Paul Wall

Get Money, Stay True

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By his 2007 album, Houston rapper Paul Wall became a multi-platinum punching bag through little fault of his own. While he occasionally lets the bragging and victory-speak get the best of him, he's never declared himself "the Freestyle King" or "the Greatest Rapper Alive." He also worships DJ Screw, Swishahouse, and other Texas legends and gives them massive props without ever earning any credit for his humility. Get Money, Stay True isn't the bulletproof ride Wall needs to turn the haters into fans, because it never tries to be. It follows the formula that made his breakthrough effort, The Peoples Champ, a success, never taking Wall out of his boast, brag, and party comfort zone and covering up a whole lot of redundancy with top-notch productions, trunk-rumbling beats, and easy-to-follow, solid raps that drop just enough stingers to keep things interesting. You can't argue with "I'm fresh like green bananas/I'm fly like Continental/'Cuz I stay up on my grind late night like Jimmy Kimmel" ("Everybody Know Me," also featuring a great guest shot from Snoop), especially when the delivery is expert and the beat is from Mr. Lee. Houston's great beat-maker handles a handful of other tracks, including the kickoff single, "Break Em' Off" -- an excellent weekend number with an instantly gripping, synthetic tuba-blasting hook -- and "Call Me What U Want," which contains Wall's credo, "Call me what you want/As long as you don't call me broke." Producer Russell Howard's work on "Bangin' Screw" gives Wall his definitive DJ Screw tribute, and superstar Jermaine Dupri works just fine on the street level with his convincingly hard work on "I'm Throwed." Even if there isn't filler and even if numerous guest stars are enlisted to help keep the album fresh, the album does try the patience if digested all at once, mostly because there are only so many ways Wall can convey his love of lean, grills, and success. Slice this worthy follow-up to The Peoples Champ in half and it's a different story, one that justifies Wall's place in the game.

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