Don't Quit Your Day Job!
Consequence is pretty damn old to just now be releasing his solo debut. Getting his start with a cameo on A Tribe Called Quest's Beats, Rhymes and Life LP in 1996, the cousin of Q-Tip had released a couple of solid mixtapes before getting down with die-hard fan/uber-producer Kanye West and his GOOD Music record label. Building his buzz with cameos on each of Kanye's highly successful solo albums, Con finally gets his shot at a proper solo debut--over a decade after his initial introduction--with Don't Quit Your Day Job!
From the first bars uttered on the album's "Job Song" opener, it's obvious where Kanye has swagger jacked his style from. While naive newcomers may see it as the other way around due to Kanye's saturation of rap in the past few years, Consequence's laid-back delivery, drawn-out pronunciation and "regular guy" persona were his before y'all were calling Kanye "Kayne." A major difference, though, is that while Kanye uses that guise to balance out cocky quips, it serves as Consequence's default character. Don't Quit Your Day Job! is chockfull of everyday situations--struggling to make ends meet ("Job Song"), skirt-chasing ("Uptown"), aspiring to be able to give back to the hood ("Don't Forget Em") and familial feuds ("Uncle Raheim"). While the sparse braggadocios efforts (the jiggy single "Callin Me") are all winners, casual day-to-day subject matter is Consequence's specialty, as he wisely opts to give listeners relatable rhymes instead of unrealistic flossing. The Queens native's proverbial narratives are sure to relate to many, and his natural charisma (along with soulful, sample-driven instrumentals from the likes of Kanye, Karreim Riggins and other talented no-name beatsmiths) can keep others interested.
While that familiarity is what keeps the album grounded, it's also what holds him back. While each track shines with its regularity, there aren't enough standouts to push the album over the edge. Day Job lacks the emotional depth of a Murs and the individuality/quirkiness of a Phonte Coleman (of Little Brother) or Rhymefest, and even though each track is rational, they don't seem as personal as they could be. This is disappointing from a veteran of Consequence's experience. Also disappointing is the album's abundance of previously-released material: the "Grammy Family" posse cut with his GOOD cohorts was on DJ Khaled's album last year, the Kanye-assisted "The Good, The Bad, The Ugly" made waves on mixtapes in 2002!! "Night Night" appeared on a boxing video game's soundtrack, and even "Uptown" was previously heard on DJ Clue's The Professional 3 album last year. While each of them are still quality songs (aside from the recycle bin filler "Night Night"), the inclusion of so many older tracks is puzzling with the years it took for Consequence's solo debut to actually hit shelves.
On a minor note, while a loosely-constructed storyline--Consequence plays an aspiring rapper who gets a job as a retail store security guard to pay the bills--mildly helps the album's cohesion, the voice actors in the skits simply don't get the job done (especially the voice behind Con's mother, who is unbearably annoying). Despite its drawbacks, Don't Quit Your Day Job! is still a solid debut from Consequence and another winner in the GOOD Music catalog. Let's just hope that his sophomore set fills in the blanks.