J. Holiday: Bac of My Lac

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Somewhere Nahum Grymes (nee J.Holiday) is probably still thanking his lucky stars that the newest hit songwriter of the moment, The Dream (“Umbrella”) opted against his initial plan of offering R&B teen heartthrob Chris Brown Holiday’s first single – the now number one R&B hit, “Bed.” This writer is equally grateful, given my suspicion that Brown doesn’t possess the finesse or vocal ability needed to pull off such a song. I’m almost certain young Chris Breezy would’ve turned the song into something that sounds a lot more like a lullaby about his mother tucking him in before it was time to rest his eyes than the sexually charged anthem it is intended to be.

“Bed” is the perfect song for the Washington D.C. native to coast on while trying to build anticipation for his debut album, Back of My Lac.

If you’re a fan of hood-centric R&B, this is the type of album you’ve been waiting on (though you shouldn’t have: the market is already full of them).

Indeed, Back of My Lac plays on many of the cliché’s consuming this era of R&B: the male ego and its effects on the libido, odes to weed, pimp references, and that certain gentlemanly way of expressing attraction. For instance on the song “Come Here,” Holiday, almost innocently sings, “I put my hand right here, grab your booty right there, baby don’t be scared.” Quite nice of Holiday to ease any potential fears. Not to be outdone, on the song, “Thank You,” Holiday offers his brand of gratitude for a lovely evening: “Let me show my appreciation, I want to bang your back out until the morning comes.” For those of you that believe chivalry is dead, take that.

On “Ghetto,” Holiday says, “If you getting tired of the same thing, it’s alright to say, ‘Oh.’” Allow me to be the first.

I personally don’t really buy the notion that this many real thugs enjoy crooning. This feeling is heightened by another lyric in “Ghetto:” “I ain’t ever been a thug, but I still get down.”

This song precedes “Thug Commandments,” which is an obvious R&B spin of Biggie Smalls’ famous, “Ten Crack Commandments.” Somewhere Lil Mo’ is saying, “I did it first.”

Still, one can’t help but want to give Holiday’s album a chance given that he can actually sing – something that’s become more of a novelty in R&B as time passes on.

It’s probably best to abandon any prejudice, because most songs – even the ones you find that play on trite subject matter – have some redeemable quality. This is mainly attributed to Holiday’s voice. Outside of the obvious “Bed,” Holiday’s voice shines throughout the album, particularly on the Darkchild-produced tracks “Be With Me” and “Without You,” as well the second single, “Suffocate,” produced by Tricky Stewart.

While he’s certainly not breaking any new foreground in terms of subject matter, Back of My Lac is a solid effort from someone that’s likely only singing what’s real to him. Fortunately for him, his brand of R&B is exactly the type of music dominating the genre.

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