If Kevin Federline wasn’t a background dancer, married to Britney Spears, or the same rapper who gave us “Popazao” (his first single that refers to a Brazilian dance), we’d probably be more receptive to his record.
Luckily, his debut “Playing with Fire” allows him to redeem himself and gain some ‘cool points.’ It plays as an autobiographical account of the past 5 years. Most of the album seeks to prove he’s actually talented with a few songs dedicated to his relationships like “Caught Up,” which presumably addresses his past relationship with Shar Jackson (Moesha co-star and first baby mama).
And, that’s one of the weakest points on the album. The song concept is great. Fed‘s opening verses deliver, but during the 3rd verse, he seems to have a problem catching up to his flow. He’s rapping too fast on the cut. Whatever the reason, it throws the joint off completely. But, the weakest point of the album surprisingly is “Crazy” featuring Britney Spears. The track comes off as a pop artists’ attempt to do hip-hop. Talk about irony… (For those who are fans of hers, she did a track with the Ying Yang Twins for her “In the Zone” LP). What makes this song a disaster is Brit. Federline holds his own throughout the album as an artist without the help of his soon to be former wife. Adding her to the hook reads like a ploy for pop success. Wrong move. Not only is it titled after one of her hit songs, but it sounds like a horrible attempt at remaking the Neptunes produced Britney smash, “Slave for you.” Press skip.
“A League of My Own” shows his clever wordplay: “When MC cocks the hammer, you can’t touch me… I’m f#ck#ng Lady Luck, you’re unlucky.” C’mon…give the guy some credit. His flow and swagger are so strong that you almost forget he’s a white boy from Fresno who danced back-up for Justin Timberlake and his EX.
Other highlights include the title track “Playing with Fire” (Since the first day I came out of the womb/I was money motivated/so money I must consume), “Kept on Talking,” produced by Notes samples “Friendly Persuasion” by Ashford and Simpson. The synthesizers help drive the song.
Other producers include Bosco (Privilege, Crazy), Fingers and Twirp (Playing with Fire), Versatyle (A League of My Own), Young Classic (Snap), and rising star Jonathan Rotem (America’s Most Hated, Lose Control, Dance with a Pimp).
In the end, K Fed’s debut doesn’t suck as most expected it would. As a matter of fact, it’s pretty darn good. Granted, no one really believes K Fed walks around with a ‘black gat in his backpack’ (as stated in “The World is mine”). Nor, do you believe he really curses like a sailor in regular conversation (as suggested in the interlude prior to the track “Playing with Fire”). But, rappers lie, right? Isn’t hip-hop an exaggeration of hood stories, personas and lifestyles? Indeed, it is.
- By Kennita Hickman