Paul Wall, ‘Get Money, Stay True’

By • Apr 10th, 2007 • Category: Album Reviews

When Houston, TX became the hotbed of the Dirty South’s hip-hop underbelly, Paul Wall was waiting to take his tales of oil refineries and hustling to the rest of the country.

But on the 27 year old’s fifth official LP in as many years, “Get Money, Stay True,” he still sounds like that down-and-dirty ruffian he was on his debut. Yes, that means he’s staying true to his roots and musical upbringing, but that also means he has progressed little within the genre in which he cut his platinum-plated teeth. It also means that the vocalist now sounds contrived. Rhymes about scraping together a few bucks for cigarettes make sense when you’re actually doing that. But now they just sound like they come from a performer unable to grow into his success.

Though Wall has always been one to cite his predecessors – such as Houston’s DJ Screw, who Wall claims is his biggest inspiration – it would now behoove the seasoned performer to take on a few challenges on his own, namely branching out beyond fuzzy bass drops and his lethargic snarl.

Life in Houston neighborhoods might have been tough – the scorching heat, the lack of jobs, the dangers of the street. But Wall has his dream job and can surely afford air conditioning, along with a house in a gated community if he wishes. So the album’s title becomes all too literal, as it seems Wall has in fact gotten the money and stayed true. But it doesn’t sound as appealing on tape as it does on paper.

Instead, it sounds fake – the very thing the title claims the MC vowed never to be.

Northern Star, April 10, 2007

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