Supply And Demand
Being a member of a popular rapper's entourage is enough to get one (or a group, in this case) access to groupies, studio time and new surroundings. Nearly every MC to grace the Billboard charts have used their success to "put the homies on", allowing crew members to drop albums--whether or not they had actual talent. From Jay-Z (Memphis Bleek), to Nelly (The St. Lunatics) and every sixteen spitter in between, the thing to do in Hip Hop was make it big and take the crew along for the ride. In the new millennium, the industry co-sign for a newcomer is just as--if not more than--important as the quality of the music. The end result of the "get signed by association" produced a few diamonds in the rough, but record store shelves were bombarded by albums that shouldn't have seen the light of day by artists we never should've been cursed to hear.
Such is the case with Playaz Circle. Composed of Tity Boi and Dolla, this duo may end up remembered as "those-guys-who-Ludacris-put-on-that-had-the-song-with-Lil Wayne" than as Playaz Circle. Their Disturbing the Peace/Def Jam debut, Supply and Demand falls flat from start to 11 track finish. Craig Mack said it best: "You won't be around next year." The album's lead single, the Lil Wayne assisted, M16 produced Duffle Bag Boy is the disc's standout cut. However, this writer can't tell if the song is good because it's genuinely good or because radio, BET, and MTV say it is. Tity Boi shines on the opening verse, spitting "You niggas barely dressing, I got thousands piling/ that's that salad dressing, I'm on my Thousand Island." Unfortunately for the Duffle Bag Boys, Weezy F. Baby steals the show--not with a verse, but a catchy hook.
The rest of the album--while boasting production from heavy hitters Mannie Fresh, Midi Mafia, DJ Toomp--offers uninspired and rehashed tails of commercial Hip Hop's favorite subjects: excess, women (Paint Still Wet), and overdosed masculinity (Outlaw). Dear Mr. LA Reid, Supply's introduction is an autobiographical account of Tity and Dolla's ascent to radio play. Unfortunately neither of the two is able to capture the listener's attention, with the typical tale of rap or die. The reference to Lil Wayne (Duffle Bag Boys and they wouldn't even believe you, Wayne sang on it and they made it a single) may be a testament to the power of a superstar cameo. While the duo talks about the pitfalls of the trap, they fail to leave it behind. #1 Trap Pick basks in the high life (no pun intended) of hustling on the block and being "fresh everyday like the first day of school." The song's intro reminds us that Playaz Circle "didn't plan to drop an album this year", proving that the first thought is often the best.
Supply and Demand's bright spots are few and far between. Both men shine on the album's closer, Let Me Fly, a track about the ups and downs of life. Playaz Circle gets a John Stockton style assist courtesy of the soulful, Sunday morning sounding beat and the unidentified singer (who, like the other guests, steals the show). Contributing to a less than stellar debut is the fact that Tity Boi and Dolla are outshined by EVERY guest that appears on the album. Aside from the aforementioned Lil Wayne, Shawnna (Gucci Bag), DTP co-founder Ludacris (Betta Knock and U Can Believe It) and Phonte of Little Brother fame (the soulful hook of Paper Chaser) deliver strong performances. However, the cameos aren't nearly enough to save this album.
Supply and Demand
is destined to supply bargain bins nationwide, and with record sales on an overall decline;
it's safe to say that Playaz Circle
may get a demand from Def Jam--to
never release another album.