Waka Flocka Flame - Triple F: Fans, Friends & Family
My first impression is of Flocka as a very loud man with more to say than you would think. He exists within this weird realm in US music that is characterised by less than impressive sales but an almost die-hard commitment to pop. It's an odd phenomenon. Gucci Mane, Soulja Boy, A$ap Rocky, a younger breed of emcees (and I use the term loosely) describing themselves as much more successful than they actually are. Now I'm not saying Flocka has nothing to be proud of, but his record sales are hardly life-threatening for the staple diet of Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj and Drake that is Young Money. The endearing thing about Flocka is that he doesn't project a grandiose persona on this record. He reminds me of those loud jocks you used to hate in high school. Big, intimidating, sure of themselves, and always with a lot to say. It is personality, and Flocka has that in spades. Does it make for a good record? Well that's where this project falls down.
The beats are on point, there's no doubt. A star studded production cast ensures that Flocka has an adequate supply of high end backing to ply his trade. Lex Luger only appears on 3 credits, but Round Of Applause is the records strongest track, a typical synth explosion with a slower than usual tempo, possibly due to the excellent verse Drake drops by to provide. Nicki Minaj is on hand on the disappointing Get Low, and those two guests are the only ones that manage to outshine Flocka, despite having a roster of 17 artists contributing (including a disappointing Ludacris). Despite his ungainly appearance in each verse and his off kilter, out of tune delivery style, there's something likeable about him. We'll gloss over the immaturity of Let Them Guns Blam and the awful Flo Rida-esque Fist Pump and focus solely on the good at first. Flocka has a love/hate relationship with hooks. Rooster In My Rari is a catchy infectious track enhanced by his deadpan delivery of the chorus, and Inky is propelled to greater heights by Flocka growling 'they call me inky inky write on me, coupla ounces of that purple got that sprite on me'. It's not groundbreaking but its catchy.
I'm always frustrated by the lack of content displayed by these artists who are getting widespread mainstream exposure. Flocka attempts to reach a higher plain on Power Of My Pen, but it's a clumsy and forgettable effort, 'For the money and the power/ The game of life, will I win? /Roll the dice, If I lose /Blow my ashes to the wind'. Even in a track such as this he can't help but sneak in lines about superficial things 'Diamonds on my neck and I freeze/ I stay cool in it I'm so low key'. Flocka flirts once more with breaking the guns/money/women/drugs/cars tradition. Triple F Outro is a paranoid ode to the negativity in his life, and is an excellent song and album closer. He witnessed the murder of friend and label mate Slim Dunkin, 'December 16th, a part of me died / Part of me stayed strong but a part of me cried / Pardon me on the song while I’m spilling my pain / A part of me getting weak when they mention your name'. Flocka at his most candid and absolute best on this song, evoking emotion in even the toughest marker. Such a contrast, to close the record on a heartfelt expression like that was not something I was expecting but was a very pleasant surprise.
The record must be viewed as an exercise purely in enjoyment. Flocka isn't trying to reinvent the wheel, he isn't even focused on self-improvement or progress for progress' sake. Triple F covers the same ground that Flockaveli did, albeit in a little more style with a more polished technique. He has identified a target market and tailored his record to that. Unforuntately, 18 songs (with bonus tracks that is) feels like a marathon once you get to the end of track 5. The album peaks early and descends in to a pop-seeking quagmire. With the exception of Triple F Outro, Inky, Round Of Applause and Rooster In My Rari, the album is a throw-away. Or a good drink driving record.
Best Tracks: Triple F Outro, Round Of Applause, Rooster In My Rari, Inky