Review Summary: BrokeNCYDE's bad habits, it appears, Will Never Die
Around a year ago, BrokeNCYDE released an album that seemed to point them in the right direction. It was an album that actually had a theme and developed a musical identity instead of just being an hour of misguided screams and wafer-thin beats. That album, Will Never Die, irritated some, but intrigued others. It signaled a change away from their ‘crunkcore’ roots and moved them more in the direction of the hip-pop sound that’s found on their most recent effort, Guilty Pleasure.
After hearing Guilty Pleasure, It is apparent that Will Never Die will remain the diamond in the rough of BrokeNCYDE’s discography. Every single negative thing that one can find to say about BrokenCYDE-- the bad beats, the immature lyrics, the lack of contribution from multiple members-- is once again apparent on this album with one exception. This exception is the harsh vocals that were once so liberally scattered across the songs have now been all but eliminated from the band’s sound. This removal brings us the lone breath of fresh air on Guilty Pleasure. Pretty much the rest of the album is ripe with criticisms to be made. The vocals are laden in autotune in the worst way possible. While autotune was used to its full potential on Will Never Die, which was mainly to provide flavor to otherwise bland choruses, it returns in full force on Guilty Pleasure. Even some of Se7en’s raps receive the voice-altering treatment, which is rather distasteful. Attempts to disrupt the pattern of blandness, such as a guest appearance from bedazzled rapper Paul Wall, only serve as gimmicks that do more harm than help. It is apparent that the pattern of musical obscenity that BrokeNCYDE established five years ago is going to take more than one fluke to break.
But perhaps what this record shows us about BrokeNCYDE is where their talent actually lay in the first place. By isolating the hip-hop element, BrokeNCYDE show on this record that it was actually the ‘crunk’ part of ‘crunkcore’ that they didn’t have a handle on. Antz’s beats are as stale as month old tortilla chips, and the lyrics are about as half-baked as those stale chips. The topics center on their usual topics of choice—sex, drugs, and rock & roll—but represent these mature topics in a particularly juvenile way. It’s like listening to a teenager tell the story of their first encounter with marijuana: so chock full of ideals and fantasies regarding the drug that it’s impossible to take the thoughts seriously. This paradigm continues when you hear Mikl singing about sexual encounters but are so distracted by boring details about getting the ‘honeys’ to disrobe that you don’t really care, no matter how cool the story is. Unfortunately, in the case of Guilty Pleasure, the stories are both boring and over-done.
Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. BrokeNCYDE may have fooled me into thinking that they were heading in the right direction last year, but have proven to me that they couldn’t possibly continue the progression. At the end of the day, the band is too immature to grace our presence with music that merits listening to. Another step towards the pop genre seemed to be the natural progression for BrokeNCYDE, but progression requires a certain baseline of maturity; and at the end of the day, this band just isn’t mature enough to handle change.