Fetti Profoun

My Conviction
(Paper Chase Records)

Let's start off on a positive note: Fetti Profoun is an immensely talented rapper, capable of spitting 16 witty bars that could dust most competitors at MC battles. And the instrumentation and production here are stellar, from the smooth sitar sample that drives the song "Blue Skies" to the sexy saxophone sample looped throughout "My Symphony." However, as far as Fetti's lyrical content, there has been little progression since Valley Fever, his 2006 debut. My Conviction is an apt title, because (like his debut album) this record is packed with confessional, struggling-in-the-streets songs set to ballad beats. In fact, my biggest gripe with this album is that by track four, I'm already sick of hearing Fetti rap about how he's barely gettin' by, can't pay his bills, works so hard, and just wants some respect, etc. My second-biggest gripe is the distorted, helium-voice effect that pops up in a handful of songs. The track "Where Did I Go Wrong" starts off strong, with a nice jazz piano loop and smooth groove, but then the warbled vocal sample (meant to be the song's hook, I assume) starts bleeding through the choruses and detracts from the track. The same helium-voice invades "Twenty Four" (where it's set alongside samples from speeches by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.) and "What I Feel." The latter is one of the most lyrically strong tracks on the album, with lines like "I guess you could say I was blessed with a curse/'Cause I murder a verse and can't pay rent on the first." If it weren't for the "munchkins are stalking me across 8 Mile" vibe caused by the helium singing, the track could almost be a (gasp!) single. Another song packed with potential is "Long Time Coming," where Fetti lays down some local pride over a soulful groove pulled from '70s R&B: "Arizona's on my backside/I'ma ride 'til the wheels fall off like my last ride." Of the whopping 17 tracks here, at least half show a clear progression from his debut.
 
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