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Plies:Da REAList

(Big Gates/Slip-N-Slide/Atlantic)

While most of rap’s new generation have been collecting copper in the sales department, Plies’s Midas touch has been something to marvel at. After his 2007 debut, The Real Testament, sold over 500,000 copies, the Fort Myers, Florida, native promptly returned, 10 months later, with his 2008 sophomore LP, Definition of Real. Off the strength of saucy R&B singles like the Ne-Yo–assisted “Bust It Baby Pt. 2” and the mischievous “Please Excuse My Hands,” Plies’s second effort earned him not only another gold plaque, but also a reputation as a bankable hip-hop artist. Continuing to get while the getting’s good, the self-proclaimed goon drops his third disc in 16 months, Da REAList.

There are two sides to Plies, and he pulls them both off well. On the one hand, he’s all about paper, pussy and posturing. For example, “Fuck U Gon’ Do Bout It” finds him in the club, drunk as fuck, pistol in his pocket, acting a damn fool over a belligerent track aimed to get thugs on the dance floor. The same goes for the Drumma Boy–produced “Plenty Money,” a self-explanatory ode to outrageous ballin’, and “Make a Movie,” the album’s most energetic selection.

Then there’s Plies’s deeper side, which doesn’t show up on the Billboard charts. Revealing a gangster’s vulnerability, Plies pleads with God to bless his closest relatives, on “Family Straight.” Over introspective keys, Plies laces the song’s heartfelt hook with poignant prose (“Grandma on a kidney machine, she done lost all her weight/My auntie got AIDS, she’s starting to lose her faith”). Rising from bended knee, he redirects his anger toward an unbalanced judicial system, threatening to sentence the judge’s kids and watch them beg for life, on “2nd Chance,” before toasting would-be convicts who got off scot-free, on “Gotta Be.”

With its multifaceted palette, Da REAList is not without its faults. “All Black” finds Plies in full goon glory (“Put on a black tee, took off that Polo, man/Try to slide on me and I’ma spray your ass“), but his tough talk gets tiresome, with only a sparse 808 drumbeat backing him. The repetitive “I Chase Paper” seems to retread a well-traveled path, and the album’s first single, “Put It on Ya,” is a bit of a letdown, as well. Not as catchy as “Bust It Baby Pt. 2,” and far less memorable than ’07’s T-Pain collabo “Shawty,” the latter track ultimately falls victim to the high standards set by Plies’s previous work. Luckily, the rapper redeems himself alongside R&B crooner Sean Garrett on the sultry “Street Light,” using his signature Southern drawl to lure lovelies and make words rhyme that ordinarily wouldn’t (“Jeans sticking to her, pussy look right/She get in this whip, it ain’t no coming back”).

Not since DMX has a rapper put out three solid LPs in such a short time, so the goon makes good on a tall order. In addition to delivering a slew of radio-ready singles and sexed-up songs, Plies offers substantial selections (like the politically charged “Pants Hang Low” and the industry fuck-off “Heard of Me”). Da REAList, while not perfect, might be his best album yet, as he remains diverse and simultaneously satisfying to his core fan base. As long as Plies continues to keep it all the way real, his gold accolades have the potential to one day turn platinum. —PAUL CANTOR

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  • What the ?

    XL ? wow XXL magazine is loosing credibility on this one.

    • Riles

      Might I remind you they gave an XL to fuckin HURRICANE CHRIS! The credibility has been lost.

    • joe p

      plies sucks dick … no respect for him at all … detroit p and midwest ressurrection ur both dumb as shit lol he sounds like and illiterate idiot

    • joe p

      and personally i never listened to his album at all cause all these stupid dirty south idiots are poppin up like pimples … terrible

  • What the ?

    Please don’t compare Plies to DMX in his prime, thank you.

  • fastflipper

    plies is not bad.beside all hid b.s. about being a goon he make somes goods tracks….and you got to respect his hustle

  • Detroit P

    I agree with this review..the rest of yall should listen before yall even comment..the person who actually listened to the CD(especially more than once..and really listened to it not just heard some of the tracks play in the background while u were doin somethin else) has more credibility than the person who didnt and is just talkin shit..it is his best album so far..the first one was kinda sucky to me, but the second was solid, and this one was pretty good

  • midwest_ressurrection

    detroit p, ur an embarassment to detroit for liking plies. ive never understood how anyone likes this guy. one of his “best” songs, bust it baby pt.2, is some of the worst rapping ive heard on a radio single, and thats saying something. i would listen to rick ross in a second over plies, and rick ross is pretty terrible. plies even makes jeezy look like a lyrical genius.

    • http://yahoo.com Lil Monski

      midwest_ressurrection is so damn dumb real talk for hatin’ on Plies. Plies is one of the realest artist in hip hop since 2pac he’s all for his people & isn’t scared to speak the muthafuckin’ truth ’bout the government & anything else he speaks about real topics & for him to hate is just so fuckin’ stupid. But all of Plies albums are classics to me big up to the homie Plies even if bitch niggas don’t appreciate what he doin’

      • http://www.xxlmag.com/?p=35025 Romeo

        PLEASE!!! Do not compare Plies in any way shape or form to Tupac Shakur. The only people that should be allowed to be in the same breath, on the same page, or in the same sentence with Tupac is Notorious B.I.G., Nas, Jay-Z, Eminem, Ice Cube, Rakim, and KRS-One, that’s it, no one else until the next several echelon’s of rappers. No disrespect intended, but Lil Monski, you are so damn dumb, real talk for even putting those two names in the same comment. Don’t get me wrong, Plies is awwwight, but COME ON!!!

  • John Cochran

    I agree wit Detroit, if you listen to him you’d see he’s one of the few out now thats tries to make well rounded albums. just look at wayne and ye. Ye’s album was dookie, aint nobody ridin around to that. And wayne, it aint one song on his album that meant anything. Plies is ridin music. alot of yall wouldnt no what that is cause yall in front of the computer all day, and aint got a car.

  • Rob the Music Ed

    Ok how many of ya’ll actually listened to the album?
    Once, Twice, alrighty then!

  • What the ?

    “Ok how many of ya’ll actually listened to the album?
    Once, Twice, alrighty then!”

    That’s the point homeboy, anybody that doesn’t catch the lyrics the first round is already half retarded, and if your dumb enough to listed to it twice than that would be considered fully retarded.

  • StreetTalk83

    Hip-Hop is dead!!!!

    “Not since DMX as a rapper put out 3 solid LP’s”?????????????? This nigga ain’t put out 1 solid LP! What the fuck is going on? Who’s paying these niggas off to say some shit like this?

  • RD

    I hated this one, it deserves an s or ass, Plies cant rap for his fuckin life and you cant understand what hes fuckin saying cuz he doesnt know how to even fuckin talk

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