Hip-hop is cold. The listeners are even colder.
For the last three years, Mistah F.A.B. delivered three extraordinary bodies of work with his I Found My Backpack series. All the thoughts from his mind that make up concepts like how our generation is lost, what’s deemed “cool” in our culture and much more flooded the three albums. The music isn’t anywhere near the Yellow Bus Rydah persona that most became acquainted with during the prominent days of the Hyphy movement. Off that era, a lot of people wrote him off like it was some fad, and, yeah, it was. But that exact reason is what is troubling.
Fans of hip-hop are unforgiving. Seeing F.A.B. take the movement and sort of build his whole rise in this game around it was, at the time, a smart move, but it also hindered his progress in the long run. An err that he’ll even admit in his rhymes. Most folks don’t know about his conscious, “backpack” style rap that he did prior or now after. “Generation Lost,” “Return Of The Boom Bap,” “Bring The Classics Back,” “All Slavery,” “100 Bars,” etc. A majority of people who may have listened to him during Hyphy du jour don’t know those songs. A lot of people who may not even have listened to the Bay native don’t know the depth of them either.
See, this is where his career has become a little bittersweet from the outside looking in. Sure, Mistah F.A.B. is grinder. He’s always on tour, owns his own restaurant and is always working, not to mention the respect he gets within the game. Yeah, that’s what success is about. Making sure he can eat off this business and feed his daughter. Still, this seems like a story where the artist should be much bigger than he is, right?
This same exact position can be compared to that of Trae Tha Truth. In 2007, he was getting prime verses from the likes of Lil Wayne, Jadakiss and many more while still being a relatively unknown name outside of Texas. He works around the clock too, and has been in this game for over a decade. He’s just now starting to break into the masses after signing with T.I.’s Grand Hustle label last year. Is this to say Mistah F.A.B. should sign a deal under an artist or even a major label to gain more popularity? No. Trae didn’t do it for that reason, either.
Year after year, we see the rise of artists who are just coming into the game off one hot song. Then, get signed, crank out a half-assed album and fade away. Someone like F.A.B. might not be making these big popular singles for radio but he certainly delivers an album worthy of start to finish listening. It sucks we live in an industry that doesn’t give that as much credit as it deserves. We’re fed a couple bites of good music and then the plate arrives to low grade. A lot of the time, it’s not even finishable.
It’s bigger than just one or two artists. This is something viewable by anyone who is in-depth in music. Think for a moment, we all know one artist who is incredibly good and underrated. Someone who has been around that can drop an album and not get countless interviews, millions of radio spins and whatever else is necessary to reach mainstream success.
But to go back to our main subject… If skills sold, Mistah F.A.B. would be considered one of the top artists in hip-hop currently. He’s the voice that a generation needs to be inspired and motivated. Aside from that factor, the music is thought-provoking on the level of a Lupe Fiasco or a Kendrick Lamar. You may never dance to another one of his records again, and that’s just fine. With Son Of A Pimp 2 set to be chalk full of big guest features, including K. Dot, 2 Chainz, Wiz Khalifa and more, hopefully this album will put him back into a mainstream light or at least propel him to get more support that he deserves.
Purchase: Mistah F.A.B. – I Found My Backpack 3