Album Review | Fashawn – The Ecology

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This album was released on February 24th last year. As you can probably tell, I’m really behind on my schedule. It’s about 10 and a half pages long now, and this is at the top of the list. I’m still stuck in February of last year. Although, to be fair, a lot of the shit on my schedule is just random shit that came out in the 90s and 2000s, so it’s not like everything on my list is from last year. This is pretty much my introduction to Fashawn. When he first got signed to Nas’ Mass Appeal label, I decided that I’d keep an eye on him. Once he started dropping singles for this album, I enjoyed what I heard, so I added him to my schedule. It’s taken me about a year and a half to catch up to him. Anyway, I’m expecting this to be pretty good. From what I’ve seen, the reception has been very positive, and everything I’ve heard has been good. Every song is produced by Exile, except where noted.

Track 1: Guess Who’s Back (Co-Prod. Beewirks)

This is one of the few songs from this album that I’ve already heard before. This beat is dope af. The female vocals on the intro sound really good. The first verse was great. Wow. This is a really good song. The female vocals on the hook sound fantastic. I think I forgot just how good of a rapper Fashawn is. He’s spittin’ his fuckin’ ass off on this shit. The second verse was dope af. He killed that last verse too. I don’t have any problems with this at all. Fashawn sounds very hungry. Everything about this song is great. I definitely fuck with this song. This is dope af. The music video was honestly nothing special tho… 5/5

Track 2: Confess

Goddamn. This beat is dope af. The hook is pretty simplistic, and I’m not in love with it, but it’s not really bad. It just doesn’t really add much for me. This beat is crazy tho. Oh gawd… I uh… I wasn’t feelin’ that first verse. My problem is more so with the content than anything else. “The best at it according to sex addicts / Made her wet, then made a mess out of fresh fabrics / She ’bout to cum; I should just let her / Hon’ it doesn’t get better than this sixth letter.” I definitely didn’t need to hear that chick moaning in the background. The second verse was a little better I guess. I don’t know. I like the production, but other than that this song isn’t really doing much for me. The subject matter just isn’t appealing for me. I mean, it’s pretty much just your standard, braggadocios Rap track, which I would be fine with if he didn’t spend half the song rapping about sex. The last verse was actually really dope. I just don’t think I’d wanna return to this because of the flaws I mentioned. It’s definitely not a bad song. It’s just not my cup of tea. The music video was hilarious to me; I wasn’t really paying attention, so it just looked like Fashawn was just getting pissed off by a bunch of random people and shooting them in the head. It was cool to see cameos from other MCs like Large Professor & Earl Sweatshirt tho. I also think I spotted El-P & Bishop Nehru. Anyway, as I said earlier, this song is just alright to me. 3/5

Track 3: Something To Believe In Feat. Nas & Aloe Blacc (Prod. DJ Khalil)

This is another song that I’ve already heard before. From what I can tell, this was the most popular track from the album for obvious reasons. Fash fuckin’ killed the first verse. He was rappin’ his fuckin’ ass off. “These blasphemous bastards done acid / Hazardous; had to just smash on they ass / With this classic shit: Fash.” Aloe Blacc did his thing on the hook. He was singin’ really hard. Nas fuckin’ killed his verse. He went the fuck off on that second verse. Aloe Blacc even did a great job with that little bridge he had before the final recital of the hook. This song is great. I don’t really have any problems with it. Both of the verses from Fash & Nas were fantastic, and Aloe Blacc was singin’ like a motherfucker. Every facet of this song is just really well done. I definitely fuck with this song. This is dope af. 5/5

Track 4: Higher

This beat is dope. The first verse is great. “I wish there was 8 of me / 1 to deal with temptation / 1 to deal with complacency / 1 to deal with the pressure / 1 to deal with this fame / 1 to deal with the power / 1 strong enough for the pain / 1 to hold my umbrella to shelter me from the rain / 1 to be my therapist; my thoughts is crowding my brain.” The hook isn’t bad. The second verse was dope af. I don’t really have anything negative to say. It’s just another very good song. I fuck with this one. The music video was nothing special for me personally, but it does it’s job I guess. The song’s dope. 4/5

Track 5: To Be Young Feat. BJ The Chicago Kid

This beat isn’t bad. I like it’s fast pace. The first verse was dope af. Of course BJ The Chicago did a phenomenal job with the hook; he always does. The second verse was great. Fash is recalling kind of a nightmarish series of events that took place when he was still a child living in the hood. Jesus. That final verse was fucked up. He was rapping about this girl that he wanted to smash when he was younger, who he eventually discovered was a prostitute. “Guess I was vexed ’cause I ain’t hit it yet / One night came up short; it was time to collect / Next morning found her body in the back of the ‘jects.” I guess she hadn’t earned enough money, so her pimp just killed her. Pretty dark stuff. Anyway, I really fuck with this song. I’m not super in love with the production, but it’s still a very good song. This is dope to me. 4/5

Track 6: Golden State Of Mind Feat. Dom Kennedy

Golden State Of Mind

This beat is dope. The first verse from Fashawn wasn’t bad. The hook’s cool. I’m not really a fan of Dom Kennedy, but I actually liked his verse here a lot. It was dope. Fash did his thing on the last verse. The subject matter isn’t that interesting, but I think they did it pretty well. Yeah, I fuck with this one. I don’t think it’s amazing or anything, but I enjoyed it. I don’t have any problems with this one. This is a dope song. 4/5

Track 7: Letter F (Prod. The Alchemist)

This beat is dope af. The first verse was great. I’m hungry. Fashawn is basically asking what Hip Hop would be without him, or as he put it “What would the alphabet be without the F?” The hook’s dope af. It’s really catchy. I actually really fuck with this song. The piano driven beat and recurring Sesame Street sample give it kind of an innocent, nostalgic feel. The second verse was dope af. I definitely fuck with this song. This is dope af. 5/5

Track 8: Place To Go

This beat is cool. I think my phone fell under my bed. I don’t feel like getting it right now tho. The first verse on this song is dope. The hook isn’t bad. He did his thing on the second verse. I like this song. Nothing about it is super amazing or anything; it’s just a solid track. It’s not one of the most memorable songs so far, but there aren’t really any big problems I have with it. I fuck with this one. This is dope. 4/5

Track 9: Man Of The House (Prod. Quincey Tones & Jo Caleb)

The first of this song was dope af. Fashawn was spittin’ his ass off, but I’m honestly not really feelin’ the dramatic, piano-driven production. It also sounds like there’s an organ in the background. There’s no percussion aside from a tambourine. Not yet at least. I can’t get behind this sung hook. It’s not even that his voice sounds that bad; this is just a bit too dramatic for me personally. It’s not like the shit he’s rapping about isn’t serious tho; as you could probably guess from the title, he’s rapping about his father not being there when he was growing up in the hood. I fuck with the content and the verses. I’m just not really feelin’ the more musical aspects of this track like the production and hook. I can’t say that this is a bad song. Fashawn did a great job rapping on this. That second verse was dope af. I just don’t think I’d wanna listen to it again. It’s alright. 3/5

Track 10: Out The Trunk

This is another one of the songs that I’d already heard before writing this review. Well, I’ve technically only heard the remix with Busta Rhymes, but I doubt it’s that different from the original. It’s starting now. Oh. Busta’s on this version too. He’s only on the hook tho. It sounds like a sample, but apparently Busta actually redid the line for this song. The beat is really dope, but the people yellin’ “HEY” in the background is annoying as fuck to me. Fashawn did his thing on the first verse. The second verse was dope. The hook from Busta isn’t bad, but I could see it getting kind of annoying. I fuck with this song. I’m gonna check out that remix again real quick… Yeah, Busta’s verse was great; I’m already gettin’ tired of that hook tho. Anyway, this song is dope. 4/5

Track 11: It’s A Good Thing Feat. Emanon & Choosey

This beat’s alright I guess. It sounds kinda generic honestly. There are things that I like about it tho. The first verse from Fash was fine… I gotta be honest; I’m pretty fuckin’ bored right now. The underwhelming production is really holding this song back for me. Fash’s verse wasn’t bad, but it’s not really enough to keep me interested and make me wanna return to this song. Apparently Emanon is a duo consisting of Aloe Blacc & Exile. I wasn’t aware that Aloe Blacc was a rapper. It was cool to hear him spit on the second verse. It sounded like his flow was a little shaky tho. The hook is doing absolutely nothing for me. Choosey kinda sounds like Dom Kennedy with a deeper voice. His verse was fine I guess. This song just isn’t doing anything for me. It’s not bad, but I’d never wanna listen to it again. It’s just boring to me. 3/5

Track 12: Mother

This beat’s cool. It’s not amazing or anything, but it gets the job done. The first verse was great. This track is obviously dedicated to Fash’s mama. The lyrics are very heartfelt. It’s interesting to hear him comment on her crack addiction too. The hook is dope. I’m sure there are some people out there who don’t like this type of shit, but, as I’ve said countless times before on this website, I’m what a lot of people would consider a “mama’s boy.” I love shit like this. The second verse was great. I definitely fuck with this song. This is dope af. 5/5

Track 13: FTW (Co-Prod. Farmer Grief)

This beat is dope af. Hmm… This might seem like kind of a strange comparison, but the melody of the production kinda reminds me of the instrumental to… Time After Time by Cindy Lauper. I know. It’s really weird. Something about the first verse seems off. It’s either the flow he’s trying to use or his melodic delivery. Or both. I’m not really feelin’ it. The hook… I’m not really feelin’ the hook either. The melody he’s singing just doesn’t sound very good, and even if it did, the lyrics are kinda corny. “I love the whole world, but fuck the whole world.” I really enjoyed the second verse, but man… This hook is just too much. I really WANT to like this song because he killed the second and third verses, but pretty much everything else about this track—aside from the production—holds it back for me. It’s okay, I guess. 3/5

Final Thoughts:

This album is great. I don’t know how it compares to his first one, which many consider a classic album in the underground, but I personally enjoyed it. I wasn’t really blown away by most of the shit here, but there’s no doubt that Fashawn can rap. I think the production on this album was kinda hit or miss for me. I know I called most of the beats “dope,” but now that I think about it, only a few beats really stood out that much. The beats served their purpose, but if I was a rapper I don’t think I’d be in a rush to spit over any of them. The hooks on a few songs weren’t always super engaging, but I really do think that the main flaw with this album is the production. It’s just not very far above average. As far as the actual rapping, Fashawn was on point for pretty much every track. The only time I had a problem with Fashawn as an MC was when he chose to rap about things that don’t really interest me personally. I think he’s at his best when he’s describing his past life experiences. I really enjoyed this album. Again, the only area where this album is lacking is in the production, but I didn’t even think the beats were bad. They just weren’t overly memorable. I fuck with this album tho. This album is very dope.

Favorite Song: Letter F

Least Favorite Song: FTW

Verdict:

80%

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