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Consequence – Don’t Quit Your Day Job
I was excited to see that Consequence’s solo album has finally been released. Unfortunately, it isn’t very good. Consequence has certainly had an interesting rap career and one that you can read about in-depth at others places, so real quick…debuts on Tribe’s ‘Beats, Rhymes, and Life’, disappears for awhile, is picked up by Kanye and appears on ‘Spaceship’ from ‘College Dropout’ and since then, has been bouncing around, popping up on Kanye-related projects and dropping a few mixtapes, one of which, ‘Take Em’ the the Cleaners’ is ridiculously good and overlooked and is seriously one of my favorite rap albums of all time but I’ve got some weird case of 2004 Nostalgia, so my opinion may be suspect. Anyways…there’s been talk since ‘College Dropout’ about a Consequence solo album and it seems like he’s gone through the typical label drama in addition to all the other stuff described above. With all of that stuff happening to him, you’d think he’d have more to say about his situation than he does.

The album begins well, with ‘Job Song’ where we are introduced to Cons’ specific drawl and an appropriately introductory-sounding beat. The content of the song picks up where ‘Spaceship’ leaves off and indeed, shares some of that song’s mixture of frustration and defiance, but the album never moves beyond it. Almost every song gives the listener a similar feeling and we’re left with a fairly stagnant album. There isn’t that much insight provided, nothing as bittersweet as Cons’ ‘Spaceship’ verse where he recounts someone telling him he “look[s] just like/This kid I seen in an old Busta Rhymes video the other night”. Consequence doesn’t seem to have enough to say to hold-up an entire album and he can’t really write a catchy hook, so we’re left with Consequence’s mediocre rapping seguing into 50 Cent-ish chants also sung by Consequence (‘Callin Me’, ‘Pretty Little Sexy Mama’). There’s little room for variation or even counterpoint, the two aspects that generally make a rap album succeed.

The production as well, is incredibly lacking, all of the songs give me the same feeling as Kanye’s ‘Heard Em’ Say’. The beats here are just too soft, in the sense of having no weight to them, no grit; they feel lighter than air. Certainly this style of production fits Consequence better than if he were to rap on some Southern-sounding beats or something but these beats sound afraid to do anything. Using familiar soul samples and flute loops and doing little that is new with them, they end up feeling like background music. Otherwise competent to legitimately interesting producers like 88 Keyes and Nottz appear on the album (in addition to Kanye) but no one really fairs very well. Other than ‘Job Song’ which works but still feels incredibly thin, the only notable songs are old-ass Kanye productions (‘The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly’ and ‘Grammy Family’). I won’t fault the album, for including these songs, however, I will say that they negatively affect the album because these tracks feel so much different and well, better than the rest. There’s real weight to ‘Grammy Family’ as in it makes you feel something. The drums actually knock, it feels dense and full; exciting to listen to. Interestingly, the generally downbeat feeling of the song, along with Kanye’s rather angry verse fit Cons “all this fame could be gone at any moment” theme better than any of the songs in which Consequence is the focus. Most of the production feels like a sunny day in elementary school or something, while ‘Grammy Family’ feels dark and uplifting.

The lack of interesting production combined with Consequence’s limited lyrical interest does not make for much to enjoy. You can almost hear the seams of the album as it is held together by older, already-known Kanye tracks and some weak skits. Skits have been the bane of a rap album’s success for a long time. By now, most rappers wisely ignore them altogether or create skits that weave in and out of the actual music, adding atmosphere. The skits on ‘Don’t Quit Your Day Job’ construct a pseudo-narrative to the album that is implicit if you’ve ever heard ‘Spaceship’ and if you’re buying or listening to ‘Don’t Quit Your Day Job’ you probably have heard ‘Spaceship’ so it’s another aspect of the album that feels a bit pointless.

Consequence stretches himself very thin here. He raps alone on most of the songs, about the same topic (it’s a concept album with no trajectory), over consistently weak beats, even singing most of his own hooks, so there’s nowhere for anything to go. I just cannot imagine that Consequence is proud of this album; it’s so devoid of actual personality but I’m not sure why. Consequence isn’t exactly the most charismatic or individual rapper out there but he’s gotta have some stuff to say, it seems as though he is overwhelmed when given an entire album to himself.

Written by Brandon

March 13th, 2007 at 7:59 am