After gaining regional acclaim with his 2005 disc, Son of a Pimp, Mistah F.A.B. became a hyphy poster boy. It wasn’t long before Atlantic Records came calling. But the Oakland raider’s major-label breakthrough recently hit a hurdle when his “Ghost Ride It” video was banned for illegally using the Ghostbusters logo. So with plan Atlantic on pause until things cool down, F.A.B. goes back to plan Bay and releases his latest indie effort, The Baydestrian.
F.A.B. never fails to provide color commentary on life in the O, especially on the Rob E–produced title track and the Messy Marv–guested “Crack Baby Anthem.” Sticking close to his roots, Da Yellow Bus Rydah pays tribute to his Thizz mentor, Mac Dre, on the slow-rolling “Furley Ghost.” Yet, while the music sounds solid, the headliner sometimes gets overshadowed by his elder statesmen. Spice 1 and Keak Da Sneak show Fabby Davis Jr. how to put the pedal to the metal on the hyperactive “Race 4 Ya Pink Slips,” while Too $hort takes the reins on the Traxamillion-helmed “Sideshow (Remix).”
Hyphy, however, is an acquired taste, and not every dose is fit for mass consumption. Cuts like the overaggressive “Fight Music” and the Ritalin-induced “Can’t Wait” will get lost on the casual listener—a fact F.A.B. accepts on the latter, spittin’, “A little futuristic, but pimpish/Only a few of you will get this/Some of y’all truly will miss this/But I better be on your No. 1 hit list.”
It’s when he steps outside his Bay boundaries that F.A.B. shows signs of living up to his boasts. Personal songs like the stormy “Life On Track” and “100 Bars,” a six-minute oratory on the African Diaspora, reveal an MC willing to bare his soul. The piano-drenched “Deepest Thoughts” sums up F.A.B.’s mind state best: “I pump love in my songs, you say I am hate/I am real, but still you say that I am fake/Sooner or later we realize I am great.”
—MAURICE G. GARLAND