Volume 94, Issue 103

Wednesday, April 4, 2001


Put this Tomcat to sleep

And we though we had you at "hello"

Buried Treasure

Former Onyx star starts a solo fire

Film looks for lost heritage

Former Onyx star starts a solo fire

Fredro Starr
OPM/Koch Records

On Firestarr, Fredro Starr presents himself as a unique 'thug philosopher,' capable of impressive lyrical and deep emotion. Unfortunately, he fails to deliver a complete package due to a number of repetitive topics and disappointing guest spots.

As one third of Onyx, the energy-driven group that helped create 'hardcore hip hop' in the early 90s, Starr enjoyed years of underground success with classic tracks like "Slam."

Although his past experience does explain the roots of some of the head-bopping joints found on Firestarr, it doesn't explain the onslaught of sad attempts that Starr makes following most of these heated tracks.

For instance, emotionally-motivated songs like "What If" really bring out Starr's philosophical talents, because he asks a number of thought-provoking questions about 'thug life' over a soothing piano beat. Equally impressive are the lyrically-charged "Thug Warz," featuring the Outlawz and Sticky Fingaz, and the humorous "Perfect B!tch," where Starr imagines combining a list of 'urban' models into one dream girl.

With joints like these, it's sad to see Starr's talent go to waste on tracks like "Electric Ice," "One Night" and "America's Most," which contain little besides a repeated focus on jewelry, sex, and murder, along with average appearances from Starr's unknown crew members.

To his credit, Starr does try and make up for these hollow songs with a dedication to hip hop greats on "I Don't Wanna" featuring Aaron Hall, and he also comes correct on the unbelievable hip hop combination of Capone, Noreaga, the Outlawz and Cuban Link on "Dyin' 4 Rap (Remix)," but at this point, it just seems too late to make up for the album's overall mistakes.

Through his experiences with Onyx, Starr had definitely inherited the potential to become a hip hop giant on the solo tip, so let's hope he takes this as a learning experience and burns up the charts next time around.

–Raoul Juneja

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Copyright The Gazette 2000