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23 July, 2003@12:00 am

It is clear that Fredro Starr’s time in Hollywood has had an influence on his music. After years of feature and cameo roles in everything from an HBO series (“The Wire”) to cheesy, urban films (“Ride”), it is almost a given that you are going to see this Onyx member on screen if you search the tube long enough or go to the movies often. However, while he may be working on his movie lines a lot these days, it is apparent that he hasn’t been spending too much time making sure the production is up to snuff on his musical endeavors.

While Fredro’s flow and delivery are still on-point and his powerful, gruff voice, can still blow listeners back.  Too much fun in the sun and politicking with movie label execs appears to have left this emcee looking to make a Jerry Bruckheimer-style album instead of a well-constructed rap album. Complete with a Neptunes knockoff (“California Girls”), a monotonous G-funk anthem (“Funtime”) and the obligatory track about footwear (“Timberlands”), Don’t Get Mad is a paint-by-the-numbers album cluttered with throwaway beats and a Hollywood edge – not a hip-hop one. Fredro Starr’s work with Onyx seems appropriate for his flow and delivery – energetic, rough and distinctly New York – but poor melodies and lackluster production make his rhymes seem out of place and in need of serious help from the big boys.

Like the hood flick sold outside the subway station, or available for rent at your local Blockbuster Video, Don’t Get Mad is lazy and contrived, attempting to bank in on the pseudo-celebrity of Fredro. Employing overused formulas and weak production, Fredro Starr’s second solo effort isn’t as sloppy as his solo debut Firestarr, but with aimless threats, odes to women and overused production techniques, listeners won’t get mad, they’ll just get bored.

  Mixtape D.L.
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