Kevin Federline, "Playing With Fire" (Federline Records)
All jokes aside about his climb to fame, Kevin Federline's album "Playing With Fire" is a credible, entertaining debut. I kid you not.
K-Fed knows the role. He's been hated, debated, and roundly derided for his marriage to Britney Spears. Thus, the detractors are unlikely to admit that this is nicely raw around the edges, probably some of the most sincere urban storytelling you'll hate to admit you like.
He takes on the topics closest to him; from his rise from Fresno County obscurity to a hip-hop stage dancer to a high-profile position on the arm of Spears.
Is it Fed's fault he's got so much hustle? Don't hate the hustler, hate the game.
Tracks like "Privilege" are spot-on smooth, with K-Fed rhyming about the life he's grown accustomed to — and the one he left behind. "I got Gucci on, she got Prada/ She calls me daddy but she's not my daughter/ And I'm not her father I'm just a mack/ Got tired of the drugs so I switched to rap."
The beats are primely polished, but tough enough to maintain an aggressive stance. On "Keep on Talkin'," K-Fed talks about "pancaking" back in the days, an allusion to riding the drug trade no doubt. The streets of Fresno County are no joke, and good for Fed-Rock if wants to boast about surviving that life.
And "Crazy" (featuring the wife) has one serious club banger beat. You just have to move to it. Resistance is futile.
Hats off to K-Fed. There's a lot here to like.