Review Summary: Out of respect, cause I know: you that nigga/I'm not gonna kill you - yo Deez, shoot that nigga
Jay-Z is probably a complete asshole in person. Because of the amount of people he’s dumped, ties he’s broken, ect. make him seem like a gigantic jerk, it almost eclipses how good of an MC he was on Reasonable Doubt, Blueprint, and The Black Album. What’s the reason for mentioning this? Well, Sauce Money is without a shadow of a doubt the most talented rapper to come from Jay’s crew, and then get dropped off soon after people noticed his talents. Sauce Money is known in the same sense as Rhymefest, a lyricist who won a Grammy before they even released an album, but when their albums came out they were ignored and practically shunned. The only difference between the two is that Sauce Money, despite his silly name, is the better MC by a large margin and his debut Middle Finger U proves it.
Sauce Money’s style is easy to describe and is relatively simple in comparison to some more complicated MC’s, but it works more often than not. Sauce’s flow screams Reasonable Doubt-era Jay-Z, especially on “Intruder Alert”, in which Sauce’s flow emulates Jay-Z magnificent conversational flow on “Friend or Foe”, and it meshes perfectly with a Premier instrumental of the same caliber, whose nice use of sampled funky horns and RZA vocals in the chorus proves once again why Premier is considered one of the best producers in hip hop. Sauce’s flow is almost all Jay-Z, but his lyrics are more diverse in comparison, they are more Jay-Z with a Redman-like sense of humorous punch lines. Lyrics on songs like “For My Hustlaz”, despite the embarrassing hook and slight mainstream posturing, manages to sound pretty sweet every time Sauce goes to writing punch lines “Insecure artists pay me not ta spit/Show me fake love and then try ta fly if they hit/They could feel it in they bones, cuz when I drop my ***/All hell’ll break loose, that’s how hot I get”.
Despite his lyricism, however, there are a lot of people who are trying to ruin this album from being any good. Despite Puff Daddy’s awful recitation of his ghost written lyrics, uncessary hook, and glitchy poppy instrumental that sounds a little uncomfortable, Sauce Money manages to make “Do You See” not completely terrible, even decent at times, due to his experienced flow and lyricism. “C My 1’s” and “What We Do” both feature horrible rappers, “C My 1’s” has a female rapper that actually makes me wish Foxy Brown appeared on Middle Finger U, and “What We Do” features the awkward, thirty-year-old-still-going-through-puberty Memphis Bleek with a flow that is as loud and obnoxious as it usually is.
But even with these misfaults, the instrumentals usually sound pretty damn good, which certainly helps. Sauce proves that he rides best over rough distorted guitar-driven rap tracks like the majestic “For My Hustlaz”, the more laid-down and mainstream approach of “Middle Finger U”, and the Pro Tool’s-like repetitive minimalistic nature of “What’s That *** That”, but he does well over just about any instrumental. Most of the instrumentals here, everything from the gospel-like organs in the chorus of “Chart Climbin”, the Follow My Leader-esqe use of haunting samples on the ultimate Jay-Z and Sauce Money trade-off track “Pre-Game”, the sentimental ode to Sauce’s mother “Section 53, Row 78”, all the way to the dream-like soothing funk of “What We Do”, is like a comfortable counch for the class clown to lie down and crack jokes on while watching TV, and when a class clown has a good couch, his jokes sound even FUNNIER.
Sauce Money’s album has flaws; he even gets out-shined by his brotha Jay-Z on “Pre-Game”, especially the true-at-the-time-but-probably-not-now statement “What your album lacks is more Jay-Z”. Although the amount of Jay guest appearances are fine here, but more involvement from Jay-Z and Roc-a-Fella would’ve probably made Sauce Money a more exposed name in the industry. But then again, Jay’s has notoriety for hanging out with weaker rappers, and if Sauce Money honed his skills like what he’s trying to do here, then he would be a stronger rapper than Jay is…
And we can’t have that? CAN WE?!