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4 February, 2007@12:00 am

    Saafir’s strong voice and vocal presence remain in tact, and make no mistake; he still has presence and obvious drive. Good Game: The Transition finds Saafir’s displaying his know-how for salvaging tracks, as he combines smooth deliveries with  some wordplay. Songs such as “One of The Hardest” and “Get Busy” illustrate his unique cadence, proving that he still carries some potential seen in ’94. Thirteen years after hitting kids in the face with the unique Boxcar Sessions, the Oakland native could be commended for staying active and not relying on past accolades to steer his present career.

    But on the other hand, if you’re one of the many in ’94 whose head still hurts from Boxcar Sessions, Good Game will compound your frustration, leaving you to wonder what happened to the once innovative wordsmith. Its hard listening to anything he’s touch since Boxcar without wondering what happened to the grime and complex rhyme structure of his past work. The production on this project is wildly uneven, sliding back and forth between hard breaks and flashy club anthems-none of which are remarkable or memorable. “Devotion” is a soft track with a cliche R&B hook, while “The Technology” is uptempo and bouncy. Although a contrast in sounds on a single album can mesh well, Saafir sounds out of place on both production styles. And if anything, the inconsistency adds to the lack of cohesiveness in the album’s sound, making it a very jumbled listen. Moreover, “Jihad” and “Hey Baby”, are as shallow and predictable as their titles reflect, with Saafir delivering thoughtless raps. Overall, the album is regrettably dull and unfortunately, lacks any hints of originality.

   So what’s left for Saafir? He’ll still get by on making mediocre albums due to his charisma alone. But nowadays, Saafir hasn’t just lost focus and progressiveness, but more importantly, he’s lost relevance in hip-hop. Can Saafir make another dope album? With the aid of a strict producer, of course. Will Boxcar Sessions prove to be the only project he’s remembered by? Most likely….at least for this writer. 

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