The New Boyz are just having fun. Fresh out of high school, the California duo, consisting of Legacy and Ben J, made their mark with the chart-topping dance single “You’re a Jerk” in the spring of 2009. Produced by Legacy, the song was inspired by the old-school dance craze jerkin’, formerly associated with the West Coast’s notorious gang culture. But on their debut album, Skinny Jeans & a Mic, the New Boyz keep it light.
The party starts with the laugh-out-loud “Way 2 Many Chickz,” where Legacy clowns his less-than-desirable female conquests (“Every time it got loud she would sneak a little fart/She passed so much gas she could make a car start”). The comedy continues on songs like the booty ode “Bunz” and “Cashmere,” where the two friends battle for a single girl’s affection, but the Boyz get a bit more serious on the fashion-conscious “Colorz.” On it, Ben J does take a swipe at Chicago’s The Cool Kids, when he spits, “Everyone wanna rock the New Boyz style/Even The Cool Kids wanna be the New Boyz now.”
Surprisingly, the LP highlights some unexpected lyrical talent, but it lacks sonic variety. The disc is split into two types of songs: drum-heavy, 808-driven dance tracks and slow, sultry R&B joints, like “No More.” While “New Girl” and “One Night” give the youngsters a chance to showcase their softer sides, the Ray J–assisted “Tie Me Down” draws from the oft-used Auto-Tune well yet still manages to give off an enjoyable, summery vibe.
Sure, purists can hate on the YouTube-ready dance moves and kiddie approach, but an alternative to all of the game’s meanmugging isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Skinny Jeans & A Mic is no hip-hop classic, but rather the breath of fresh air rap needs. ——JONNY ALVAREZ