Juelz Santana

From Me to U

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Review

It's entirely fitting, considering all the references to ejaculation, that Juelz Santana's solo debut full-length for Roc-a-Fella comes off as premature. Fresh off his filler-stuffed two-disc set with his Dipset (Diplomatic Immunity, released just a few months prior), Santana does deliver a small clutch of tracks that could've formed the basis for an outstanding LP. However, there's not enough strong material to make this 70-minute affair a significant one. This comes down to Santana's improving but underdevloped skills as a lyricist and productions that are almost equally inconsistent. "Okay Okay" and "Santana's Town" are two great instances where the eager MC's commanding delivery is enough to bolster the Heatmakerz' energizing production work. On both tracks, Santana amps up his conversational style (no doubt part of the effect Cam'ron's had on him) with fiery command; taut curlicues of swelling strings increase the suspense of "Okay Okay," while squealing symphonic samples push the MC into the red in "Santana's Town." Had this been a six- to eight-track EP, with the bum productions and innocuous rhymes lopped off, Santana's stock would've no doubt been raised. The promise he still holds is obvious, given the flashes of brilliance, so here's hoping the second album sees that through. ~ Andy Kellman, Rovi

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