For his second solo album, Atlanta producer/entrepreneur Jermaine Dupri goes out of his way to yet again show you just how much of a self-described "baller" he is. This mentality partly informs this album's title, Instructions, with JD telling you what it's like at the top and how you'll never get there. As you can probably imagine, there's little modesty here and JD could care less -- he seems to revel in his own vanity. Even if you wanted to, you'd have a hard time arguing with him: His So So Def label delivered popular albums and artists throughout the '90s -- Kris Kross, Jagged Edge, Usher, Da Brat, Lil' Bow Wow -- and he hires a star-studded roster of big-money guests for this album. Unfortunately, despite his big reputation and even bigger bank account, JD doesn't live up to his own hype on Instructions. His rhymes flow well but are overflowing with clichés and constant boasting. He's better at co-opting rhymes than coming up with his own. Moreover, sans the standout Neptunes production ("Let's Talk About It" featuring the Clipse), it also doesn't help that JD produces nearly the entire album -- he's certainly no Dr. Dre. And you can't help but wonder who's coming up with the beats, JD or co-producer Bryan-Michael Cox. Like JD himself, Instructions seems to rely more on its surface gloss than its substance. Even so, there are several highlights, mostly courtesy of the guests, some of the more noteworthy moments being "Ballin' Out of Control" with Nate Dogg, "Welcome to Atlanta" with Ludacris, and "Money, Hoes & Power" with UGK.
AllMusic Review by Jason Birchmeier