The Good: Production is decent, Catchy
The Bad: SHORT, Poor use of medium, Monotonous after a few spinnings
The Basics: "The Way I Live" is a self-promotional rap single that offers nothing worthwhile to those who bought Baby Boy Da Prince's album (or anyone who likes rap)!
Every now and then, I gladly try my hand at reviewing a c.d. single. The reason for this is simple: oftentimes, these little wastes of space include little or nothing of note to entice listeners or shoppers into buying them. As well, with few tracks, it is hard to truly spend a lot of time or space on them. The best c.d. singles, though, offer listeners a chance to hear their favorite artists' obscure songs which are not available on the full album the artist is releasing. The worst of these contain the primary song and one or two inane remixes. That is exactly where "The Way I Live," the c.d. single by Baby Boy Da Prince falls.
Until yesterday, when I found this c.d. single in my brother's drawer, I had never heard the works of Baby Boy Da Prince, nor had I even heard his name. This rapper just slipped by my radar and as I listen to his overproduced, pointless song, I do not feel at all like I am missing anything by having not heard of him before. "The Way I Live" appears to be the single (I'm unsure if it ever became a hit, but I would not be surprised if it didn't) Baby Boy Da Prince used to try to sell his full album, "Across The Water." What makes "The Way I Live" so bad in my book? Well, the four-track single has the same song twice, the song without the lyrics (no loss) and then just the refrain shouted out. Because there is not so much as a b-side on this disc, it gets tiresome with ridiculous speed.
With only 4 tracks, occupying 15:06 on a compact disc, "The Way I Live" appears to be a collaborative work of Baby Boy Da Prince and a production crew at Universal Republic Records. Baby Boy Da Prince is a co-writer of the song, but he is not credited with any production or instrumental credit on the album. The c.d. single has only four tracks, the radio-edit of "The Way I Live," the explicit version of "The Way I Live," the instrumental version of "The Way I Live" and a "Callout" (the refrain played one last time for those who didn't get it ad nauseum from the regular tracks). Baby Boy Da Prince does not even carry the entire single with on the vocals, as this song features "Lil Boosie" (yes, they dragged out the big names of rap for this release!). In other words, Baby Boy Da Prince is yet another label-manufactured effort that is a collaboration of talents in the desperate attempt to make money off rap listeners.
What is arguably the most offensive aspect of "The Way I Live" (other than its short duration and repetitive nature) is that the song is the type of rap-fluff popularized by artists like Eminem where the song is pretty much just about the rapper rapping about themselves. Baby Boy Da Prince is not advancing any social agenda, he's not even singing about sex or violence, he's just singing about himself. As a result, the song "The Way I Live" sounds more like a jingle (an advertisement) than it does a coherent musical work.
Moreover, Baby Boy Da Prince is not the most impressive lyricist, even when all he is doing is selling himself. His rhymes are predictable and blase, as evidenced when he drones out "I’m a young little dude, stay runnin’ from cops. / Emerald Row is the place where I got my props. / People love me in da hood they don’t want me to stop. / So uhh, that’s the only way I know how to rock. / And I’m a stay rappers like won’t stop ‘til I drop" ("The Way I Live"). The most unique or atypical rhyme on the song is when Baby Boy Da Prince rhymes "bent" and "tent." And yes, there is the old stalwart, rhyming "inside" with "ride." It is utterly unsurprising when he rhymes "up" with itself.
The edit version contains pounding bass, loud keyboards and all the instrumental quality that can come out of a production booth. This song sounds manufactured to be a hit single and the melody is a simple, singsong progression that listeners might not notice only because it is done using bass-carrying instruments (if you put the same tune to a flute, listeners would just be like "what the heck is that?! My kid could play that!"). Instrumentally, the explicit version is virtually identical. In fact, all that changes is the failure to edit out "pimp" and “shit” and the addition of a stanza where the n-word is dropped. As well, the moronic refrain is played an additional time or two. The instrumental version is the most interesting and that track actually puts rests in amid the pounding bassline, so it sounds at first like the c.d. is skipping. Without the ridiculous lyrics, "The Way I Live" is exposed for just what it is: overproduced, oversimple aural garbage. At least by mixing it up by putting in the silent spots every few seconds, the track is not a complete loss.
Vocally, Baby Boy Da Prince sounds like virtually every other tenor-baritone rapper and he sounds like he is trying to be Will Smith. He mumbles though his lines as if he is intoxicated or bored with the lines as he was singing them. It is of little consequence, by the time the callout track goes through "This is the way I live. / Lil’ Boy still pushin’ big wheels / I stack my money, lay low, and chill. / Don’t need to work hard that’s the way I feel, I feel, I / This is the way I live" one last time, the listener is equally bored.
To compare this song to other rap songs seems mostly pointless, it is not quite like any one. It does, however, seem like a hyperbole (or parody) of an Eminem song in that it is entirely self-promoting and is loaded with references that might as well be product placements (i.e. Ray-Ban). There is no sense of social commentary like Public Enemy or Ludacris have in their lines or anything so catchy as a 2 Live Crew jingle.
In other words, this short waste of a compact disc is unworth the time or attention of anyone who likes music. It's almost a surprise Baby Boy Da Prince has a new album coming out . . .
For other rap reviews, please check out my reviews of:
Speakerboxxx/The Love Below - OutKast
Fear Of A Black Planet - Public Enemy
3D - TLC
Check out how this single stacks up against every other album or single I have reviewed, please visit my Music Review Index Page for a listing of all my music reviews from best to worst work!
© 2013, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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