Fannypack
So Stylistic
Tommy Boy
2003
B+

as the summer rushes headlong into its second half, it’s perhaps a pertinent portion of information to note: at least half of the hottest summer jams have been made by females. Let’s review: “Rock Wit U,” “Magic Stick,” “Crazy in Love,” “Never Leave You” and “Cameltoe.” The inevitable question for those without the benefit of file-sharing software, then, becomes “which of these songs necessitates a purchase of a full-length album?” The answer may surprise you.


That’s right. Despite the obvious novelty of the first single, “Cameltoe,” the entirety of So Stylistic matches and exceeds many of the more high-profile and established female hip-hop acts of this summer. Because, at a time when Beyonce wants people to appreciate her for her mind and her singing voice, Ashanti is growing up and Lil’ Kim has reverted back to her gangster sex-pot image perhaps the time is ripe for pure, unadulterated fun. And this is all this record is: one long sugar rush.


Emerging as an almost direct contrast to Northern State’s debut effort, the girls from Fannypack rarely worry about creating the densest or most erudite rhymes. Take “Things,” which contains the lines: “I love my man/He’s the best/His hugs, his kisses/All the rest/His touch his voice/He’s so fly/These here things/Make me high.” Not exactly a Shakespearean sonnet, admittedly- but the song’s genius lies little in the actual words that they say and more in the exuberance expressed in their inflection.


But, discounting the party rhymes and boasts, the production on the record stands as a peon to Miami bass. Matt Goias and Fancy helm the production on each song, mining the 808 drum machine’s capabilities to the hilt. Giving the music a distinct New York flavor, then, the girls and producers have unwittingly updated the early sounds of New York hip-hop probably more faithfully than the group they are most compared to- Northern State. But authenticity is never the issue, there’s no unpacking to be done, these issues simply don’t enter into the picture.


So much so that the group even goes so far to introduce “All Around” as their least favorite song on the record. And, better than any critic could, the group’s concession is on target. The hook for the song is a bit too simplistic to fully work and the music doesn’t quite mesh in the way that the best of the more Miami-influenced tracks do. Thankfully, the song clocks in at only three minutes, perhaps with the realization that it only offers up interest from its introduction.


The girls rhyme about their daily life- school, music, dancing, hanging out, and boys- not caring for the trappings of history or the idea that there is something at stake. Instead, the only thing at stake is your body. If it’s dancing, you’re listening to the record. If you’re not, you’re just thinking too much or, as one Fannypack girl aptly describes, you may just have a “hippopotamus butt.”


Reviewed by: Todd Burns
Reviewed on: 2003-09-01
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