"When we say it's a classic album, we truly mean it's a classic album," says Shaka Zulu, co-CEO of Disturbing Tha Peace Records. Smoke and Shawn Jay, the two men in Field Mob, stood beside him in the DJ booth at Club Frequency in Buckhead. This was a listening party for Field Mob's third album, Light Poles and Pine Trees, and since Geffen Records chose not to send out advance promo copies (citing the usual bootlegging concerns), it would be the only time most of the several dozen industry folk milling about the club would hear it before it hit the streets Tues., June 20.
Both rocking pearly white baseball caps, Smoke and Shawn Jay played the cut-up hosts. Introducing "Baby Bend Over," Smoke said, "It's a booty song, and for those that don't know what a booty is ... it's a butt." Then he cued up "Smilin'" which, on the surface, sounded like one of the album's stronger cuts. The chorus went, "You be smilin' when I'm frownin'/You be frownin' when I'm smilin'/You be happy when I'm sad/But when I'm mad, you get mad." After the song finished, Smoke remarked, "I sound like a preacher."
So is Light Poles and Pine Trees a classic? Honestly, I couldn't tell. The sound levels were booming; some tracks knocked while others didn't. "Blacker the Berry," for example, is a moody concept piece where Smoke notes how his dark skin sometimes leads other black people to hate on him. "They said I was so dark that I sweat out coffee," he raps on a track that interpolates 2Pac's "Keep Your Head Up" lyric, "They say the darker the berry, the sweeter the juice." It seemed like a song best heard on a CD, not in a nightclub.
Smoke and Shawn Jay closed out the session with "So What," their current Billboard Top 20 hit with Ciara, and the majestic "Georgia" collaboration with DTP co-CEO Ludacris. They then headed outside to the patio for a brief interview. Perpetually wound up, they cracked jokes and clowned while crumbling up a pinchful of weed and rolling a blunt.
Field Mob is a pair of funny guys who are also really talented, and several of the songs on Light Poles and Pine Trees, particularly "Blacker the Berry" and "Georgia," prove that Smoke and Shawn Jay are dope MCs. "That's exactly our problem. We have too much of a personality sometimes," says Shawn Jay. "We're anything but typical."
ooooohhhh, I'm so excited!! I can't wait to see them together!
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