Album Review: DJ Drama – Third Power
DJs dropping albums is far from a new thing. Every major DJ from DJ Clue to DJ Khaled have tried their hand at moving from dropping mixtapes for the streets to supplying stores with bar-coded material. While some have succeeded, most have failed. Very few DJs can translate what they do for the streets to the mainstream, but that doesn’t stop anyone from trying.
It was only a matter of time that DJ Drama would step up from mixtapes to full LPs. After building a name for himself with his Gangsta Grillz mixtape series, the head of the Aphilliates Music Group stepped into the arena of artists with his first 2 discs Gangsta Grillz 1 and Gangsta Grillz 2. Both were solid projects that made listeners feel like they were listening to one of his classic mixtapes and not a put together album.
His latest CD, 3rd Power, doesn’t really have that feel. With this disc, Drama relies heavily on the new faces in the game: Meek Mill, Young Chris, Freddie Gibbs, Wale and J. Cole make appearances on the project. With the young pups on his side, Drama delivers an un-balanced album that seems to be confused in where it’s going.
The lead single, Oh My featuring Fabolous, Wiz Khalifa and Roscoe Dash, was something made for the clubs. Roscoe croons out the hook while Fab and Wiz take care of the lyrical exercises. But the usually stellar Fabolous comes up short with lazy bars like, “Tight denim/ With them little rips in em/ Wait in line jeans/ Takes a while to get in em.” Drumma Boi provides a dope soundtrack for the trio to get loose too, but in the end, the song falls flat.
Never See You Again, featuring Talia Coles and Wale, could actually be a hit. Produced by Dawty Music, Talia sings a typical song about love lost. Lyrics like, “Everything was picture perfect, until you moved the frame/ Now, because of you it’s barely hanging/ Boy in a flash, it’s like you start to replace him,” lets you know where Talia’s mind is at when it comes to her and her ex-boo thing. While Wale is limited to a few bars on the song, he does compliment the track with lines like, “Bad women with bad figures, I’m trying to get em/ My bread good, my sex better, my mind different/ And you would think that I’m European, my drive different/ I’m not a mystic, but I’ve been playing with 5 bitches/and my intentions are bad, but I’m fucking her better/ My game tighter than bitches that ain’t fucked in forever.” While not a certified hit record, Never See You Again could find its way to a radio playlist near you soon.
B.o.B and Crooked I stop by for the Nard and B produced Take My City. Expectations would be high for 2 artists the caliber of Bobby Rae and Crooked I, but even they can’t save this track. B.o.B delivers a generic “I rep my hood” hook, while Crook spits bars, the instrumental does more to put you to sleep than make your head nod.
Everything That Glitters, featuring French Montana and Pusha T, surprises. Pusha continues to show why he’s one of game’s brightest stars with lines like, “For every brick broke down, there’s one stepped on/ For every known rat, there’s one stepped on/ For every loyal nigga frontin, one kept on/ For every bitch that I showed the way, there’s one that kept hoe’ing.”
French sings the hook “When you’re looking in the mirror, ‘cause everything that glitters, that ain’t gold. I’m getting low, from the haters. Cameras in action, tell all my niggas what’s happening.” While not as up-tempo as Oh My or Never See You Again, this track stands out because of the combo of Pusha’s bars and French’s off-beat crooning.
Aside from tracks like Undercover, featuring Chris Brown and J. Cole, and Lay Low, featuring Meek Mill, Young Chris and Freeway, 3rd Power comes off like an album that should’ve been a mixtape. While there were strong songs on the disc, a majority of it is fast forward material due to lackadaisical production and lack of direction.
Standout Tracks: “Lay Low”, “Everything That Glitters”, “Never See You Again”
1. Oh My ft. Fabolous, Wiz Khalifa & Roscoe Dash
2. Rough ft. Young Jeezy & Freddie Gibbs
3. Hand Of God ft. Maino
4. Ooh Baby ft. Cam’ron, Vado & Jaz
5. Never See You Again ft. Talia Coles and Wale
6. Lay Low ft. Meek Mill, Young Chris & Freeway
7. Ain’t No Way Around It ft. Future
8. Undercover ft. J. Cole & Chris Brown
9. Everything That Glitters ft. Pusha T & French Montana
10. Me And My Money ft. Gucci Mane
11. Self Made ft. Red Cafe & 2 Chainz
12. Take My City ft. Crooked I & B.o.B
13. Lockdown ft. Ya Boy & Akon
14. Oh My (Remix) ft. 2 Chainz, Trey Songz & Big Sean