I was/am (more was) a big Stat Quo fan. Back in 2007, one of my most anticipated releases was his oft-delayed debut LP, Statlanta. Through all the label disputes with Eminem and Dr. Dre, Stat Quo seemed to come hard on every track he let loose on the internet. Nowadays, Stat Quo has floated into the direction of irrelevancy. When he does release music, many (including myself) are not very intrigued- for example the mixtape he dropped earlier in the year. His ‘long awaited’ debut album has since lost most of its buzz and anticipation. These are not the circumstances that Statlanta was supposed to release in.
One of the things that can make or break an emcee is their voice. Some rappers have voices that you just can’t stand, and others have vocal skills that are easy to listen to. One thing that makes Stat Quo stand out is his voice; the fact that it is very recognizable, and that his emotion is very evident behind it. Not that the only reason you listen to Stat is the voice; it’s just something that helps set the Atlanta emcee apart. An example of this is the album’s closing number, “Penthouse Condo”. Behind guitar strings that evoke the feel of summer wind (Boi-1da does his thing ya’ll), Stat flexes his raspy voice, speaking on his ambitions. He does the same on the album’s single, “Success (Back To U)” and it’s listenable. This joint is also produced by Boi-1da, though the previous of the two has far better production. Stat also can show his jubilation in his voice, evidenced by “Welcome Back”. Over the breezy instrumental, Stat kicks appreciative lines, “I’m the rose that arose from the concrete”. The album’s shining moment comes in “Ghetto U.S.A.”. Produced by Sha Money XL, the beat sets a dirty and dark canvas for Stat to paint the picture of the ghetto lifestyle. The lyrics are heart-wrenching, “My aunt just lost her job/ Here this shit go again/ Couldn’t pay her bills/ She put a bullet in her brain”, but again, the yearning pain behind Stat’s voice helps the listener connect to the real emotion of the song. There are flashes on the LP where Stat seems to be energized and at the top of his game. Unfortunately, these flashes don’t last very long.
The album seems to be plagued by mediocre production. Aside from the songs listed above, no beat on the album impresses. “Catch Me” and “Spaceship” both have pedestrian instrumentation, something that is echoed throughout the album. Also, Stat fails to punctuate many of the messages in the project. On the intro, “The Beginning”, Stat attempts to come out with an outburst of energy, stating “This is Statlanta, with no Em and no Dre”. But the whole song turns out to be stale, and it seems as though this no Em and Dre agenda has grown tired. He also attempts to preach to the young ladies in “Cry” but it simply doesn’t work and comes off as awkward. The ultimate low point comes in “What I Like”. It’s horrible. The beat, the production, the whisper-ish tone of voice- all of it is so far from Stat Quo’s strong points. It’s almost as if he tried to recreate his single of years past, “Like Dat”; I couldn’t imagine why though, that joint was pretty wack as well. The worst part of all this may be that we all know this isn’t the album we were supposed to get. Stat Quo was hungry and talented, and on the verge of creating a memorable debut album, or so it seemed. But it seems as though the industry troubles got the best of him and his material, and what we get is very lackluster album.
This kind of project was almost destined to surface from Stat. I’m not sure that anyone could go through all the delays and disputes he did and still come through with a great LP. It couldn’t be expected anyway. After the first listen of Statlanta, it’s clear that you won’t be listening again anytime soon. The majority of the album has no replay value. There are instances where Stat does his thing, but it’s far to cluttered by filler material to stand out. This isn’t the project we wanted, and I really don’t think it’s the project Stat wanted either.