Fabolous

Street Dreams (Elektra)

On his sophomore turn, Fabolous sounds as if he's sleepwalking through his Street Dreams. With a languid, stoned flow reminiscent of a less God-fearing Mase, Fabolous' rhymes are hypnotic and enveloping at their best. But the 23-year-old Brooklyn MC and would-be Tupac incarnate seldom lives up to his potential here, and he seems to admit as much: "Thug enough to do better/But gangsta enough to not give a fuck," he says on the album's opening cut, where he's also dumb enough to flaunt his flaws.

What's more, the album's handful of highlights sound all too familiar: "My Life" rides a hook borrowed from Mary J. Blige's debut; "Damn" bites Sugarhill Gang's "Rapper's Delight" and steals its slinky, libidinous beat from the Neptunes; "Up on Things" wallows in Dr. Dre's trademark G-funk production, with numinous keys and a Snoop Dogg cameo. It's fitting that guest rhymer Paul Cain name-checks Eddie Murphy's The Adventures of Pluto Nash midway through Street Dreams: Both are big-budget bombs.

 
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