Paul Wall doesn’t make gangsta rap, and most probably wouldn’t call his music socially conscious, either. Instead, records like 2005’s “Sittin’ Sidewayz” and 2007’s “Break ’Em Off” earned the Houston rapper props for making feel-good songs best suited for sippin’ lean, ridin’ candy paint and chuckin’ deuces. On the basis of his third offering, Fast Life, it’s clear not much has changed, as Paul takes listeners on a high-speed ride through H-Town that’s filled with sex, drugs and hip-hop.
In true Swisha House fashion, the People’s Champ sounds best on bouncy tunes like the Fat Pat–guested “Got to Get It” and the infectious, Mouse-produced single “Bizzy Body,” featuring Webbie. “I Can Show You How,” though, finds Paul dropping elementary punch lines like, “My paint full of gloss, I floss/Drippin’ wet like a water hose… My steering wheel and side panels got more wood than the yard at Lowe’s.”
The album’s momentum begins to splinter further, as the Mac Dre–inspired “Pop One of These” and the repetitive two-bar loop of the braggadocious “Fly,” featuring Yung Joc and Gorilla Zoe, slow down the pace. Then, without warning, Paul shifts gears with “Girl Is On Fire,” his thinly veiled crossover concoction with Akon. Fortunately, he veers back on course with the album’s highlight, “Mama Raised Me,” where P-Dub channels the spirit of Tupac and opens up like never before: “My daddy was a fool, addicted to brown/So he never was around, but my mama held me down.”
What Paul lacks in substance, he makes up for with fun-loving, trunk-poppin’ anthems. Although his latest lacks the fuel for a full lap ’round the fast life, big homie can always just pump the brakes and drive slow.