Breaking Down ‘Damn Fool’ [Album Review]

May 5 2011

At first glance, many listeners may have written off Big Scoob as just another vanilla run of the mill gangsta rapper. His Strange Music debut, Monsterifik, didn’t quite connect with the fans in the way many had hoped. Bred from the street life and real life hustle, Scoob’s experiences may seem foreign to a large portion of the Strange Music fan base. Without a steady foundation from his debut album, Scoob sought to make his way with a second effort in Damn Fool. Strange Music and Scoob capitalized on Scoob’s notoriety as a loud mouthed, charismatic individual. The theme of the album was heavily based on Scoob’s comedic personality, giving the fans something to really latch on to. Scoob had been all around the country on tours, giving fans the opportunity to meet the man behind “Salue”. With an idea of who Scoob really was, fans could now feel the sincere approach to Damn Fool. Touted as a harder and grittier album than Monsterifik, Damn Fool promised to create a more diverse sound for Scoob. Now with fans everywhere popping Damn Fool into their iTunes library, it’s time to take a look at how Damn Fool measures up.

Opening with a scene from a comedy club, Damn Fool attempts to thrust listeners right into the middle of a laugh riot. Scoob wasn’t looking to introduce himself with a typical starter track. Instead, the big fella strikes with “Dickey Mouf”, an unexpectedly charged up bashing of trifling women everywhere. Normally a track with this theme would be reserved for the middle of the album, but Scoob catches fans off guard in a surprisingly effective swerve. The synth driven production from Michael “Seven” Summers is strengthened by Scoob’s boisterous hook. Seven produced a large portion of Damn Fool, giving it a consistently strong base. The album’s main single, “All I Kno Is Hood”, brings Scoob back home for a real hood tale with KC flavor. Produced by the legendary Icy Roc Kravyn, the booming synths and slightly sped up drums give Scoob incentive to bring his A-game. Hitting more syllables that usual, “All I Kno Is Hood” rocks with some of Scoob’s best flows to date. The album is broken up with short skits, some more comical than others. At 26 tracks, the numerous skits can sometimes take away from the momentum of Damn Fool. Only a few tracks in, it is increasingly apparent that Scoob was more cautious in choosing the production for Damn Fool. With faster and harder beats, Damn Fool keeps up a strong charge that lacked in Monsterifik. Looking to match or even surpass the success of the smash single “Salue”, Scoob brings things back to the party with “Lemonade Delight” and “Drunk & Stupid”. Both drinking anthems were produced by Seven, and while they are respectively very entertaining and catchy, they both fall short of the feel good vibes on “Salue”. “Drunk & Stupid” does although feature one of the album’s better guest spots with Tech N9ne’s crushing delivery. The party atmosphere does help lend Damn Fool a humorous edge, which for its namesake, is definitely a good thing.

Scoob reels the album back into a more serious and dangerous tone on tracks like “I Move With The Night”, “Dead-A-Man”, and “Damu”. Tracks like these are the reason Scoob should be taken as a threat to new school gangsta rappers. The jokes get left at home on these joints, as Scoob brings his meanest and roughest bars. The haunting production on “Dead-A-Man” gives listeners a new take on Wyshmaster’s musical work. Combined with Krizz Kaliko’s pain stricken vocals, “Dead-A-Man” creates the perfect scene for Scoob’s disturbing narrative of a man with nothing to lose. Seven’s production of “Damu” is best described as a sample driven hood banger on PCP. The monstrous production slams harder than any track on the whole album. Built as a posse cut with features from Jay Rock, Messy Marv, Bumpy Knuckles, and Skatterman, “Damu” is a great example of the hardcore edge that Scoob needs on his records. Following the excitement of “Damu”, the album suffers from a slight lull in the home stretch. With softer production, and generic topics, the few songs that follow “Damu” don’t resonate as strongly with listeners. Despite slowing down the pace, Scoob is able to hit another high note on the album’s closing. Vulnerable and heartfelt, “Take Me Away” is an emotionally devastating look at Scoob’s inner struggle. It is not the music that places a somber note on the song, but rather the words of a man with a hint of fear and uncertainty in his voice. Scoob questions his career, and balances his success with a return to the streets he knows so well. Irv Da Phenom provides “Take Me Away” with a hook that turns it into the most soulful moment on Damn Fool.

If nothing else, Damn Fool shows that Big Scoob was out to prove himself. Longer, louder, and more focused, Damn Fool races past Monsterifik. Scoob wanted an album that everyone could connect with, and he most certainly succeeded with Damn Fool. He opened himself up for variety and took a few risks that paid off in the end. The album certifies Scoob as a real MC worthy of the recognition he seeks. Damn Fool is every bit of the album that Monsterifik should have been, and now with Scoob in his comfort zone, things are about to get interesting.

-Victor Sandoval, Assistant Editor Strange Music

Follow Victor on Twitter: @VicMSandoval

Click here to purchase Damn Fool from iTunes, featuring the hits “All I Kno Is Hood” and “Akka A Damn Fool”.