Fashawn's debut album Boy Meets World is a gift for someone like me who only likes a handful of hip-hop artists and continuously finds himself turned off by so often dumbed down lyrics or songs with so little to say. Not to pretend like Fashawn doesn't occasionally reference "bitches" or occasionally brag, but this album, most of all, is introspective and honest.
As the title and the cover art indicate, the album is, more or less, about Fashawn growing up. As rap albums tend to do, this one starts off with an "Intro" which starts out as a sort of skit before Fashawn more or less quickly raps out an explanation of his life. Next "Freedom" bounces between Fashawn stating that he "should be in the pen for all [he] did" and rapping "conflict, diamonds, the world is cold." The track after, "Hey Young World" starts off with a much softer beat. "Stars" is another fairly positive song, with the focus turned from the audience to Fashawn, opening with "When I was young I figured if I became the stars / Maybe they wouldn't seem so far / Maybe I wouldn't dream as hard" and eventually ending with a fairly immature skit of a teacher getting upset about Fashawn throwing something in class. "Life as a Shorty" is a song about Fashawn's upbringing that included a number of father figures, being poor and getting into fights with lines like "I called them all daddy / Even though they didn't have me / Kids used to make fun of my clothes / Until one of them got punched in the nose / Kind of like I was forced to be tough / Llife as a shorty shouldn't be so rough."
"The Ecology" has more of a standard rap beat than the previous three tracks and moves its focus onto society with socially aware lyrics. Dilated People's Evidence guests on the next song, "Our Way." The song has a fairly standard beat and fairly standard topics that include braggadocio, numerous references to California and Evidence even makes a very dated reference to MySpace. Following it is "Why" and, with it, we are back to less standard beats and, as the title might indicate, introspection. Fashawn raps "It is 2009 / Gotta think smarter / Stop being baby daddies / And be fathers." "Samsonite Man" is probably the poppiest song on the album and it's a tour song.
"Sunny CA" is another song that gets boastful about being from California, and to match the attitude, it has a fairly standard rap beat. The song ends with a skit/conversation between Fashawn and producer Exile about Exile wanting to rap on the album, so the next song "Bo Jackson" features Exile rapping. The song has a pretty bouncy beat, but the lyrics seem like more of an experiment between friends of how well they can just rap back and forth without more of a focus than promoting themselves. "Lupita" is a song about a girl "at school". Strangely, compared to the ego shown on some other songs, the song mentions being in "the friend zone" and ends with someone playing Lupita, saying "Maybe if you were taller." The following track is drastically less upbeat; "When She Calls" makes references to walking in on a girlfriend cheating and attempting suicide when his mom calls and changes his mind. The song starts out being rapped in first person before the second verse changes to third person so it is unclear who it is about. The song goes onto Fashawn rapping about the cheating woman finding out her (ex)lover committed suicide. Overall, while a somewhat surprising subject, it is an enjoyable song, but the changes between the verses make it a bit too confusing.
The final track of the album is entitled "Boy Meets World" and, at 10 minutes long, it is two songs--one that sort of sums up his time growing up and before the song winds down and changes to a completely different, much simpler, less bouncy beat and Fashawn turns political with lines like "They got us overseas / Killing people that bleed / The same color as your brother / But we're too blind to see." Finally, the song turns into a "thank you" list done over another beat.
While it isn't the greatest album I've ever heard and it is definitely a little uneven, I don't like too many hip-hop or rap albums so I'll take what I can get. Also of note is that Fashawn recorded this at 20-years-old so I can see him having a flourishing music career if he continues down this path. No matter, this is a promising debut album.
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