Review: Young Money – We Are Young Money

young moneyArtist: Various [Young Money]
Album: We Are Young Money
Genre: Hip Hop
Label: Cash Money/Young Money/Universal

Lil Wayne’s imprint label, Young Money Entertainment, has officially launched with a full roster and what better way to showcase his exceptional young hip hop talent than by releasing a compilation album? We Are Young Money, which hits stores today, is that album. Over the course of 15 tracks, Wayne and the label’s roster [which includes Drake, Tyga, Jae Millz, Gudda Gudda, and more] take turns dropping their hottest verses on some of the most diverse beats to find there way onto a single album this year. However, the large gathering of artists [which leads to few appearances by some of the bigger names, aka, Drake] and lack of coherency may leave some wondering why this album wasn’t left for the mix tape scene.

**Before this begins: Lil Wayne is on the majority of the album as this is his label, but the point of the record is to showcase his roster, not him, so I will do my best to not mention his contributions unless they merit mentioning.**

Opening up We Are Young Money and, in a way, officially introducing us to the Young Money family, is “Gooder” which is sure to leave speakers smoking thanks to a great beat from Brizzy Blaize. Jae Millz kicks things off with some heavy delivery that lacks substance, but display his wordplay skills quite well. Wayne appears on this track [and nearly every one on the album] with a hook that keeps the energy high before handing things over for Gudda Gudda and Mack Maine to destroy. This is followed by the longtime friend of the mix tape scene, “Every Girl” which is still just as catchy as ever before thanks mainly to the shooting star that is Drake. He trumps everyone, including Wayne on not only this track, but the entire record. His talent and range is undeniable and this track is a perfect example of that.

As the album moves on, we’re given a much better look at some of the lesser known names [well, everyone outside of Drake and Wayne and maybe Tyga – AKA, the ones not in the mainstream] and “Ms. Parker” kicks this off quite well giving Gudda Gudda one of his hottest verses to date. The fire continues to burn bright with T. Wayne and Jae Millz taking over the very lackluster beat of “Wife Beater.” This is made up though, via “New Shit” and “Pass The Dutch” which features all of the truly talented males on the label with great fury. “Dutch” is destined to become a late night anthem as its slow beat and the pacing of each artist is perfect for maximizing the relaxation meets party lifestyle that Young Money talk about 24/7.

It’s at this point, a little less than halfway through the record, that we begin to hit sketchy water. “Play in My Band” sounds like a rejected track from the forever delayed Rebirth and Shanell’s verse is less the impressive. Later, tracks like “Girl I Got You” which sounds more like a disaster than a club banger and “She is Gone” do absolutely nothing for Young Money or hip hop in general. Also, “Steady Mobbin'” is all Lil Wayne [and Gucci Mane], which is NOT YOUNG MONEY. Listen, I get it, it’s Wayne’s label, but that doesn’t mean he can toss an extra mix tape track onto the record. This is to showcase the people he’s paying to make him money, not to showcase Wayne’s rap, we know that game quite well.

Luckily, the back half of the album isn’t a complete loss. “Roger That,” “F*ck Da Bulls,” and the accurately titled “Finale” are some of the heaviest tracks on the whole record. Add to this the blazing single, “Bed Rock” and you’ve got enough solidity to keep the album afloat. However, there is no denying the fight I had with myself to make it through the back portion of this album [every time I listen/listened to it].

Outside of the flat out throw away tracks on the record, the large amount of artists looking for face time causes a lot of the more solid tracks to waver in quality due to the variations in styles and flows. I’m all for working together, being a cohesive unit, and making a label/business a family [that’s what we do at UTG], but We Are Young Money is so diverse and uneven that it begs us to question why it wasn’t simply a mix tape. Also, what exactly are we promoting by having 5 artists on every track, but none of the artists [outside of Wayne] have albums that even have release dates announced. This album is promoting a label that hasn’t announced anything from it’s superb caliber of talent that we’ll be excited for post listening to this. Sure, Drake has an album due in the Spring, but he’s only on 4 tracks. Millz is on almost half the record and has no due date for a solo record [though there is a mix tape coming apparently]. Why work on a major release with all your artists when they individually have nothing going? It just seems like an excuse to make bank when there’s nothing else really bringing in cash [except Drake’s phenomenal EP]. So yes, it’s a solid hip hop record, but is it worth $15? That’s for you to decide.

Score: 7.5/10

James Shotwell
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