Back By Thug Demand
ain't the same for gangsters. Songs associated with dance moves rule the
airwaves, so any recording artist who isn't snapping or leaning along has to be
especially on point to be a force on music charts. So what should an emcee known
for bold thuggery do in this evolving rap climate? Absolutely nothing.
Miami native Trick Daddy breezes through the winds of change with Back by Thug Demand, the seventh chapter of his criminally-minded chronicle. While many of his peers have attempted to evolve and show growth as artists, T Double D's music and album titles have flaunted his stationary state of mind. He even uses the album's introduction to mock those who ask, "Do you have anything else to talk about?"
From the harrowing "Born a Thug," to the convict-empowering "You Damn Right," Trick refuses to stray far from the drugs, guns and thugs formula that has defined his work for nearly a decade. Just mix hard horns, heavy bass and booming vocals to create a disc ready to be blasted in car stereo systems. Adhering to that theme, Back by Thug Demand showcases a brash set of Chevy-centric production from The Runners, Mannie Fresh and other beat-makers capable of delivering melodically-rotund rider music. The Runners provide trunk-rattling bounce for "Bet That" and a bone-crushing beat for "Breaka, Breaka," where Trick lays claim to being Florida's premiere emcee. TD's granite-like growl never wavers as he raps, "Let's set this record straight/Nigga, I run this whole state/There's only one Mayor of Dade, and y'all niggas my protégés."
Mr. Mayor has always stood apart from "protégés" by releasing socially-conscious songs, a tendency he suddenly breaks on his latest project. Whether it's been the politically-scathing "America" or the peace-seeking "Thug Holiday," Trick Daddy has long been a hood with a heart. That awareness is strangely absent from this album. In its place is a mini-set of crass sex songs with lackluster production and hollow bedroom boasts. "Tonight" features Jaheim and Trina adding a slight edge to the thug-love ballad, but "Booty Doo" lacks any redeeming quality. If the beat's tedious whistles don't turn off listeners, the chorus will finish that job with sophomoric lyrics like, "I like it when you booty doo (jiggle to the left)/I like it when you booty doo (jiggle to the right)."
Back by Thug Demand falters during its string of sex songs. In fact, the second half of the album suffers when Trick abandons the ominous tone of previous tracks that worked so well. The Young Buck-assisted "Straight Up" illustrates how comfortable Trick Daddy can sound when he embraces the dark side. He adeptly glides over "Gold Rush's" murky composition and says, "My bloodline's a level above the thug line/And according to the CAT scan, I ain't no ordinary man/See, I run off oil, and I breath off chronic/I power up off money like a motherfucking bionic." True to the spirit of bionics, Daddy Dollars blends bass, blunts and booty to form the cornerstone of his music. Though recording artists are often criticized for drinking from the same well too many times, Trick's stagnant subject matter is ironically one of his best qualities. Some believe that the game doesn't change - the players do. Back by Thug Demand shows that sometimes, it's a player's refusal to change that keeps his game strong.