Review Summary: Decent for what it is, but don't expect anything more.
So it’s come to this. The star of “Gucci Gucci” has returned with a full length album. How the heavens have blessed me this day. At the time of her hit single, I was one of the biggest critics of Kreayshawn. “Gucci Gucci” was a poorly structured, irritating, and horribly smug piece of work that was quoted more than Monty Python and the Holy Grail. But since then, my out look on Kreayshawn has changed quite a bit, and I see what she represents, and exactly where she fits in with the hip-hop world. So, how does her album hold up?
Before I really start with talking about the album, let’s put all of this into perspective. What would I really EXPECT from a Kreayshawn album? Am I expecting Illmatic? Absolutely not. Am I expecting a Marshall Mathers LP, or a My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy? No. I’m expecting a collection of songs that fit the role which Kreayshawn has put herself in. My standards for Kreayshawn are different because Kreayshawn is filling a niche which has never really been explored before in hip-hop. This post-Ke$ha era, mall girl rap. This is largely unexplored territory for this genre, and I’m all for expanding the boundaries of hip-hop as an art form. But does Kreayshawn really have what it takes?
Getting this out of the way, Kreayshawn is not a very good rapper. Let’s be honest, her flow leaves a lot to be desired, and she seems to have a steady BPM and rhyme scheme that she likes to rap with, no matter what the production of the song demands. But, there are moments when she can work within her beats to fill into her niche perfectly, an example being “Go Hard”, an immensely shallow song that’s made redeemable by production and uniqueness of Kreayshawns’ personality.
However, Kreayshawn can’t dodge bullets all the time. There are times where her refusal to switch flows is a large detriment to the song, with tracks like “Like It or Love It” which is an awesome fast-paced beat, but Kreayshawn is slower than a slug on it. Another similar situation is “Blase Blase”, Kreayshawn just can’t seem to get in touch with the production on these songs, and they come off as poorly executed.
If you’re someone who likes something based entirely upon lyrical content, there’s not a lot for you here. Kreayshawn is a shallow, two dimensional figure, who only even gets near three dimensions on songs like “BFF”, a poppy, out of place plead for friendship, which comes off as either somewhat or very depressing, depending on how cynical you are.
Kreayshawn only becomes tolerable if you’re willing to dispatch what you know about modern hip-hop and explore this interesting realm of Claire’s and Hollister that Kreayshawn represents. You can indulge yourself in the hilarious “Breakfast” (which I’m PRETTY SURE isn’t supposed to be taken seriously), have a bit of fun with the bouncy and catchy “K23YS0NIXZ”, or have a somewhat traditional Bay-area hip-hop experience with “Ch00K Ch00k”, mixed with Kreayshawns own flavor of course.
Unfortunately, Somethin’ ‘Bout Kreay becomes less enjoyable once you transition from the mall girl raps into the poppy, over produced tracks like “Luv Haus”, where Kreayshawns singing vocals throughout the entire song are so altered that she sounds like Microsoft Sam. Another example is “The Ruler”, which is still a hip-hop oriented track, but with a beat so poorly mixed, and so many mismatched sound effects it almost sounds like an amateur remix that would be posted by a 13 year old on YouTube.
Perhaps I’m making a mistake by judging this album based more so on Kreayshawn’s niche and personality than about the actual content. But something to note of her is this: Nothing about this album sounds like Kreayshawn was pushed away from her vision or that she sold out. Keep in mind Kreayshawn is on a major record label, but she still has managed to stick to her roots and deliver a product that was for her fans. She did not attempt to sway any non-believers, she knows that her market is a limited one, and she still wanted to create an album for her supporters and not abide by the industry standard of having to produce several major hit songs and obey the wills of the radio executives. Something to be admired, I think.
When all’s said and done, is Somethin’ ‘Bout Kreay good? Err, no. Although, for what I expected, there are some catchy and enjoyable songs here, and to be honest I’ll probably come back to this album more than I will an album like Cruel Summer, a package that was so dull and fragmented that it barely existed. I think you’ll have a unique listening experience with Somethin’ ‘Bout Kreay, but it definitely won’t be every ones cup of tea. I didn’t hate it, nor did I love it, but it seemed to be exactly the product Kreayshawn wanted to make, and that’s a good thing.