Review Summary: A surprisingly great album from a few nobodies transformed into stars.
If you've ever watched television in your life then you've probably heard of MTV. Well about 8 years ago the show Making the Band 2 was premiering. The outline for the show was rap mogul/entrepreneur Diddy trying to form a hip-hop group of nobodies and turn them into superstars. Auditions were held all over the country after about a year, 2 seasons, and fights almost every single day, Diddy finally found 6 people for his group. He transformed Chopper aka Young City, Fred aka Miami, Ness, Babs, Dylan, and Sarah from people nobody even knew about into big names in the hip-hop community. This album, Too Hot for TV
, was the first and only album Da Band was able to release before Diddy got fed up with them and ultimately disbanded the group.
This album doesn't stick to one style. That's apparent by the different sounds of each member of the group. First of all, Sarah is an R&B singer, Dylan sings in a reggae style, Ness has an extremely deep, almost Rick Ross-like voice, Babs is the only female rapper, Fred has a gritty, rough rapping style, and Chopper, being only 17 when this was recorded, has an almost childlike sound to him where you can tell he was extremely young. Each artist has time to show their abilities on pretty much every single track. Lyrical content on this album is mostly about struggles of life. How hard it is growing up in the ghetto and what you have to do to survive basically. This is most apparent on the chorus of Why with Fred rapping, "Why the devil keep on ***in' with me? Why he knockin' at my door? Why the devil keep on ***in' with me? Can you tell me what he huntin' me for, tell me what he huntin' me for." There's also some sexual songs thrown in of course, such as Tonight and I Like Your Style.
Production and the beats range on this album, but for the most part it has two particular styles. Either you have the beats that you can bob your head to and have a good time with and are more happy and "club" sounding, or you have the darker beats during the more gangsta and serious songs. The sex songs have slower R&B songs, and that's where Sarah really shines on the album. Either way, there's pretty much a good amount of variety within the beats and there's something for all fans to like here. You have your club banger type tracks with more hype beats such as Tonight and What We Gonna Do. There's also a track called Stick Up, that's basically Ness and Fred committing an armed robbery. Which continues the darker nature of the previous song, Why. So basically if you like club songs with a upbeat sound and also the classic gangsta tales of murder and turmoil, then chances are you'll find something to like on Too Hot for TV
One thing I would like to do is point out a few songs that go above and beyond and exceed all expectations. Livin' Legends and Why are by far the hardest hitting tracks on this album. First off, Livin' Legends is pretty much about all the things the members of the group had to do to get to where they are now. The track starts off with a sound of a blunt sparking up then Dylan says, "Yo, blaze the fire, watch the enemies crumble," and then the actual song starts. Babs lets you know you're in for it right away by saying, "Back and forth outta town gettin' that cash and niggas can't see Babs if you ain't lickin' my ass. One tough chick, my flow is not to be ***ed with, send the word out to them bitches that you run with." Pretty powerful opening lines that let you know what you're in for with the rest of the track. The beat on this track is a more hype, almost reggae-like beat that pretty much says "We're here and we aren't going anywhere." I'm not going to even point out the irony there. The other standout track, Why, is pretty much the opposite of Livin' Legends. This is an extremely dark and kind of depressing track. It tells the story of just the struggles and sins of every day life, like I mentioned earlier. The group spits about all the sins they've committed in their life, but are still blessed for the opportunity they've been givin from Diddy. Fred spits one of the most powerful lines of the track saying, "You think life's a joke I'll slice your throat. Oh you a thug? You about to get your rights revoked. I'm from the Dirty we don't even know the price of soap, I'm a star look in the sky you need a microscope." Basically saying some of the so-called "thugs" don't even really know about the hard times of growing up. Like I said before, this track is a whole lot darker and more sadistic than every other track and that's what makes it so powerful.
Overall, this is an album that a lot of hip-hop fans would probably be surprised by. For me, I first heard this album when I was 11 years old and didn't know *** about music. Now all these years later it's still a really great album and I think that says something about it's ability to stand the test of time. Most people would probably write this off just because it's coming from a group of people that Diddy just threw together for a television show. What you would be surprised to know is that everyone who is apart of this group is extremely talented and is worth hearing. Even though all of these people are unheard of today, with the exception of Chopper, the point is that they made one hell of an album in 2003 and it deserves to be listened to. If you're a fan of any kind of hip-hop you should give this album at least one listen. Who knows? You might find a hidden gem, which is exactly what Too Hot for TV