With the Sunshine State steady churning out rappers that continuously find loopholes in the industry’s current sales drought, it’s only inevitable that more and more Floridians will keep pressing their luck attempting to make rap their new hustle. Hailing from the Tarpon Springs area seemingly out of nowhere, 2 Pistols is the latest newcomer with his eyes set on superstardom as he puts his tales of acquiring currency on wax to fill out his major label debut Death Before Dishonor. As unproven rookies go, fear of the unknown generally proves to be the best assumption, but DBD actually boasts a handful of impressive moments.
Too bad 2 Pistols isn’t responsible for any of them.
If cliché was a felony, 2 Pistols would have received his “three strikes” on the album’s “Intro.” Point blank: nothing about this guy stands out. No matter what the title, 2P never fails to make mention of his “wrist game” or some sort of colored diamond. With consecutive song titles like “Been Throwin’ Money” and “Gettin’ Money Mane,” the content is self-explanatory but Pistols states the obvious anyway on the latter with bologna like “I’m poppin’ tags on my brand-new-clothesss/all white Charger with the suicide doors…” And with a delivery that never varies or even attempts to invigorate, he may as well be humming “Old McDonald” as he surrenders his entire presence over a windy instrumentation on the riveting “Let’s Ride.”
Luckily for 2P, he aligned his useless “swagger rapper” act with some of the more impressive production heard from his kind. Picking up right where Rick Ross’ Trilla left off, J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League handle the bulk of the beats as they continue to excel in their craft, delivering diversified yet distinctive musical arrangements that stay true to their trademark sound. Showing some range, the trio lace the imposing “Eyes Closed” with stark tubas and a looming bassline then proceed to refurbish Mad Cobra’s classic on “Flex 2008” with majestic layers of buoyant keyboards that scream summer anthem. And they hand 2P a certified gift-wrapped hit when T-Pain lends his platinum auto-tuner to their infectious melody on “She Got It” which also features Tay Dizm.
With the loads of forgettable verses Pistols drops, it’s the production and guest stars’ duty to see the album through. From Ray J. to Trey Songz on the hooks, to U.S.D.A. sergeants Slick Pulla and Blood Raw on the commanding “We Run It,” the outshining never ceases. Even a virtually unknown Tyra B. steals the show with her hypnotic chanting on “Candy Coated Diamonds” over another superb banger.
Death Before Dishonor never manages to make sense of its infamous title, but still comes across as a very listenable effort, to no credit of 2 Pistols. This is what you call “ryder music.” The type of album that’s easy finish a song without hearing one word. 2 Pistols may have a created an album he can market with moderate success, but it doesn’t mask the fact he’s perpetrating as a rapper over beats someone like Young Jeezy would have murdered.