Def Jam threw some serious bread behind Fabolous’s new album, banking a lot on their tried-and-true second-tier star. With a couple of gold plaques under his belt and some impressive cameos, maybe the label thought it was time to back him with a truly stellar guest list, and the whole family has come out to support him, including Rihanna, Ne-Yo, and Jay-Z himself. But Fabo is lost in the mix, allowing too much face time for his collaborative partners. The guest stars are not only underutilized but simultaneously outshine the rapper on almost every single track, a feat that speaks more to the limp ability Fabo has for taking the reigns than to the mostly phoned in talent of his accomplices. Lead single “Diamonds,” featuring Young Jeezy, is just a pale facsimile of mentor Jay-Z’s “Girls Best Friend,” and while the track is memorable with a finger snapping sway, it’s a prime example of the common flaw in the album: that From Nothin’ To Somethin’ is neither as catchy nor as cohesive as recent albums from Fabo’s contemporaries. There are rare moments of synergy though: “Make Me Better” features a poignant hook and bridge by Ne-Yo accompanied by a sorrowful string sample courtesy of Timbaland. Production team Versatile delivers a classic East Coast beat for Jay-Z, Fabolous, and Uncle Murda to trade verses over in “Brooklyn,” but, again, Hova steals the show, proving, once again, that if you can’t keep up with the big boys it’s probably best to go it alone.
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