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Fabolous, A Highly Underrated Rap Legend

The Brooklyn rapper’s longevity and brilliance in the hip hop game makes him one of the most in-demand artists and collaborators of all time. 

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this piece are those solely of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of VILLA as a whole.

In this fickle industry known as the music business, hip hop tends to rapidly throw away those of the past unlike any other genre. Very few rappers have stood the test of time without being pushed to the side for something new. Rap artists’ are rarely held in our good graces for more than a decade, anything beyond dubbed “Legendary”– maneuvering through the trenches of vinyl, tapes and CDs, alongside necessary radio airplay, to the sales damaging napster and limewire music piracy times. Ultimately landing at the uprising of social media and app streaming; few have survived.  Big names such as Jay-Z, Nas and Kanye West are the usual legendary suspects welcomed with open arms. But one guy in particular gets overlooked while fluently navigating trying times. Cutting to the chase, Fabolous, the guy who easily popularized the throwback jersey twice over, deserves the credit.     

Releasing his first major label album debut in 2001, Fab emerged as a witty young lyricist with style.  Throughout the many years and shifts in sound, the native New Yorker managed to easily catch multiple hot singles, landing him in barbershop conversations as a top tier rap artist.  A mixtape king, Fabolous ruled on street classics TINC 1,2, & 3.  Always catering to his day ones, he continually leveled up on cohesively mellow releases via The Soul Tape collection. He pretty much abandoning traditional album efforts in 2014 after his 90’s era inspired “The Young OG Project.”  Fab sustained his mixtape dominance with Friday Night Freestyles and Summertime Shootout 1 & 2. Stylistically unmatched, Fabolous naturally sidesteps father time; sensibly blending fashion & music by way of pop culture.

photo via Peoplespostmedia

Keeping his fingers on the pulse, the social media takeover began. Fabolous asserted himself popularizing the use of funny hashtags and trending topics on twitter circa 2010.  He soon became known for incorporating one off lines about whatever trendy current event publicized. Still active, twitter does the job for him dropping cleverly fictitious Fab punchline memes poking fun at what he would possibly say.  Organically shifting his clever to instagram, anybody who follows knows as fire as the fits are; the captions come second to none.

As if concurring socials wasn’t enough. Taking it back to his throwback jersey roots became another strip added to the Street Fam general.  Suddenly, a reemergence of the throwback took over stores and his instagram page glamored in beloved 90’s tv show and movie references. Separating himself from those riding the waves, yet again creating them.

Embracing the new age of rap music, the legend does anything but shy away from collaborations.  Shining alongside newer acts like Lil Uzi Vert, Tory Lanez, and A Boogie to name a few. What some may look at as conforming, Fab effortlessly makes his own.  Keeping the trend going, Fab masters the art of unofficial remixes to stay current. Although an argument can be made on classic albums or not, it has never slowed down his ability to organically blend sounds leaving behind those in his class who’ve become “outdated”.

With over 15 years in the game, Fabolous has become a staple in rap.  The clothes, captions, punchlines, social media impact, and pure attention to detail alone, makes an arguable top 10 case.  Very few “legends” compete with his ongoing resume. Most don’t even have the ability to drop a single in 2018 that doesn’t sound like a washed waste of time. Still hungry, Fab shows no signs of slowing down.  With his masterful blend of rap and R&B, “Ooh Yea” featuring Ty Dolla Sign is another could be summer anthem. Amid so many years of mixtapes and no official solo album, who knows if we’ll ever get another. Regardless if we do or don’t, The Legend always finds a way to flourish.

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