I'm slowly becoming convinced that Prodigy has become the latest train wreck in Hip Hop. Eleven months ago fans were given the godawful H.N.I.C. 3, an album so bad that it received the lowest score I've ever given to something I've reviewed. Well he's back at it again with Albert Einstein. Produced entirely by The Alchemist, Albert Einstein is an album that fixes some of the issues I had with his previous effort, but I still feel like Prodigy has truly forgotten how to be an MC.
The best thing about this album is the production, so let's start with that. This is his second Alchemist-exclusive album following 2007's Return of the Mac. Alchemist continues to solidify himself as one of the most consistent producers around. From start to finish Albert Einstein is dark, it's grimy, and, at times, it's slightly groovy. If I was looking at this album from a pure production standpoint it would be nearly perfect. The only beat I wasn't too fond of was the album's closer, "Say My Name". Other than that each beat was wonderfully crafted and I really hope that we get to hear an instrumental version of this album somewhere down the line.
Unfortunately, Hip Hop is not all about the production. For an album to be good you need solid production coupled with solid lyricism and you only get one half of that formula on Albert Einstein. One of my biggest complaints with H.N.I.C. 3 was all the corny love songs and the generic subject matter. Thankfully Prodigy has done away with all that. He's returned to the grimy material that fans of Mobb Deep have grown to love and that's greatly appreciated. However, another issue I had with his last album was the fact that a lot of the lyrics just didn't rhyme. I don't know about you, but in my eyes rhyming is essential if you want to call yourself an MC.
Now I'm not of the mindstate that every bar needs to rhyme. On the contrary, if you can smoothly transition your bars by not rhyming then go for it. However, I don't want to hear an entire verse where you don't rhyme at all. Here's a snippet from track eight, "Y.N.T.": "Nobody talkin' to me, nobody takin' pictures. You a fan? Name a song on my new album. And buy my s***, you dummy motherf***er. I'm not these other n****s, a mandatory rap listen. Got mami with the gun up in her p**** wrapped up with saran wrap. Clap through then I boogie to the next episode like my n**** Nate Dogg. Through a bottle in the air, then break ya'll."
From that snippet he rhymed twice. Twice! And that's not even the entire verse. In that whole verse he only rhymed three times. I'm sorry, but no. That's not how you write a verse. The thing is, this is a common thing that plagues the entire album. Then when he's not forgetting to rhyme, he's forgetting how to provide dope rhymes. Majority of his bars are generic and predictable and, in some cases, they sound forced. I have a hard time understanding how this is the same guy who helped give us The Infamous, Hell on Earth, and Murda Muzik.
After the overload of terrible guests on H.N.I.C. 3 I was surprised when I found out that Albert Einstein only contained five guests. This time around we actually get spitters as Roc Marciano, Havoc, Raekwon, and Action Bronson each provide a guest verse. You also get a guest verse from Domo Genesis on "Y.N.T.", but his verse, like that entire song, is terrible. Marciano contributed a nice verse, as did Rakwon and Havoc. Action Bronson, on the other hand, was kind of 50/50. He started and ended really strong, but in the middle he started rambling about Ninja Turtles and Urkel and it kind of lost me.
Standout Songs: "Stay Dope" & "Dough Pildin"
Overall Score: 6/10 - The only reason the score is this high is because of the production provided by Alchemist. I'm trying really hard not to lose faith in Prodigy as a long-time fan of Mobb Deep, but he's making that extremely difficult. His lyricism is almost nonexistent on a good chunk of this album and a lot of his rhymes feel forced and uncomfortable. I would recommend giving it a listen on the production alone. While Albert Einstein is still a disappointing effort from a lyrical standpoint, the end result is a thousand times better than H.N.I.C. 3.
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