Cassidy caught attention by battling Freeway, so when his debut album “Split Personality” dropped in 2004, people expected a vicious pitbull to be let loose in the game. What they got though was an album with a lot of R&B hooks and songs for the ladies. Cassidy returns in 2005 with “I’m a Hustla,” and on the intro “The Problem vs. The Hustla” he battles himself, dissing himself for the R.Kelly assisted success and being watered down. It’s a good start as you take a breath and think, “finally this guy is going to give the streets what they have been waiting for”.
That is quickly put to rest as this album again fails to reach the heights where Cassidy is capable of. The first five songs all mention grinding, hustling and Jay-Z. You are left waiting for more substance. Nas and Quan guest appear on “Can’t Fade Me”, but it is also disappointing as Quan sounds more like he’s doing a Nate Dogg impersonation. Then Cassidy falls back into making songs for the females. “Kick It With You,” featuring Mario seems as the obvious choice for a future single as it borderlines catchy and cheesy, it is sure to be a 106th & Park hit. “Bellybutton” might go down as one of the worst tracks ever made, in an ode to the bellybutton ring. Here, Cassidy’s rhymes sound forced and it seems this would have been a better song for LFO or some pop group from a few years back.
Swizz Beatz cooks up some heat on the boards, but with most verses ending with the same word, even the beats can’t keep you interested. The title track, “I’m a Hustla” and the “I’m a Hustla Remix,” featuring Mary J. Blige, save this album from being a total waste. Thank Hov for clearing the record! Maybe it is the pressure to reach platinum status, but no matter what it is, Cassidy again abandons his vicious side for a more safe and soft sound. Listeners will turn into saddened sports fans thinking and hoping “we’ll get ‘em next season.”
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