TRILL/ASYLUM/ATLANTIC
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As Trill Entertainment’s first artist to break nationally, Webbie has had ample opportunity to blow. In 2005, his raunchy “Give Me That” picked up steam and led to the remix of “Bad Bitch” getting placed on the Hustle & Flow soundtrack. With two high-profile hits under his belt, the Baton Rouge rapper easily earned a gold plaque for his solo debut, Savage Life. But Webbie’s shine slowly dimmed as Trill attempted to turn the spotlight toward his label mate Lil Boosie. Now, after a three-year hiatus, Web goes for his once again with Savage Life 2.

Pussy and poignancy—those are the two extremes Webbie explores on his sophomore set. On the brash “Thuggin’,” Web uses his garbled Southern drawl to snarl, “Bitch, don’t tease me/If you come to my spot, is you fuckin’?/If you not, then you leavin’.” Then he manages to pen a cautionary tale to his son over producer B-Real’s synthesizer blurps for “Just Like Me” (“Chill, son/I’ma be real, son/I promise you only gonna live once/Puttin’ you onto game while ya still young”). Just as quickly, he transforms back to a bedroom bully for the hittin’-and-quittin’ ode “First Night,” before describing the negative aspects of rap stardom on “You a Trip.”

It’s mostly when Webbie fails to stick with a consistent topic that the album hiccups. Songs like the electric-guitar-powered “I’m Hot” and the finger-pointing “Y’all Ain’t Makin’ No Money” meander along without any real conceptual focus. Even though Mannie Fresh’s deep 808s and wailing guitars on the Young Dro–featured “I Know” are head-nod-inducing, there’s not much more to the subject matter than clichéd raps about Webbie’s wrists being so cold.

Luckily, the raunchy rapper finds his footing on “Missing You,” a heartfelt dedication to his girl that’s laid atop a familiar Lionel Richie sample—once again laying credence to the notion that Webbie has brief flashes of brilliance when he expresses himself without resorting to vulgarity. While Savage Life 2 sounds redundant at times, it’s the kind of ignorant shit you’ll love and can’t front on.—PAUL CANTOR