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Dem Franchize Boyz: On Top of Our Game

Dem Franchize Boyz: On Top of Our Game

Label:So So Def/Virgin
Release Date:2006
Genre:Hip Hop/Rap

By Al Shipley | Posted 3/29/2006

On Top Of Our Game, the second
album by Atlanta quartet Dem Franchize Boyz, is true to its title, their game being an unambitious racket that’s been described as “snap music” or, more accurately, “talent-show crunk.” They came up overnight with the regional ultraminimalist hit “I Think They Like Me” and the zeitgeist-capturing “White Tee,” and Jermaine Dupri liked them so much he not only appeared on the remixes but also signed the group to So So Def. But since the dominant assumption in ATL hip-hop these days is that only drug dealers write lyrics, and Franchize trades in odes to T-shirts and goofy dance crazes more than trap talk, it’s accepted as a given that their album will be brainless fun. But On Top of Our Game is both savvier and less enjoyable than expected.

It’s true that none of these guys is gonna give T.I. a run for his money as a lyricist. Dem Franchize Boyz pass the mic around like a hot potato, so you never really get to know (or get sick of) any of them, although Jizzal Man stands out with a screeching delivery reminiscent of Pastor Troy. And two members, Pimpin and Parlae, earn their keep producing some of the group’s best tracks. Unfortunately, Game becomes a tremendous drag somewhere in the second half, when the minimalism turns static with endless refrains of “bitch, stop callin’ me” and “bitch, don’t play with me,” on the aptly titled “Stop Callin’ Me” and “Don’t Play With Me.”

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