Saturday, July 24, 2010

5:01 Overtime (Review) - Laws

(All songs produced by J.U.S.T.I.C.E League unless noted)
1. Overtime | 4:07 | 3.5 - 3.75
Beyond me why they give someone not on their label such as Rick Ross excessively superior productions, rather than giving their main artist a rehashed Maybach Music (Ironic isn’t it?)
2. If I Could Change (Featuring Blazed) | 3 - 3.25 (Produced by The Kaliphat & Paperboy Fabe)
3. Hold You Down (Remix) (Featuring Emilo Rojas & Big K.R.I.T) | 3.75 - 4 (Produced by DJ Khalil)
Never knew Big K.R.I.T would sound comfortable in this kind of production.
4. Believer (Featuring Jason Caesar) | 4:33 | 3 - 3.25 (Produced by Da Honorable C.N.O.T.E)
5. Audio Savior | 3:19 | 3.5 - 3.75 (Produced by Illmind)
I have a lot of tough love for this song.
6. 5:01 Interlude | 1:07 | 3
7. Illumination | 1:57 | 3 - 3.25 (Produced by Benjamin Plant)
8. Number One (Featuring Jay Rock) | 3:42 | 3.5 - 3.75 (Produced by S-Type)
I love the way Laws starts out the third verse, one of my more favorite parts of the album.
9. Murder | 4:25 | 3 - 3.25 (Produced by Tn2 Productions)
10. This Is Me | 2:38 | 4 (Produced by L.A Da Craftzman & Feb. 9)
The beginning few seconds is my favorite part, though the production grows on you nicely.
11. Wall To Wall | 3:20 | 3 - 3.25 (Produced by Benjamin Plant)
The speech should’ve been put somewhere else, since the production doesn’t convince me.
12. Vintage Futuristic 2 (Featuring Funkghost) | 3:26 | 2.75 - 3 (Produced by M-Phazes)
13. Want It All | 2:57 | 4 (Produced by Feb 9)
Adore it when the production switches up to, “Ask about my race we gonna beef like bistroes....”
14. Flashback | 5:04 | 3.25 - 3.5
If anything is interesting, it’s the verses.
15. Shining | 4:23 | 3.75 - 4 (Produced by 9th Wonder)
16. My Chick (Featuring Don Primo) | 2.5 - 2.75 (Produced by Benjamin Plant)
17. Hustle (Featuring Mason Caine) | 3:22 | 3.25 - 3.75 (Produced by L.A Da Craftzman & Feb. 9)
Maybe I don’t take them seriously because of how the rappers sound. Catchy chorus though.
18. Colors (I Don’t Care) (Featuring Calvin Harris) | 2:51 | 3.75 (Produced by Calvin Harris)
“I rhyme up or whatever / Swing by the crib we could fuck or whatever.”
19. So Nice (Featuring Jason Caesar) | 3:09 | 4 (Produced by S1 & Caleb, co-produced by Apple Juice Kid)
20. We Like It | 3:46 | 3.25 - 3.5 (Produced by Da Honorable C.N.O.T.E)
21. Runaway | 3.75 - 4
Laws is quite a storyteller, like the fact that he gives more details than other rappers.

Overall Rating: 70.25 - 74.75 | 67 - 71% | 3.5 / 5 | Good; detracting problems; TRY IT

Mainly, the problem with Laws is the production that he chooses. Sure, he sounds comfortable on basically any production you give the kid, but that’s no excuse for the producers to give such dull, original beats. Producers such as Benjamin Plant, Da Honorable C.N.O.T.E, Tn2 Productions, M-Phazes, and even the ever-consistent J.U.S.T.I.C.E League really drop the ball here, giving dull, electronica-tinged production fronts. While that kind of production isn’t a crime, the way it’s presented makes me wonder what would happen if Laws recircuited better producers for the album.

However, not all the problems lie in the production, though that’s really the main issue that the rating detracts from. Laws is primarily a battle / punchline rapper as evidenced by many of the tracks here, and I completely understand if Laws tries to appeal to the mainstream or other groups, but when you have tracks such as Murder, or Hustle, it’s really hard to take Laws seriously, because Laws sounds rather uncomfortable in these kinds of songs, and his voice on these songs doesn’t help matters either. Of course, the mainstream Laws has to be explored also, and while songs such as My Chick and Vintage Futuristic 2 are admirable attempts, they come off as another typical attempt in the end.

Yet, I still previously stated that I still appreciate the energy that Laws brings to the tables. Consistency is brought on with tracks like the fan-favorite Hold You Down (Remix), which has a double-timed Emilio rapping for his life, Big K.R.I.T sounding consistent as usual, and also a rejuvinated Laws attacking the wailing, guitar influenced production of the quickly rising DJ Khalil. Songs such as Audio Savior, Number One, Runaway or Shining show that Laws is definitely not someone to ignore in the long run. While Audio Savior and Number One are mostly the boasting and bragging topics that Laws tends to discuss, Shining is an interesting 9th Wonder production that allows Laws to reflect upon him “shining” in the music industry. Runaway talks about an unnamed breakup that Laws had, describing the journey ever so vivid.

There are also tracks which I appreciate, which are the actual legitamite mainstream attempts, which are the Calvin Harris produced synths track of finding women in different colors, or the typical Laws boasting track of So Nice, with personal favorite producers S1 & Caleb, and added with a little go-go flavor from Apple Juice Kid.

However, my favorite songs on the album were definitely the songs that were produced by L.A Da Craftzman and Feb. 9, two unknown producers who prove their worth to Laws. As a duo, they produced Hustle & This Is Me, with This Is Me becoming a crazy helter-skelter rolling drums track, allowing Laws to represent himself. Feb. 9 also provides a solo track upon his own, with a conga, strings drowning type of track, which is quite intoxicating.

The question of whether the wait for 5:01 Overtime was actually worth it, and I believe it was. While you’re not exactly getting a true sequel to the original 4:57, you’re getting a couple of nice listenable extras, mostly the Hold You Down (Remix) in a nice album form, and tracks you’re left to determine whether it’s discarded or kept. Besides, this tape isn’t in the DJ version, eliminating the useless Rock and Roll Survival track that existed before, and the Don Cannon drops.

From what I see about Laws, there are many quirky element that he shows.

Laws is a rapper that needs to have the right elements to make himself appeal to the mainstream. I was recently watching a quick freestyle he put out a couple of days before this came out, which was Last Day (Pharcyde Freestyle) where Laws literally described the last day of work on the classic Passing Me By track. I kept on listening to that specific track, because it showed that Laws could actually tell a story, and also proved me something else. Laws is someone that should be listened in burst intervals, not because he’s a bad rapper, but his whole persona tends to get dull after a while. Yet, that shouldn’t be a reason that you shouldn’t listen to this original album. Laws is definitely someone that I’ll be looking out for in the future, however he must fix his flaws.

However, these are one of the rare times I wish I seriously could’ve given this album a higher rating, because I still appreciate Law’s evergoing charisma, as he is constantly adapting to every track he goes on, whether it be electronica, rock, or hip hop based production.

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