Cons: The older I get, the more aggravated I get with folks rapping about NOTHING. Old school rap used to really talk about issues in the community, in politics, and with substance, so on the song "Old School," Lyfe Jennings represents. Lyfe sings about the shame in people blowing up kids in buildings, credit card debt, gas prices going up, and issues that grown-ups trying to make it go through, and then here comes Snoop. For the life of me, I don't understand the appeal of this dude's rapping. If you ask him to create a freestyle without spelling his name and calling women out of their names, he'd barely have anything to talk about, and it bothers me because in interviews, Snoop seems like a really intelligent dude. However, did he even LISTEN to "Old School" before he did his freestyle? Snoop ruined the whole song talking about how valuable his car is, how somebody shouldn't spill crumbs in it, and volunteering to offer weed. Ugh! That really irritates me to dumb down an intelligent song like "Old School" with a bunch of nonsense. Lyfe, please look at somebody like Lupe Fiasco, Nas, Kanye West, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, or Rakim (where is he? I miss Rakim!) the next time you want to make a song like this.
Pros: Minus Snoop, I really enjoyed the imagery with "Old School." Not only did it make me hungry, but I sincerely appreciate artists who hit on relevant issues. Lyfe has such a beautiful and vulnerable voice. The entire album talked about some strong topics (ex. being tested for HIV/AIDS, the economy, religion, looking past the exterior of a person, poverty versus being spoiled, love and lust). I've seen Lyfe perform live at the Taste of Chicago, and although he can carry a concert as well as a CD all on his own, I can't be mad at him for putting impressive lyricist T.I. and one of my favorite emcees Wyclef on this CD, who stuck to the theme of the song.
Lyfe is already an attractive man, so when he makes songs directed to the ladies, there's an automatic smile on my face. It doesn't feel like he's gaming women or insulting them, and the gruff charisma in his style makes songs like "It's Real" even better. I turned that song way up, and it is officially my favorite: Boom boom chicky boom! The baby voice chorus was entertaining, but what I respected was him making a catchy song with a deeper purpose (being weary of your sexual activity). I'm SO glad he came to the music scene! Listening to him sing puts me in an excellent mood. For anybody who has not seen Lyfe live, please check him out. He had hundreds of people swaying back and forth and singing along to his every word, and Lyfe has not been out for a long time, so to do this is incredible. Couples were staring at each other all googly-eyed. Lyfe reminds me of a family picnic: comfortable and familiar.