Bottom Line


Any rapper who takes time to discern the nuanced relationship between Jimmy Carter and the white rural Southern voter should at least have a little something to say on the all-important subject of ass. Thus responded the hip-hop buying public to Bubba Sparxxx’s Deliverance in 2003, rejecting his mud-caked hayseed rootsifying in favor of crunk’s urban strip-club chic. OK, I fib a bit—of course they didn’t actually say “discern.” And most of ’em never actually heard Bubba’s album.

“Really don’t expect no forgiveness for Deliverance,” Sparxxx declares on
The Charm—proudly, yes, but that apologizing for a critical success suggests itself as an option says less about the New South than it does about the new economy. With no gray area left between blockbuster and flop, any sonic innovation that fails to register commercially faces charges of avant-garde willfulness from the faux populi. So Timbaland’s down to one tweaked funk track here, with the streamlined synth hooks of Organized Noize and Mr. Collipark elsewhere adding up to quality genre work from an artist with visionary potential. Oh yeah—and this time, there will be ass.

Of course, you’ve already heard noted posterior connoisseurs the Ying Yang Twins let loose their urgent cry of “bootybootybootybooty” on Bubba’s comeback hit. But little did you realize, as Sparxxx told, that “Ms. New Booty” is actually “about a woman who exudes confidence and does her thing with a swagger that’s unique to her and only her.” Damn if he doesn’t drawl it that way too, maintaining congeniality at his most gruff and lascivious. And if there’s less room for Bubba’s lyrics to shade in a social background and more call for first-person prerogatives, his perspective on the biz is more honest than most: “Lord, at least let me get enough to pay the rent again.”