Bubba Sparxxx is a great idea executed pretty damn well. He's the redneck version of Eminem, a talented bubba sponsored by a great producer (in this case, Timbaland), given a lively soundscape as a background for his semi-autobiographical humorous sketches of life as who he is. Sparxxx is neither as nimble a rapper as Eminem, nor is he as imaginative, so this doesn't have the impact of either the Slim Shady LP or Marshall Mathers LP, but Timbaland is an exceptional producer who can give a gifted, but limited, MC like Bubba Sparxxx a huge boost by simply giving him music that sounds good. And that's the case on Dark Days, Bright Nights, since it has a dexterous, adventurous production that gives the album a real boost. Sparxxx himself is pretty good -- his voice tends to blend into the mix a little too much and he's not as imaginative as, say, Pete Nice, MC Serch, or, yes, Eminem, but he never stumbles, either. So, the album winds up as a solid debut -- nothing is as good as "Ugly" (it'd be hard to top those ethereal wordless backing vocals, regardless of how good the rest of the album was), and it ultimately runs a little too long, but it still is better than most rap debuts of 2001, not just because of the mastermind of Timbaland, but because Bubba Sparxxx is still a strong focal point, even when he tends to repeat himself.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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