Review : Plies - Goon Affiliated
RapreviewsHe's as loud as he is proud. He's Florida to the death but loves his "goons" even more, proudly bragging that he singlehandedly added the term to the hip-hop lexicon. The term predates rap usage by at least 90 years though, having become slang for a muscular (and usually dimwitted) gun for hire, backing up any criminal enterprise that pays enough for his/her services. The negative connotation is the same reason some hockey players are called goons - it's assumed they are on the ice for the purpose of beating up other players rather than their skill at passing or scoring. Plies defines his goons the same way - they're loud, they're strong, and they hit real hard. These are positive traits when you come from the world Plies does, where the strong do battle with the strong, and the more goons you have on your team the more likely you are to survive (nevermind the innocent bystanders and casualties) in battle.
Curiously for Plies he's achieved success on three straight albums by combining his unrelenting love of being REAL and supporting his GOONS with surprisingly urban contemporary crossover rap songs like "Shawty" and "Please Excuse My Hands." Even though Algernod Lanier Washington may be the goonest of all rappers from the Southeast to ply his trade - giving Trick Daddy and Rick Ross a run for their money as Florida's Heavyweight Champion - it's his ballads with R&B singers that put gold plaques on his walls. That's why even on the 15 tracks of "Goon Affiliated," featuring some of his surliest sonnets to date, you'll still find a big radio song like "Kitty Kitty" produced by Fisha & Pryce with Trey Songz on the hook.
"I'm lookin for the right kitty, nice walk, nice fur
She got a real strong stance, with a real soft purr
Want a clean kitty who don't like the hogs and the dirt
Wanna lay in your lap - rub her face in your shirt
And she's super super timid - she don't like to move first
Got a solid little frame with a nice set of curves
And she sleep in her box - what I love about her
Love to hang by herself, love to stand in front a mirror
Got nice long legs, look good in a skirt
And her hair just flow..."
Plies knows which side his bread is buttered on, so with all due respect to all of his goons be they his friends or fans, expect one or two songs like this on every Plies album until Plies stops MAKING albums. I nearly thought he did - after three albums in two years I got to the point I expected one new Plies CD every six months. When the last one failed to go gold though Plies may have realized he was flooding the market and he should slow it down a bit, and I think that was for the best. By the time he came back with "Goon Affiliated" I was ready for more of his raspy Florida drawl, and judging by the club and chart success of the J.R. Rotem produced "Becky" the public was too - though this song needed MUCH more cleaning up to get radio play:
"I'm on this liquor, oh so heavy
Befo' we fuck, can you neck me?
A little head and I am ready
I want yo' vibe, gimme that Becky!"
Without going further you can get the general idea that every line of the song is a reference to a sex act, sexual position or sexual favor. It's raunchy enough to be a 2 Live Crew song, though they made edited versions of 2 Live Crew albums too. Of course explicitness is a Plies trademark you'll find throughout his tracks, and "Flaw" exemplifies this trait - he's barking at fakes in the intro before the song even begins: "I wouldn't give a damn if you was a kin to me bruh, I don't fuck with you at all!" Over the big banging Big Jones beat, he returns to form from his previous three CD's and once again reminds us what's "real" and what's "fake," and anyone who is fake is "Flaw" and therefore worthy of either dismissal or violent retribution. Violence is definitely one of Plies' hallmarks too and he's unapologetic about it - after all he's wearing a ski-mask and scowling at the buyer on the album's cover. He's so enamored with his thuggery he declares that he's "a million dollar nigga" that ought to stick himself up on the confusing but amusing "Rob Myself."...full text
AllmusicStarting with the cover photograph, Goon Affiliated looks like a standard issue Plies release, one that falls right in line with his satisfying debut trilogy of albums. That scrappy trio of releases successfully argued that goon rap is all about staying the course and sneaking in the radio numbers, but the gritty rapper's fourth release is slightly off balance, made wobbly by a complete disregard for anything slick. “Go Live” is loud and proud to be a gangster, “Bruh Bruh” is the kind of silliness that's brightened the man's previous efforts, and the great “Look Like” with Young Jeezy and Fabolous suggests Plies should put more collaborative tracks on his releases. All three are the kind of irresponsible bravado fans crave, but leaving the pre-release promo single “Medicine” with Keri Hilson off the final official release deprives the album of some desirable polish. Plies refuses to give an inch throughout the album, and with producers like J.R. Rotem, the J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, and Zaytoven all joining in the street spirit, things get downright narrow. Without even the slightest concessions, Goon Affiliated isn't the Plies album to start with, but fans who never wanted their gutter hero on the radio to begin with should file this next to their favorite mixtape....full text
NytimesIn 1863 Charles Baudelaire suggested a modernity test for painters. It would be in how they depicted courtesans of their time. He said the painters had to be able to record “the carriage, the gaze, the come-hitherishness” of these women. Because therein lives spirit of the age, something that can’t be cribbed off the masters.
Charles, meet Terius Nash, also known as The-Dream. He depicts unchaste women for a living. He first got a leg up writing R&B for other people, particularly “Umbrella” for Rihanna. That was three long years ago, and now Mr. Nash is on his third solo album, writing and producing and singing.
Lately he has been receiving some criticism for his extraordinary focus or, if you like, his lack of breadth — so much that he recently threatened to quit making records. But there’s something about his persona Baudelaire might have liked: his obsession with surfaces, the endless trysting, the strings of brand names, the way he concentrates his talent in pursuit of casual pleasures, so casual he seems to barely even feel them. Not everything he makes is great, but everything he makes is modern. (Even when he’s copying Prince. Even when he’s copying R. Kelly.) His best work feels quick and intuitive.
In “Make Up Bag” you hear finger snaps on the two and four, digital bass tones with Taser voltage, a piano plinking around an A-minor chord. There’s a trite little narrative: He’s been cheating on his girlfriend and actually has lipstick on his collar. But he’s been through this before.
The chorus brings his lousy advice: “If you ever get your girlfriend mad/Don’t let your good girl go bad/Drop five stacks on a make up bag.” Gracefully he hammers it in: “The make up bag. The make up bag. The make up bag. The make up bag.”
The song’s flaw is that it’s a little confusing. He’s talking about buying a purse, not a cosmetics container, to make up for his indiscretions. Its glory is how complicated a symbol the bag becomes: wealth, treachery, shallowness, his own power and anxiety, his girlfriend’s. Somewhere in there the narrator knows how craven he is. But The-Dream knows that he’s just repeating four syllables that sound good together. That’s it, that’s all. By the time you work this out, there’s a good chance you want to hear it again.
There are similar small-scale epiphanies in the title track, on which, over a luxurious, summery beat with a piano bass line rolling upward by half-tones, he catalogs his girlfriends by their preference in footwear, liquor, airlines and data plans. And in parts of “Turnt Out,” on which he sings in falsetto about sexual positions for most of four and a half minutes, he tries to beat Prince at his own game....full text
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