With a spectrum that runs from irresponsible gun talk to irresponsible sex talk, Plies is never accused of being the most versatile rapper. Add unimaginative album titles that always work in some form of the word "Real", plus a crazy release schedule that's seen three official full-lengths in just 16 months, and there's every reason to believe Da Realist is a take the money and run release from a gutter rapper exploiting his leap into fame. Going in a completely unexpected direction, the album actually expands the Plies universe a bit with some decent political commentary such as the damning of mandatory sentences on the inspired "2nd Chance." Production takes a bold step forward on the extremely sparse highlight "All Black," while the whimsical "Spend the Night" -- where the newly relocated Plies seduces the ladies with real estate agent talk and a Cheshire cat smile -- is his brightest sounding track to date. The electronic, Prince-sounding snare on "Want It, Need It" is another clever idea, but the rest of the big moments come from places the rapper's been before, like the thug anthem "Make a Movie" with production from Mannie Fresh or the lightweight bedroom number "Put It on Ya" which for some horribly misguided reason, closes the album. With some minor problems, some minor advancement, and some major moments, Da Realist is an overall winner from a rapper who keeps beating the odds.
AllMusic Review by David Jeffries
feat: Chris P.