October 11, 2017

Juelz Santana - What The Game's Been Missing! (2005)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Hip-Hop
Style: Gangsta Rap
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© 2005 Diplomatic Man, Def Jam Records
AllMusic Review by David Jeffries
Dipset member Juelz Santana took two years to release his sophomore album, but he was hardly absent from the scene. Plenty of proper Diplomats releases and twice as many mixtapes have flooded the hood since his debut, and his second solo release date caps off a year where the Dips practically owned half of MTV2's hip-hop programming. Rather than his lukewarm debut, all this Diplomats activity is responsible for the high anticipation What the Game's Been Missing! was graced with, but the album is surprisingly, firmly solo. Diplomats brother Cam'ron makes a big splash with his appearance on "Murda Murda" -- a track that cops the same Ini Kamoze sample as Damian Marley's massive "Welcome to Jamrock" -- but Juelz is responsible for the rest of the numerous highlights and opens the album with a touching, personal conversation between himself and his son. Of course, this is a Diplomats release, so it's only a matter of time before the poignancy of the intro is wiped away by "true tales from the street" that are irresponsible at best, despicable at their worst. There's plenty of redundancy too, but the good news is the Diplomats' stable of producers is at the top of its hook game, churning out memorable beats when it isn't ripping off the Ying Yang Twins. "There It Go (The Whistle Song)" is a thin and way-late attempt to capitalize on the success of "Wait (The Whisper Song)," but on the other hand, "Oh Yes" is a striking and exciting track that stutters a bit of the Marvelettes' "Please Mr. Postman" brilliantly. With a robotic beat and upright bass, the great "Clockwork" sounds like little else in the Dipset catalog, while the easy-flowing "Changes" is a lyrical high point for Santana as he reflects how different things are when you become a father. Contrasting these inspired, mostly personal tracks are the usual cocaine-moving numbers that suggest Santana's still involved in, or at least a fan of, dealing and pushing and the harsh reality that comes with it. "Lil' Boy Fresh" wastes its fresh production with tired hustle lyrics, and even Santana admits in the lyrics that "Gone" drags on and on. The spottiness and putting self-aware fatherhood numbers next to "thug and get paper" numbers are just further proof the Diplomats think track by track rather than album, but this hodgepodge gives Santana more of an identity than his debut did and with twice the hooks.

tags: juelz santana, what the games been missing, 2005, flac,

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