Album Remarks & Appraisals:
"Waka Flocka Flame is everything that is right and wrong with Hip-Hop. His unrelenting spirit and refusal to compromise reflect the very nature of this culture. His glaring lack of actual skill in the midst of phenomenal success however is a slap in the face of anyone who ever thought of this culture and its accompanying soundtrack as a real artform. It's hard to get a legitimate read on what Flocka represents, because media coverage of him is specifically designed to look for ignorant shit.
His debut retail album, Flockaveli, is homage to Tupac's final non-postumous epic. Whether intentionally or not, the album goes so far in forcing its brand of music that it's almost in subgenre territory: fight music. Before we go further, it's important to note there is not much lyricism on this album. Flocka himself makes very few attempts at being coherent, lyrically aside from the closing track "Fuck The Industry" and the narrative "For My Dawgz," which chronicles his life from growing up in Queens to migrating south and getting it going with his music.
You already know the force of "Hard In Da Paint" and "Oh Let's Do It," both proven club bangers that have set the streets on fire.
Producer Lex Luger is almost Reggaetonian in his ability to make multiple songs from the same basic beat, something Erick Sermon mastered two decades ago with his Zapp and Roger pilferage. Almost every single song he produced on this album is one or two elements off from being the exact same composition. The only noticeable differences in production come on "Smoke, Drank," "Fuck The Club Up," which features Pastor Troy and Brick Squad member Slim Dunkin, as well as a deep slow pace, deeper 808s and keys.
Young Money's Gudda Gudda drops a lackluster performance on "Bricksquad." Roscoe Dash and Wale drop by on the ode to acrobatic oral, "No Hands." Wale drops the most lyrical performance on the album, but not enough to convert to hood to his cause. Dash's "all the way turnt up" flow is in effect and rough in patches but smooth otherwise.
"Live By The Gun" features Ra Diggs and Uncle Murda paying tribute to Dudus and the Shower posse while racking up a huge body count, noting that there "ain't no fair ones, squiggly lines and IV's for motherfuckers.
The rest of the album is helmed by Flocka and his Brick Squad crew, which surprisingly is the reason this album doesn't devolve further. The performances of YG Hootie, Bo Deal and especially Slim Dunkin bang throughout on tracks "Bang" "G Check" and "Karma." Joe Moses shines on "TTG (Trained To Go) and Popa Smurf goes hard on "Homies." Cartier Kitten serves as Trina lite on "Snake In The Grass."
"Fuck This industry" closes the album out as Flocka raises some issues with the music business. Flock paints a picture of a lonely world covered with fakeness with lines like "Lord take my back, the Devil entered me" "I can't trust myself, so don't trust me, I can't trust my friends cause they set me up."
Flockaveli is a very long album that has a lot of filler. It's loose and aggressive, borderline forcing its way into another category of music altogether. Waka Flocka Flame is a black hole of talent saved by a vast wealth of infectious hooks and huge charisma. The Brick Squad saves the album with their individual performances, but not by much. There is a gang element on this album that is subliminal but clearly present. Listeners can take what they are meant to from that aspect, I suppose.
The one note production is also a negative artistically, but undeniably effective in its goals to provoke listeners. If this music continues to push into its own subgenre, then this album deserves the credit as the starting point. When judged purely on its Hip-Hop merit, Flockaveli is too poor lyrically to warrant a high rating of any sort." - Planetill
"Guns cocked, shots fired, flames - enter Waka Flocka's debut,Flockaveli. The 17-track album, which features cameos from Pastor Troy, Wale, and several other rappers, is one of the most anticipated albums of the year - in a good and bad way. Waka's fans are overjoyed that his debut has finally arrived while his critics are happy to have more ammo to use against him, which Flocka gives way too easily on Flockaveli.
As a critic, it's difficult to dissect this album track by track because they all sound the same. From the subject matter to the beats, this album is just one long song that doesn't end soon enough. And nothing about these tracks make them distinctive or interesting. There are some moments where the beats give a slight head nod but they are far and few and you end up right back where you started.
In all fairness, most critics condemn Waka for his dreadful lyrics (for good reason,) but that doesn't phase this writer. We know that he is not going to give us complex rhyme schemes or thought provoking lyrics and we do not expect him to. His subject matter is extremely basic and he lacks substance, which is prevalent throughout this album. Lyrics like, "Shout out to my grandma/for all them ass whoopins/ that shit made me tough/no more ass whoopins," prove that he is as simple as it gets.
But Waka doesn't even try to at least make the lyrics imaginative, enjoyable, or witty. He delivers his rhymes with no effort, he sounds bored, and just does not know what he is doing. Every rapper doesn't need to be cerebral or use immaculate metaphors, but if they are going to take this approach, at least be good at it. And Waka Flocka is not good at it by any means.
Also, using the same producer can be hit or miss with any album but for Flocka, it is the latter. Lex Luger, who produced majority of this album, understands Waka incredibly well by providing him with highly decorated beats to make up for his lack of lyrical skill. Lex's beats take the focus away from Flocka's lyrics and causes the listener to concentrate on the production. But the problem is the beats onFlockaveli sound the same in their construction making this album drag.
On top of that, some of the production sounds like regurgitated renditions of beats that we have already heard. "Grove St. Party" featuring Kebo Gotti, "Bricksquad" featuring Gudda Gudda, and "Fuck This Club Up" featuring Pastor Troy and Slim Dunkin sound like bad rips off a formula that Lex's peers used years ago. Lex should've added his own distinct element to these beats giving them a fresh energy opposed to a stale one that will ultimately piss your ears off.
It's obvious that Waka Flocka makes his music for himself and his fans because neither is bothered by the lack of the three C's: cohesiveness, creativity, or charisma. But Flocka's admirers will be pleased with this album because he is giving them exactly what they expect from him: trap music drenched in braggadocios rhymes, gun talk, beef, partying, and women with beats that are heavy in synthesizers, hard hitting drums, and a good amount of bounce.
In the end, this album will garner an ample amount of radio airplay, get plenty of strippers more tips, and rattle tons of trunks across the country. So Waka won't be too concerned with his naysayers who question his place in Hip Hop because his fans will stand by him and keep his flame lit while critics scratch their heads in dismay." - HipHopSite
The Wire (p.74) - "Producer Lex Luger's sound is a wrecking ball, all dense synth clusters and shifting tectonic layers of sub-bass."
Recording information: Next Level Studios, Houston, TX; Nightbird Studios, Los Angeles, CA; S-Line Ent., Atlanta, GA.
A member of Gucci Mane's So Icey camp, Waka Flocka Flame takes Plies' slow goon drawl, mixes it with the wackiness of his posse boss Gucci, and then adds plenty of guttural utterances ("Waaaaaakaa!," "Flocka!," but mostly "Blow!") for a love-him-or-hate-him style. Fall into the latter camp and his debut album, Flockaveli, is a one-note cash-in that has no business referencing 2Pac with its title. Fall into the former and it's a satisfying nonstop assault of so-dumb-it's-fun hip-hop with numerous guest stars to keep things fresh plus those deep Lex Luger beats that threaten to blow the trunk off. With "Hard in da Paint," "No Hands," and "O Let's Do It" all on the track list, every one of Flocka's necessary career-building singles are present, and the support crew consists mostly of likeminded bangers with guys'-night-out appeal, the cred-verifying "G Check" being the best. The one welcome surprise is "For My Dawgs," a slow creeper that communicates spite and triumph with skill, but this smart wallflower is surrounded by party boys and won't be enough to sway the haters. Still, Flockaveli has enough hooks and attitude to keep those bottles poppin' all night long, and whether or not you remember any of it the next day, it does serve its purpose. ~ David Jeffries
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- Ferrari Boyz [PA] (Mane, Gucci)