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by Nick Tylwalk
24 October, 2007@2:56 am
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The subject of hustling has been pretty well covered by rappers over the last two decades or so. That doesn’t stop many of today’s artists from throwing in their two cents on the matter, and with Yung Joc’s sophomore effort, Hustlenomics, you can pretty much bet the house you’ll be getting numerous songs about the following topics: Get money (by any means). Spend money.

For the most part, Atlanta’s Joc sticks to the script. Cuts like “Coffee Shop” and “Gettin To Da Money” are representative of a big chunk of the album, generic street tales that don’t break much new ground. That’s equally true for the music as well as the lyrics,  as the backdrop for “Play Your Cards” evokes T.I.’s “What You Know” so strongly that you’d swear it was a tribute.

Fortunately, the success of Joc’s first album – propelled by the runaway hit “It’s Going Down” – allowed him to enlist some high profile help this time out, and the guest stars provide some of the best moments on Hustlenomics. Bun B livens up “I’m A G,” while The Game and Jim Jones help “Cut Throat” send a coast-to-coast warning about crossing the wrong people. Snoop Dogg and Rick Ross turn “Brand New,” an interpolation of The Stylistics’ classic, into something a little more fun than the average stunting boast. And the smoothed-out vibe of “Chevy’s Smile” works thanks to production by Jazze Pha and a verse from Trick Daddy.

As for Joc himself, he gets credit for trying to show some versatility. He tries some introspection on “Momma” and even flips a completely different style on “BYOB.” That’s not to say the experiment succeeds – though the party anthem’s sparse beat helps it stick out from the rest of the album’s production, Joc drops some of his least inspired lyrics here, with lines like “Rubber burn first gear, platinum on my first year, wood on my steering wheel, put my wood all in her grill.”

That’s okay though, as Yung Joc isn’t out to sell records on the strength of his microphone skills. The real problem with Hustlenomics is that there is no successor to “It’s Going Down,” no surefire club anthem set to be the next big ringtone. Since Joc established himself as a savvy businessman right out the gate, that thought has to bother him a little.

On the intro to the title track, Joc says that he hopes anyone who made it to the end of the album learned something. The answer is probably not, but there’s a decent chance that listeners will be entertained by Joc and his friends, and he’ll have to hope that’s enough to maintain his platinum status. – Nick Tylwalk

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