T-Pain’s record label Nappy Boy includes an interesting variety of talent that covers the scope of genres, ranging from R&B to rap to rock. But on their first collaborative mixtape, T-Pain Presents Nappy Boy All Stars, Vol. 1, the team unfortunately eschews an opportunity to mesh their musical multiplicity into an artistic blend, and instead rely heavily on terribly predictable themes and laughably bad lyricism.
It’s not that the NB artists fail from a lack of trying. It’s that each act—with the exception of the funky female R&B trio Sophia Fresh—squanders their moment to shine. On the emo effort, “Bad By Myself,” Travis McCoy discusses a toxic relationship by dropping cheesy lines like, “Last night, I dreamed, you were back on my team/And everything seemed so HD like a widescreen.” On the mellow “Cadillac Musik,” Florida rapper Young Ca$h spits generic rhymes about his pimped-out ride. Despite showing potential on the trippy “My Spaceship,” Florida crooner Tay Dizm resorts to creating cliché strip club anthems like, “The Way Your Body Moves.” Not even the label’s latest acquisition Shawnna saves the day. On her introduction, “Nappy Boy,” she manages to rap a lot without really saying much and without addressing her recent departure from Ludacris’ Disturbing Tha Peace.
There’s plenty of blame to go around, though, and T-Pain deserves his fair share, too. Rather than crafting catchy choruses, he spends his appearances curiously focused on proving he can do more than sing hooks. From the cringe-worthy NB remix to Drake’s “Forever,” where he jacks the Toronto MC’s flow, to Sophia Fresh’s “Already,” where he raps, “I’m an animal, tell me where PETA is!,” Pain’s rapping is downright painful. And it’s detrimental to the cause. For a crew that claims to “do it all,” it might be best for this collective to huddle up and rethink their strategy. —Chris Yuscavage