This morning when I checked the always reliable scholarly source Twitter, I learned from XXL that Ray J and Chris Brown had just dropped a joint mixtape entitled “Burn My Name”. I wondered how there can be that much headassery put into one body of work.
As I listened, I learned it can be done quite easily.
There’s something that I dig about the tape though. Maybe it’s the A1 thuggish crooner type production. Maybe it’s the outlandishly catchy lyrics. Maybe it’s that I’ve been listening to these artists for a decade plus, so I’m simply used to it. Maybe it’s all these things mashed into one red-headed step child of a mixtape.
Even though it’d be easy to say that I hate it, I can’t say that I do.
This mixtape just oozes the late 2000s. This is extremely clear with songs like “Come Back” and “Burn My Name”. I can just imagine me plugging my headphones into my iPod shuffle in my Word Up! poster filled bedroom and falling in love with this music while wearing my disgustingly long pink & green plaid South pole Bermuda Shorts.
But, even though I’m all for some gooey nostalgia some of the misogynistic lyrics really don’t sit well with me. I know R&B isn’t always romantic and gushy tunes, but damn there’s only so many times that I can be told by some spoiled ass guy how meaningless I am and how they only want to have sex with me. “Side Bitch” is the worst one on the track list by far. But really, what do you expect? It’s Ray J and Chris Brown. This lyrical bar is set pretty low.
Ever since Ray J dropped “I Hit It First” back in 2013 I’ve considered him to be a joke. (He and Chris reference this situation yet again on the track “Famous”, but the topic is just old as hell by now and my ears are just sick and tired of hearing about it..) To me, he’s just a guy who’s tight about the fact that the girl he was messing with over a decade ago glo’d up on him ten-thousand fold. He’s reinvented himself a bit through his recent portrayal on the VH1 reality television show Love & Hip Hop Hollywood, where he seems to be a decent guy to his wife Princess Love. But every time I hear his voice, I think about “For the Love of Ray J” and dancing in the rain like Omarion in “You Got Served.”
And Chris Brown, ya know…is Chris Brown.
But this mixtape isn’t that bad. There’s just not much lyrical substance, or really anything too exciting. But through the production, it captures a quite nostalgic time where arguably they were both in their prime. They’ve been doing this thuggish R&B for a while, and it’s obvious that they’re doing something right.
They’ve both got millions of fans, and they’re going to love this project through their involvement alone.
If you love these two, you’re going to love this tape because it captures a sound that they’ve perfected and their fans already rock with. If you want to be transported back to 2008, you might want to give this tape a listen if only for the nostalgia.
But, if you’re looking for anything extraordinary or something that’ll make you think differently about these two artists, then you’re surely looking in the wrong place.
But, one thing I have to mention, is the YouTube video referenced in the interlude of this tape. It’s Vince Staples’ legendary Hot 97 interview from a couple years back. Cause, ya know…
“Everything that we love is directly related to Ray J.”