Big Remo’s Entrapment is presented by 9th Wonder, but it is not one of the 9th’s collaboration albums, such as the ones he’s done with MURS, Buckshot and Jean Grae. Still, the production has a familiar laid back feel, and Remo, a Winston-Salem, N.C. native like 9th, has the smooth, relaxed flow to match.
Surprisingly, the few tracks produced by 9th (“The Game,” “Woop Woop,” “Wonderbread” and “Go Ladies”) aren’t the album’s highlights. Meanwhile, “What It Takes” produced by Khrysis is peppered with just the right amount of muted horn bursts, as Remo gets on his grind (“when the going got tough, I went and got hard”), establishing himself as a working man’s, no nonsense crime rapper. He invokes the Notorious B.I.G. on “Don’t Matter (Over There)” when he steps into an AMP produced scratched up track spitting, “It was all a dream/mad AKs and magazines/shit was hectic, salt and pepper, man I could feel the heat/I heard scriptures from my mom/Psalm 26, wifey sick, but she gotta hold on, damn.”
Remo is at his best when he’s giving us these reality-tinged life in streets nuggets–staying up all night, ducking police, people running up on his mom’s house. There’s some corny stuff conceptually, though, with songs like “Wonderbread” and “Girls Most Wanted.” Hooks aren’t Remo’s specialty and the “Woop Woop” refrain of “hop out of the car, woop woop, stand back” is particularly annoying. Is this really a chorus about the sound your car makes after you lock it? Woop woop? Errr…
“Entrapment” and “What Is Your Name” get back to Remo’s bread and butter, as the latter finds him telling tales of women in trouble: “So you had another child/your mom’s kicked you out/And you don’t wanna live with your father cause he shouts/and screams when he drink/he become a little freak/tried to rape you and beat you like a woman in the streets.”
One gripe that needs to be brought up with the production here is the continued use of sped up soul samples. Ka$h does it here on “Without You,” 9th does it on “Go Ladies” and “Wonderbread,” you can hear it in the backdrop of “Serenity” produced by Eric G. Give it a rest. It’s like auto-tune. Stop throwing it on everything.
Otherwise, it’s not a bad debut solo effort from Remo–he has some command of the form and a realistic perspective. It’s also good to see the North Carolina hip hop scene continue to produce. But Remo can do himself a favor by trimming some of this fat, maybe bringing someone in to write better hooks and laying off the dusty old samples.
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