Note: This review was written on February 16th of 2021
This extended play was released on February 12th this year. At one point, Young RJ & Big Pooh were working on a collaborative record, but I guess it just never came together, so this project is kind of like a compilation of the songs they ended up making. They were recorded from 2008 to 2010, so they’re over a decade old at this point, but I’m sure they’re still good. If not, fuck it. I’m obviously a huge Little Brother fan, and since Big Pooh is from my hometown I get excited about anything he does, so I’m looking forward to this. I’m also a fan of Young RJ, albeit to a lesser extent. I imagine I feel the same way about Little Brother that people from Detroit feel about Slum Village. I like them, but I’ve never been crazy about their work. Even Fantastic, Vol. 2 is just a great album to me, but I wouldn’t say that it’s amazing or anything. It’s definitely worth listening to though if you haven’t heard it yet. Anyway, I really dug that album that Mega Ran did with Young RJ last year, but since this project is full of old material I’m not expecting it to sound anything like that. I’m just gonna keep an open mind. Every track is of course produced by Young RJ.
As always, I’ll write about the songs I like before discussing the tracks I won’t be returning to. The project begins with The Recipe (Intro). This was the title track to the album Young RJ & Pooh were making. It has co-production from Khrysis, and the beat ended up being used as the opening song for Slum Village’s Villa Manifesto album under the title “Bare Witness.” I love the aforementioned Slum Village song, but this one is really nice too. The beat is fire, and Pooh did his thing.
I told Scrap, "I'm the best," you can ask him And he'll repeat what I'm sayin' to you 'Cause he know if I say it what I'm sayin' is true I ain't just write a couple of bars, I got a slew And I ain't just a regular nigga, one of the few And I ain't here to talk, son, I came to do You will remember the name when my reign is through If you don't know now, then it's shame on you
The cuts from DJ Babu are the same ones that ended up on Bare Witness, but they’re still fire. Personally, I think Bare Witness is the better song overall, but this is still very good. It’s a dope track. The following song is called Get It In. Apparently Method Man was supposed to be on this song, and I really wish he made it because he would’ve sounded awesome here. It sounds like there’s a slight pitch-shift in Big Pooh’s voice, which is kinda strange, but it doesn’t sound bad at all. The production here is actually fantastic. The song sounds like it’d go crazy at live shows. The hook is very good, and Pooh has a really nice energetic delivery here.
I adjust to any circumstance, handle my affairs
Shake the hatred off, show 'em I don't really care
No, we don't compare, I'm on another stair-
Case in point, you ain't fuckin' with my last year
We raisin' glass here to toast to the good times
Gettin' money is the theme, here's to dope rhymes
To quote mine, you in tune to the world's greatest
I see a star up ahead, it eclipse the latest
Put me on your playlist, yeah, I said it twice
It sound better than the first 'cause I'm that nice
The breakdown at the end with the live instrumentation sounds gorgeous too. This is definitely a highlight for me; everyone involved killed this shit. It’s dope as hell. The last song that I actually like is the closing track, Smile. This one’s definitely a major highlight for me. I love the production, and Darian Brockington murdered that hook. His vocals sound absolutely stunning to me. The content definitely resonates with me as well. The song is dedicated to Pooh’s parents, and it’s a really heartfelt track. The first verse which is directed towards his mother is definitely more relatable to me than the second one, but both of them were great.
It's your lil boy speakin' to you grown
It's been 10 years since I first left home
I'm off on my own learnin' life and it's lessons
No grandchildren from me, no weddings
Met a nice girl, hold off the excitement
When the time comes, you're the first one invited
Never did thank you for the way that you raised me
Thinking back how I used to say you were crazy
On punishment when my birthdays came
Report card time drivin' you insane
Police escorts leavin' you in pain
For your little boy, never felt ashamed
A lot was said when I wrote off of you
And every feelin' I expressed, it was true
We have no idea what emotions really do
'Cause they pent up inside 'fore they take control of you
But I just know I'm a better man now
Regardless of the facts, how it all went down
Plus me and your relationship is on solid ground
Your boy better off simply havin' you around
For man to man talks, and man to man guidance
Fatherly advice real men be providing
No analyzing where we are in our development
Appreciatin' time spent with the other one
I have zero gripes with this track; I think it’s amazing. Now I’ll talk about the two tracks I won’t be returning to. I don’t think either of them are bad; they just lack replay value for me personally. The first one is called Money, and it features O Dash & Frank Nitt. I’m not familiar with the former, but I’ve heard from Frank Nitt in the past. The production here sounded kind of awesome to me at first, but as the song progressed my hype kinda died down—I still think the keys sound great though. The hook from Frank Nitt isn’t really anything special, but it works. The first verse from Pooh was cool, although I did find it kinda strange that he used the term “happy hole” as a euphemism for vagina. The second verse was solid too. I wasn’t really crazy about the final verse from O Dash, but it wasn’t bad. That “I’m the shit like manure” line definitely made me roll my eyes though. The song is just kinda bland overall, and Pooh even said that it wouldn’t have made the final cut of the album, but it’s a decent track to me. I have mixed feelings about the other track, Hello. The content isn’t particularly interesting to me, and I’m not a fan of the moaning sounds in the background. I think the vocals from Eric Roberson on the hook sound really nice though. The beat is pretty nice too. Even though the content isn’t for me, I think Pooh pulled it off well. I was fully expecting him to say “put your toes in my mouth” at one point, just because it would’ve fit the rhyme scheme perfectly. That would’ve been funny. He didn’t say that though, which is a little disappointing. I think the track is okay overall, but it’s just not really the kinda thing that I would listen to again personally. It’s a fine song though.
This EP is very good. There are a couple tracks that I won’t be returning to, but I wouldn’t say anything here is actually bad. If you’re a fan of Big Pooh this is definitely worth listening to. It’s certainly not gonna change anyone’s mind if they’re not already a fan, but it pretty much gives me everything I like about him. Each track is pretty well written. The hooks are good. The features did a nice job for the most part. I gotta give a shoutout to Young RJ too because the beats here are really nice. This isn’t one of the best projects of the year, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s unfortunate that we didn’t get the full collaborative album between Young RJ and Big Pooh, but this is better than nothing. Check it out and let me know what you think. I fuck with it. It’s a dope project.