Dem Franchize Boyz
On Top of Our Game
So So Def
2006
D



dem Franchise Boyz, a bargain basement big-up for Jermaine Dupri when he hopped into the CEO seat for Virgin, have an endurance and permanence of tin foil and the vocal fire of crusting wheat.

They’re bad, they’re all interchangeable (I challenge any listener to find a discernable and lasting difference between Buddie, Jizzal Man, Parlae, and Pimpin), they’re living off a gimmick song that Hanes should’ve picked up as a jingle (“White Tee”), and they’re currently embroiled in a beef with D4L.

D. 4. L.

“Lean Wit It, Rock Wit It,” the lead single, tries to hunt down the holy grail of “snap” music with metronome horse-clops, Seven Dwarves whistles, and a very, very basic chant. Consider the dance floor unmoved.

Dupri tries his best, hoping beyond hope that one of the four MC’s can get off a decent one-line each song, that remixes (and melodically interesting ones with superior MC’s, to be fair) are better than more album tracks, and that ring tone sales can make up for barely registering sales on SoundScan. Now I understand Dupri is trying to defibrillate Virgin’s problematic “urban” division, but was a piece of carrion like DFB really the best way to reconstitute a stable?

“Give Props” and “Bricks 4 The High” could be about a lot of things, but the flurry of topics: Tupperware booties, worn-out drug allusions, and the stuttered, syrupy boasts only go toward proving that these four don’t have the charm or word choice to put forth something original.

Dupri actually has a slice of talent in his imprint; he doesn’t need to push them this hard. Da Brat has gone platinum. Dupri still has a hand in Bow Wow’s development (lord knows that kid rakes in cash). I mean, he was in the “Grillz” video and that song ruled. He’s coming off a jealousy inducing year, raising Mariah from US Weekly flayings to being the centerpiece of the Grammy’s. He sounded tautly on top of his game in the New York Times, not off in B-More gutter clubs and Lotus V.I.P like Pharrell or Golgotha like Kanye. I know he’s responsible for little of the actual production, but still, the amount of money Dupri put behind this seems like it must be halfway down the garbage chute.

Unless, of course, this goes platinum and I’m forced to eat my words.

And in that case, I’m riding with D4L for protection.


Reviewed by: Evan McGarvey
Reviewed on: 2006-02-14
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