8.1 – 8.4
Jim Jones & Maino ‘Lobby Boyz’
Similar to 5ive Mics‘ Can’t Knock The Hustle album from earlier in the year, Jim Jones and Maino‘s new album Lobby Boyz relies heavily on New York City as a back drop for their collection of tales from the bottom.
The first you may notice here is Maino is more focused as a lyricist than he has ever been. His sometimes immature, but often hilarious one-liners add color and highlights to the 15-track run. “Fell asleep drunk, then I woke up in the ShadeRoom/Shorty took me home, I licked the p*ssy in her kids room” he spits on “Climb Back“.
Secondly, you may notice Jim Jones is somehow more comfortable and in-the-pocket than he’s been in history. One thing this project does not lack is visual and clever bars (and to think, this pairing was originally set for the late 00’s).
If you are an avid listener of either, you know hooks are not necessarily their forte. They more-times-than-not have vocalists fill in the 8-bar gap between verses. Maino has a habit of going for big sounding ghetto-pop choruses. Jim is notorious for keeping “hook-heroes” close, from Max B to Sen City.
What neither of them have realized (especially Maino), is they are just fine without the often young crooners as guests. So, just like a few of their other projects, Lobby Boyz suffers from generic refrains from nameless “singers” and that you can barely make out through the autotune. It’s like they just go on SoundClick and search for “beat with hook”.
The good news is that misstep has been cut in half here, in relation to previous efforts.
Take the J Pettiford produced intro “Project Baby” for instance. The “Hi Hater” rapper provides the perfect in-between (pause) for he and Jones to float around. The sample, the bars, the feeling is exactly what you would expect from NY big dogs. “He got killed in front the building, but the camera didn’t work” Capo ends with on the aforementioned track.
Actually, beat-flips of earlier rap cuts play a major role in the LB LP. You can thank Maino, who according to rollout interviews was the driving force for the sound.
Here’s a list:
- “No Love” samples Bunny Sigler‘s “My Other Love” but you may recognize it from Remy Ma‘s “She’s Gone” from her 2006 debut album
- “Climb Back” flips Luniz “I Got 5 On It“
- “Off the Leash” samples Jay Z‘s “Do It Again (Put Ya Hands Up)” featuring Beanie Sigel and Amil
- “Slide” revamps Ruff Ryders “Down Bottom” with Drag-On, Swizz Beats and Juvenile
- “Never Take Me Alive” samples “Living Inside Your Love” by Earl Klugh, better know by Hip-Hop fans as “Pain” by 2Pac feat. Stretch from 1994’s Above The Rim soundtrack
- “BK & Harlem” borrows from Beanie Sigel‘s “Nothin Like It” from his sophmore album, The Reason
Every rap feature here comes through in a stellar fashion, but don’t necessarily outshine the main characters. From Fabolous to Young M.A and Dave East pretty much blend seemlessly.
Overall, it’s a nice ride through Brooklyn and Harlem’s infamous streets, lobby in particular. LB’s suffers from some bloating at 15 full songs but Maino and Capo do a great job at visual writing and cohesion. Their messages are clear, the lifestyle is painted and the essence shines through. New York street-life and club scene projected in the night sky like the Batman logo, for all to see.