Ya Boy
The Fix 2

Beats: M
Lyrics: L
Originality: L

Since dropping his debut album, Rookie of the Year, in 2005, Bay Area rapper Ya Boy has released a handful of mixtapes, including 2007’s acclaimed The Fix. On the long-overdue sequel to that mixtape, The Fix 2, the San Francisco native tries to justify Akon’s recent decision to sign him to his Konvict Muzik record label with mixed results.

Though the novelty of being the young up-and-coming rapper in the Bay Area has worn off for YB, he still has the same charisma that made him so anticipated in the mid-2000s. On the energetic “So High,” he taps into his hyphy sensibilities to rep his region alongside E-40 and local rapper Beeda Weeda. On the bouncy Oddz N Endz-produced “Real One,” he makes a concerted effort to prove his realness by bragging about his street life as he swaps verses with Oakland rapper Yukmouth. And on the title track, Boy defiantly marks his territory by taking a swipe at other young rappers in Cali. “See, I sold dope and they sold hope,” he raps. “I was signed to the streets, they was signed to Interscope.”

Too often, though, YB relies on beats that are terribly overused at this point. From Snoop’s “I Wanna Rock” for “Rock Right Now” to Chris Brown’s “Transform Ya” for “Transformer,” the lifted tracks do little to help him stand apart from the younger generation of West Coast rappers. It’s not that he’s incapable of adding a witty twist to an already established hit, either. On clever remakes of Ke$ha’s “Tik Tok” (“The Hangover”) and David Guetta’s “Sexy Chick” (“2 Girls 1 Cup”), YB proves he’s certainly got plenty of personality to go around. If he would’ve tried to provide more of it here, TF2 would have provided a much stronger fix. —Chris Yuscavage