When D4L made national headlines with the goofy yet catchy “Laffy Taffy,” fans and critics alike predicted their days to be numbered before the 2nd single was dropped. While the group has been on indefinite hiatus since 2006, one of the original members has generated a buzz to jumpstart his solo career. Shawty Lo, the man behind the ceremonious marching band bounce of “They Know (Dey Know)” has been creeping up the charts with approval of the youthful crowd. But like most acts that seem to be getting over off the strength of singles, the waters usually run a little shallow on the album front and Shawty’s case is no different. Aside from a few choice selections on the production tip, novice lyrics and dope boy fodder spoil rotten Shawty Lo’s debut, Units In The City.
Obviously distancing himself from the antics of D4L (since he was incarcerated during the creation of the “Laffy Taffy” sound), Shawty Lo reps Bankhead and his ability to sell everything for the “L-O” with no limitation. The slow drawl of his raps and continuous ad-libs provoke comparisons to Young Jeezy, although one listen to “Foolish” and it’s a no brainer who the better of the two is. Despite the triumphant sprinkling of piano keys and bubbling bass, lyrical buffoonery such as “I’m like na, na, na/laughin’ at you niggaz like ha, ha, ha…” make it hard to give the song a pass.
Same goes with the serious knock featured on “Dunn, Dunn.” The gibberish passing for a chorus and “They call me dunn, dunn/dunn done it all/these cars?/dunn drove em’ all…” showcase beat riding at it’s finest.
Lo does manage to catch a few fly balls to try and salvage the errors piled up on Units… “100,000” has Shawty breaking his rhymes down to a whisper to deliver a catchy melody and newcomers Lil’ Mark and Braski pick up the slack on the hypnotic “Cut The Check.” Gucci Mane pops up on “Got ‘Em 4 The LO” to show Shawty how a trap house is supposed to be ran, as does fellow D4L member Stuntman. But the love isn’t there on the sappy “Count On Me” which features some poor girl singing aimlessly on the hook. Matter fact, every hook on the album is kept extremely simple, as if to try and duplicate the magic captured on “They Know (Dey Know).”
Every rapper isn’t expected to be Rakim on the mic but the game has come too far to be bogged down by simplicity with no attempt of making credible music. The floodgates for motivation to move units in the form of ringtones have ironically been opened by D4L and it’s apparent that Shawty Lo is just cashing in. He may be the man in his town, but practice is needed if there’s going to be a nationwide explosion in Shawty Lo’s favor.