When I volunteered to do the review for Young Money’s Rise of an Empire LP, I thought I was doing a good deed for Dead End Hip Hop. Throughout March, the crew reviewed several other releases ranging from mainstream (Mastermind) to semi-underground (Cocaine Pinata). I’m a relatively new contributor for DEHH, therefore I’m still learning how they decide which albums to discuss on a weekly basis. As March drew nearer to a close, I couldn’t help but wonder: “Did they forget about something?” Hmmmm…
On March 31, 2014 I finally realized that Young Money’s Rise of an Empire didn’t make the cut. I immediately contacted Myke C-Town via Twitter to inquire about possibly doing a written review for the site. Upon his approval, I purchased the album and went to work. Honestly, I was really hyped for this assignment. Although I had made other contributions to the site, this would be my first actual review. Plus I was genuinely interested in hearing some new music from the Young Money collective.
What should’ve been a pleasurable listening experience for a casual YMCMB fan quickly became an auditory catastrophe. First off, the title itself Rise of an Empire implicates a musical movement that is illusory at best. In fact, a more appropriate title for this project would’ve been “Young Money’s 2nd String Artists Who Nobody Cares About & Throw Away Tracks from the Flagship Artists” because that’s precisely what it is.
Apparently, Lil Wayne is under the impression that Euro is the next big thing as he is featured on two cuts “We Alright”, “Bang” and one solo “Induction Speech”. Euro’s rhyming is very annoying. He sounds like a failed tough guy seeking redemption in an open-mic poetry night at Barnes & Noble, constantly rhyming the same words over and over and over. On “Induction Speech” he spits: “I can sort of rap. I mean, kind of. Sort of.” Even Euro himself acknowledges his mediocrity. Why is he even on this album?
“Bang” is more uninspired trap music featuring an all-star lineup of nerds: Lil Twist, Euro, and Cory Gunz. Actually, this track is mildly entertaining considering the parties involved. Cory, c’mon dude. I know you’re Peter Panky’s geeky, buck-toothed son. Please stop talking greasy like that. It’s an obvious façade.
“Senile” is an absolute snooze fest. The deadly combination of an unknown producer’s dull production with even duller vocal contributions from Tyga, Nicki Minaj and Lil Wayne had me dozing off on the highway. Drake’s “Trophies” is nothing special. As with Cory Guns, Drake also deploys a fraudulent tough guy persona for a couple verses with lackluster results.
Nicki Minaj’s “Lookin Ass Nigga” is truly nauseating. Throughout the duration of the song all I hear is “nigga nigga nigga nigga nigga”. The fact that she used Malcom X’s photograph to promote this garbage just adds insult to injury. “Moment” is Lil Wayne’s solo contribution to the album. With all the negative criticism he got for “I Am Not A Human Being II” one would think he’d make an effort to redeem himself. Unfortunately, we get more of the same nonsensical rhymes about encounters with females and celebrating for no reason that we’ve come to know him for in recent years.
The only decent song on this LP is “One Time” featuring Lil Twist, Tyga and YG and that’s mainly based on the production. The remaining contributors to the project are Mack Maine, Gudda Gudda & Jae Mill whom are not interesting in any way.
In conclusion, Rise… is a piss-poor offering from a collective who should’ve known better than to release such trash. I don’t know what’s been going on with Young Money lately, but if this album is truly indicative of the label’s future then they won’t be around much longer.
Academic Letter Grade: D-