Man Rumble," which immediately sets the tone for the album, announcing Santana's loud and authoritative presence over a rock-inspired beat. Santana tells the listener through a series of barks that he was taught to be a gangster "in the concrete jungle" as a young man, and the remainder of the album supports this statement. "Oh Yes" samples the MoTown classic "Please Mr. Postman" by the Marvelettes in a head-bopping loop that exhibits Santana's versatility and ability to adapt to beats.

Although the album opens with three solid tracks, Santana trips up by inserting a double-dose of boredom in the form of "Clockwork" and "Kill 'Em," two lyrically sub-par songs with annoying and repetitive beats.

Santana rhymes over a mellow piano and flute on "This Is Me." The song, in which Santana finally slows down his flow, is the first in which he brings his emotions to the table. He even gets a little political, commenting on the state of the streets. In "Whatever U Wanna Call It," Santana again tries his unsteady hand at political lyricism, rapping, "We need to have a million man march again/ We need to have a million men march up-in/ The white house start a million man argument/ Like, Bush why a million men starving then?"

But Santana is neither Kanye West nor Talib Kweli, and his commentaries seem hypocritical when he has tracks entitled "I Am Crack," "Kill 'Em" and "Gangsta [Expletive]." Another example of such hypocrisy is "Make It Work For You," featuring Weezy and Jeezy, a similarly cocky duo with distinctive flows. Each rapper flexes his lyrical muscles on the track, while giving the listener a disturbingly detailed how-to on making crack and hustling. The similar styles of Juelz and Jeezy make Lil' Wayne's verse sound corny, as his raps go downhill from the moment he rhymes "pamper" with "hamper."

Santana storytelling ability shines on "Lil Boy Fresh" and "Gone," similar to rap stories like Slick Rick's "Children's Story" and Common's "Testify." When Santana is allowed creative control of such tracks, he can produce great music. But his membership with the Dips occasionally stifles his skills.

The album's most commercialized and radio-friendly track, "There It Go (The Whistle Song)," seems out of place and out of character for Santana, although it is a reminder of his versatility and originality. Often compared to the Ying Yang Twins' "Whisper Song," the track is perfect for dancing, but confusing on an album marked by gangster-ism.

"Daddy" loops Aerosmith's "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing" over a mellow piano and chronicles Santana's love and for his two-year-old son. The track, similar to The Game's "Like Father, Like Son," is a refreshing change from Santana's fierce lyrics in other tracks, as Santana promises to keep his kid's best interests at heart. "Mic Check" helps the album end on a high note. The song, by far Santana's best display of imaginative lyricism on the album, is both creative and club-worthy. Backing up the album's title, Santana rhymes, "I'm so close to perfection/ Rap's one big casino/ I'm plottin' Ocean's Eleven."

Santana's storytelling, creativity and cunning lyrics on the album prove that with proper direction and seamless production, he has the potential to be a force in the rap game. But if Cam'ron and Dipset force the gangster image on him and do not allow Juelz the space to control his own personality, he will be doomed to monotony. Santana hasn't yet proved that he is the rapper poised to fill the void in hip-hop music, though he is definitely a key piece of "What the Game's Been Missing."



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  • shish kabob on December 7, 2005 at 3:10 PM
    yo i got that CD yesterday. omg i swear juelz is tha ish now!
  • zip on December 7, 2005 at 4:37 PM
    "I was taught b hard don't fumble, rumble young man rumble."
  • sara (View Email) on December 19, 2005 at 12:44 PM
    wat up yall, tha name is sarah n i like this new hits of juelz santana oh yes. hes back lookin sexy . love yall merry xmas n happy new years!!!!!!!!!!
  • shanazz (View Email) on December 19, 2005 at 8:19 PM
    Actually, Lil' Wayne rhymed "wrapper" with "pamper," not that it really makes a difference. The album is hot, but I think Santana's "Back Like Cooked Crack 3: Fiend Out" (which is a mix cd) is a lot better.
  • Martina (View Email) on December 22, 2005 at 9:01 AM
    JUELZ SANTANA IS THE HOTTEST GUY IN THE WORLD AND HIS RAP GAME IS TIGHT!
  • Cipherr (View Email) on December 22, 2005 at 2:53 PM
    DipSet All Day Everyday!!!
  • brenton (View Email) on December 22, 2005 at 5:09 PM
    Da CD is mad crazy everybody should get da album What Da Games Been Missing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • tahiyyah (View Email) on December 23, 2005 at 11:28 AM
    its dip-set alllllllllday baby ahha u knw

    (eastwick)
    santana ur my boo aiight i luv u oh yeah i like that song that u just made oh yes clock work.
  • Erika (View Email) on December 23, 2005 at 9:50 PM
    Tha cd is hot and Juelz is hot dats mah baby dipset alllll day u already kno
  • Erika (View Email) on December 28, 2005 at 10:53 AM
    yo this CD is hot son Juelz mah baby aways
  • NEELI (View Email) on January 4, 2006 at 11:23 AM
    There is nothing wrong w/being confident. Juelz is comfortable w/what he is about so he expresses that lyrically. So what if he rhymes wrapper w/hamper. Outcast sold a million records about Roses smelling like BOO BOO! - Keep on doing what u do.
  • Hannah French (View Email) on January 9, 2006 at 2:39 PM
    Juelz has his own style that make you want to nod your head to his spectactular beats. He has his own flow that most of the wrappers can't follow behind. The song title (oh yes) is the best that i have ever heard in my life also (tic toc) has a great flow that no other rapper can't touch.
  • Sassy (View Email) on January 10, 2006 at 6:33 PM
    Santana is the best out ain't nobody doing it like him. DIPSET All DAY EVERYDAY. You know how we do. A!
  • Ashley Rivas (View Email) on January 12, 2006 at 1:52 PM
    I love the new album it's HOT!!!!
  • tia jones (View Email) on January 13, 2006 at 9:21 AM
    hey watz up you are so fine with those dimples I like that song oh yes and clockwork do it big yo number one fan!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Milez (View Email) on January 20, 2006 at 2:03 PM
    Yo your cd is official tissue. hit me up one
  • scarlett (View Email) on January 21, 2006 at 10:26 AM
    hey juelz i really want ur song
    oh yes can u play it i really want
    to hear it
  • Jazzy (View Email) on January 22, 2006 at 4:21 PM
    I love Juelz
  • Jonte (View Email) on January 25, 2006 at 11:37 AM
    Juelz is the realist rapper alive.
  • aiesha (View Email) on January 25, 2006 at 6:18 PM
    santana us off the chain 4 real he is soo fine too "a"!
  • LIsa (View Email) on February 3, 2006 at 5:02 PM
    juelz is the best person and he is my husband "i love u juelz"
  • Lisa (View Email) on February 3, 2006 at 5:05 PM
    juelz santana is the finest person ever you have the cutest dimples
  • tabitha (View Email) on February 6, 2006 at 1:23 PM
    what's up my baby santana holla at cha gurl
  • Ms.J. Santana (View Email) on February 11, 2006 at 11:21 PM
    Juelz, i luv ya. u so fine,sexxxxxy hot n cute. i luv ur sexy dimples on ur sexxxxxxyyy face. luv ya

    Luv: Da naxt Ms.J Santana

    P.S ur music is hotttttt. its off da chain


    Bi Sexxxxxxxxy!!!!!!!!!!! All u otha gurls betta bac off my man!!! Im da future Ms.Juelz Santana So back of
  • ?????????????? (View Email) on February 16, 2006 at 8:11 PM
    I LOVE YOU !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Kalamity (View Email) on February 16, 2006 at 9:25 PM
    One of the rawest intros I've heard in a long time. Also dope Mr. Postman and Aerosmith cuts.
  • Kiera (View Email) on February 28, 2006 at 3:41 PM
    I love ya mr. Juelz Santana. If u ask me if I love u, imma say oh yes
  • johnny v (View Email) on March 9, 2006 at 8:26 AM
    Juelz Santana,reallest rapper..always in heavy rotation...R.I.P Josue Marrero(cuz-o) Money Power Respect! !A!
  • a real somebody on March 10, 2006 at 9:56 AM
    How can yall listen to him and even began to say that he is even close to the best out. His cd was aight, production wise and sometimes lyrically, but is flow is "BUSH" sometimes. This is a rap cd that i could fall asleep on easily...

    STAMP!!
  • Theo Giles aka Ja'Lin (View Email) on March 21, 2006 at 5:46 PM
    anyway tha album was gangsta it had me bouncing my head threw out tha hole album it was crazy to me B I'm always a Juelz fan ever since he came up I read about him and watch him on tv like he says but my favorate is Shoottas and murda murda though Na I mean but it was gangsta dip-set to tha fullest Ahhhhhhhh I'm out
  • Niqua (View Email) on March 24, 2006 at 12:49 PM
    I really like you and All the cd you came out with but now I trying to get back like cooked crack3 fiend out and I just want to say I love all yalll
  • Jasmine (View Email) on March 28, 2006 at 8:21 AM
    i like you juelz santana you r so sexy
  • tolu (View Email) on April 3, 2006 at 12:39 PM
    Juelz santana i luv ur music u r 1 of my best fan juelz can u send me ur music so i can watch
  • dean (View Email) on April 7, 2006 at 11:28 AM
    go dipset DIIIIIIIIIPSSSSSEEEEEEEET
  • ms.santana (View Email) on April 28, 2006 at 11:50 AM
    You are cute and I love you
  • DLSpada4 (View Email) on May 21, 2006 at 7:25 PM
    Clockwork is the best beat on the album!!!!!
  • nisha (View Email) on June 7, 2006 at 4:07 PM
    to juelz santana is the finest rapper out there yo he is my baby you if you read this holla at me
  • Juelz son ya know wat i mean (View Email) on October 1, 2006 at 2:57 PM
    yo juelz is that dude he spit wat ever he feel
  • i`esha (View Email) on January 11, 2007 at 11:16 AM
    omg juelz is so fine. he is the best rapper aliive. this my boy. =]
  • Yardii Gurl on April 18, 2007 at 10:09 AM
    yo i may be mad late writing somethin' but oh well but you cant hate on a dude who speaks the truth. he gonna do what he want no matter what anybody say he gonna speak his mind


    mush luv
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