Album Reviews

Pretty Ricky – Bluestars

(Atlantic) UK release date: 26 September 2005

Unfortunately Pretty Ricky is not one egotist named Richard, so I can’t just sit and slag off his arrogance. Instead, Bluestars introduces us to Pleasure, Slick �Em, Baby Blue and Spectacular who all have equally ridiculous names. This band of brothers though have much more to offer than crazy nicknames.

Playhouse gives a brash hint of what the album has to offer – that is smooth as silk beats and delivery juxtaposed with frankly disgusting lyrics (“I’mma eat your body out like lunch” being just an early example). Unsurprisingly the track is all about sex and not improvisation in the absence of plates.

Your Body is less hard-hitting, with a completely laid back beat eerily reminiscent of Dr Dre and Snoop Dogg‘s Nuthin’ But A G Thang and enforce the Miami sunshine feel that Pretty Ricky (supposedly) embody. That makes way for the album’s lead single Grind With Me which has undoubtedly been the R’n’R anthem of the summer.

Unfortunately that means it has already been played to death and turned into a real music tone available for the small price of your soul paid for through a reverse billed price text message. The inevitable flick of the skip button leads to Get A Little Closer, another sexy track although is infinitely grittier thanks to the rapping. That’s not to gloss over the lyrics that are, in places, vulgar.

There are more standard ballads in the shape of Never Let You Go and Nothing But a Number however the former benefits from the ingenious use of a sample from Van Halen‘s Ain’t Talking �Bout Love. While tracks like Juicy seem like vain attempts to emulate the likes of Usher and 112, but the results are far from positive.

Where the foursome step out of their apparent comfort zones and take to a different sound Bluestars begins to shine. Firstly with Grill ‘Em, produced by Pretty Ricky and Sarcazm. It is a simple track based around material goods that happen to be blue, however it is the dark and heavy hip-hop beat that makes the track glisten. There’s even a loop of an automatic weapon being fired as an almost direct reference to Tupac and Bone Thugz N Harmony‘s Thug Love.

The other highlight is Chevy which could be the anthem for the Pimp My Ride generation, with endless modifications listed as well as shouts to the likes of Ludacris with his lines being copied. The beat comprises an electro infused bass line with speaker punishing peaks, while the blend of rapping and singing is just right for the track to not seem like some cheap attempt at getting a free car.

Had Bluestars demonstrated a desire beyond mere commercial success and focused on credibility this could have been an impressive piece of work. Instead it is a product that will command sales but will suffer the test of time.

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