Any serious-minded artist who chooses to make a fun departure is bound to face criticism. In the rap community, the criticism is even more severe than in other genres. Can you imagine Public Enemy following up Fear Of A Black Planet with a beach-party-theme album? Or KRS-One doing a Puff-Daddy style album? Hell no.
And for Goodie Mob, they've met with the same criticism with World Party, their latest album. Their debut album Soul Food was rooted in innovative rhythms and social-conscious lyrics. With Outkast, their labelmates and friends, Goodie Mob was helping to build the new South as THE area to be, region-wise. The revolution was not going to be on the West or East coast, it would be straight outta Atlanta.
In the spirit of Midnight Marauders, a deftly underrated album by A Tribe Called Quest, Goodie Mob dropped World Party late last year. Like Midnight Marauders, World Party, according to die-hard fans, should not have swayed from the original, positive message the band portrayed in earlier releases. With the Lionel Richie-influenced "All Night Long" party vibe of the first two songs, "Invitation To The World," and the title track, you get the feeling that this album is aimed at those tired of studying and want to throw their hair down.
Slight problem, however. The departure is forgivable, even encouraged, but bring some innovation while you're bringing the party to the speakers. The sexy drawl of "Dip" and "All As" should be compelling by the lyrical tag-team of Cee-Lo, Khujo, T-Mo and Big Gipp, but they never take off.
The production of Organized Noise lifts some of the songs off the ground. By using such non-traditional instruments such as bongos, the production crew get things moving in the positive direction with songs like "Get Rich To This" and "Street Corner." And the b-horror music background addition to the song "Chain Swang" fits perfect into what Goodie Mob was trying to make with this album.
However, the entire things just doesn't gel. With the exception of "Cutty Buddy," which sounds as fun as the title implies, the last half of the album's highlights are few and far between. In "What It Ain't," supergroup TLC comes in and tries to add some much-needed sassiness to the mixture. However, the song just can't utilize both of the band's talents.
Spotty, but forgivable, World Party can be perceived as a small bump in the road from what seems like a promising career for Goodie Mob. Yeah, you can be socially conscious and still have a good time, but Goodie Mob has to tighten their MC skills a bit and work on creating some truly innovative music structures to make you want to join their party.