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It takes talent to make the struggle to succeed seem effortless, but that is the gift that separates artists like Brooklyn's John Jackson, aka Fabolous, from the everyday MC. While most rappers spend more and more time convincing the masses of their hustle, Fabolous lets his work speak for his effort. With two platinum albums (2001's Ghetto Fabolous and 2003's Street Dreams) and one Gold (2004's Real Talk) to his credit, the veteran hitmaker still exudes a rookie-of-the year swagger. After recording for both Elektra and Atlantic Records, Fab is enjoying a home coming with the legendary Def Jam label.His first recorded song was If They Want It from DJ Clue's The Professional, which wasreleased by Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam in 1998. Now he is preparing to release his fourth street classic, From Nothin' to Somethin' under the watchful eye of his longtime collaborators. Fabolous will release his long-awaited new fourth album, FROM NOTHIN' TO SOMETHIN', on June 12th. Alongside Ne-Yo, Timbaland and Young Jeezy, the album features producers such as Just Blaze, Jermaine Dupri, Polow Da Don, Jazzy Pha, Steve Morales and guest stars include Rihanna, Akon, Swizz Beats, and Lloyd.
It's hard to catch a break when you're Fabolous. Though his skills as a manufacturer of blazing-hot street bangers and pop-crossover hits have not gone unnoticed by the hip-hop hype machine, the Brooklyn rapper hasn't come close to matching 50-Cent and similarly gifted superstars in the sales department. Which accounts for his decision, with album No. 4, to do somethin' about it. From Nothin' to Somethin' rounds up a massive herd of talent--Akon is here, and so are Swiss Beatz, Rihanna, Young Jeezy, Jay-Z, Lloyd, Junior Reid, Ne-Yo, and T-Pain. It's a little hard to locate Fabo on "Change Up," the Akon track, but otherwise he goes about spreading his Fabolousness throughout: "Diamonds," a bling-centric track with Jeezy, benefits from a borrowed take-it-easy Southern drawl, "Brooklyn" brings it home for New York with a spirit seldom seen since the East Coast/West Coast war was at its nastiest, and "Return of the Hustle" solidifies a career built on street cred with an asphalt-hot beat. Start to finish, but especially on the Timbaland-helmed "Make Me Better," production is top-notch. If there's a disc that can restore the fabulousness to being Fabolous, Somethin' is it. --Tammy La Gorce