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Still Writing In My Diary: 2nd Entry

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Album Review

During the nearly three-year interval separating Still Writing in My Diary: 2nd Entry from its predecessor, no one quite knew what would come of Petey Pablo. He had come out of the gate in 2001 with one of the year's most memorable summer anthems, "Raise Up." That Timbaland production made Pablo an overnight celebrity, even before the release of his debut album, Diary of a Sinner: 1st Entry. And that was it — the album didn't spin off any sizable follow-up singles and fizzled quickly once "Raise Up" faded away by wintertime. It didn't help, either, that Pablo made very few guest appearances thereafter. So when Jive finally scheduled his sophomore album, Still Writing in My Diary, for the holiday season of 2002 — and then pushed back the release date indefinitely — the North Carolina rapper's future didn't look so bright. Jive finally did release the album in spring 2004, however, and the wait was ultimately worthwhile, for Still Writing in My Diary is a strong album that banished the one-hit wonder albatross that had hovered over Pablo since his breakout success three years earlier. The 70-minute album jumps off with front-loaded highlights (the sexually explicit lead single, "Freek-A-Leek"), hits its stride with a relatively daring midsection (some out-there Timbaland productions), and is capped off with a three-song finale of earnestness ("Roll Off," "Be Country," "He Spoke to Me"). Many of the highlights had been outsourced to select hitmakers: Mannie Fresh ("Did You Miss Me"), Lil Jon ("Jam Y'All," "Freek-A-Leek," "U Don't Want Dat"), Timbaland ("Get On Dis Motorcycle," "Break Me Off"), and Kanye West ("I Swear"). The remainder of the album is less hit-songy but not necessarily less appealing — the less commercial the song, generally the more sincere its lyrical content and the more unique its production. Pablo even produces a few tracks himself ("Let's Roc," "Stick 'Em Up"). 2nd Entry overall is a surefooted step forward from Pablo's first go-round and should elevate the promising rapper to the status he deserves — among the South's leading MCs, that is, commercially as well as artistically.

Biography

Born: 10 September 1979 in Greenville, NC

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Rather than taking the underground route like most Southern rappers, Petey Pablo took the direct route into the rap game: he went straight to the top. Though few knew much about him, Pablo suddenly broke in late 2001, and not just in the South but from coast to coast — MTV rotated his video and urban radio championed his debut single. That single, "Raise Up," took the U.S. by storm, breaking into Billboard's Top 30 pop singles and Top Ten R&B singles, not to mention the endless weeks of...
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Still Writing In My Diary: 2nd Entry, Petey Pablo
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