Bubblin’ in the bayous of Baton Rouge, La., for a few years, Trill Ent. was just another indie label with a local buzz until UGK cosigned them. By 2005, the whole country knew the crew’s name, as franchise player Webbie’s raunchy single “Give Me That” blew up and pushed his national debut, Savage Life, to over 300,000 units sold. After Web’s partner, Lil Boosie, kept the hit streak going with last year’s Bad Azz, the Trill Fam is ready to keep their movement moving with their latest compilation, Survival of the Fittest.
Loaded with in-your-face lyrics, the infectious lead single, “Wipe Me Down (Remix),” featuring Boosie, Webbie and newcomer Foxx, falls right in line with the crew’s crude reputation. “Materialistic Bitch” drives the we-don’t-give-a-fuck point home even further, as Soulja Boy, Lil Phat and Shell go on a “bitch” and “hoe” marathon. Whereas some of their inexperienced counterparts stumble with trite lines, surprisingly it’s Boosie and Webbie who carry the disc beyond mere cringe-worthy content.
On “Thug Me Like That,” Mr. Badazz plays lover-lover over producer Bruce Rome’s bluesy, George Benson–like strings, revealing why he treats the ladies so bad: “Heart broke at 14/That was way back/All the girls after that/It was straight payback.” The Trill boys even pull off a conceptual record, with the phone tap–esque “Say Round.” Then, in-house hitmaker Mouse provides the folksy strings of “Same Old Shit,” where Big Head spits, “Same cop, same cuffs and the same old wrists/Never fails, central bookin’ smell like the same old piss.”
Although Trill Fam infuses their music with enough swagger to make the records work, the overall vulgarity and rough edges of tracks like “Leave the Tags On” and “Watch My Shoes” derail any hope that the album will avoid clichéd pitfalls. On the Western guitar–laced “Swangin’,” Webbie defiantly declares, “Ol’ pussy-ass nigga, can’t you tell from my lyrics?/I’m what they call fierce, and ain’t none of this demerits.” Yeah, we can give him that. —JAYSON RODRIGUEZ