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5 * Stunna (Bonus Track Version)

Birdman

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Album Review

As Brian "Baby" Williams aka Birdman's 5 * Stunna album arrived in late 2007, it landed pretty close to a street date once promised for Lil Wayne's Tha Carter III, the highly anticipated album from Birdman's "surrogate son" that suffered numerous unsurprising delays. Just over a year before, they acted like two sides of the same coin on the collaboration album Like Father, Like Son, so if this Stunna was designed to be a placeholder while Wayne finished Tha Carter III, it explains a lot. There's a Wayne-free true solo album for Birdman buried in these tracks, one that doesn't feel finished but has the uncompromising coldness he lays down when Weezy is away. The main problem is Birdman's delivery on these tracks just isn't up to snuff, like he was providing guide vocals to be improved upon later. While redundant numbers about cash, bling, and status aren't anything new for a Cash Money release, here they're particularly trying and the everyday production fails to overcome. Plus, the "Old Man" interludes are back and as boring as ever, save when the Mafia Don drops the laughable "I saw you guys on the TV thing." Swooping in to save the day are a handful of inspired tracks like the grand "100 Million" with Wayne, Young Jeezy, and Rick Ross or the hooky "Pop Bottles" with Wayne. Best of them all is the loose "Believe Dat," with Wayne again, as it feels like an uptempo follow-up to Like Father's great "Leather So Soft." Wayne steals the show on Birdman's own album not for the usual reasons — much more talented — but more for the way he remains comfortable and steady while dad bounces between hungry and listless. This inconsistent, everyday Cash Money release is carried by its highlights, but there's every indication it's rushed and could have been better.

Biography

Born: 15 February 1969 in New Orleans, LA

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

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

When he's doing business, Cash Money Records CEO Bryan Williams uses his real name, but when he grabs the mike to spit Dirty South raps, Williams goes by the names Birdman or Baby. Williams formed Cash Money in 1991 with his brother Ronald "Slim" Williams. Releases by B.G., the Hot Boys, Juvenile, and many others built the Cash Money empire into a Dirty South powerhouse. Williams himself displayed his vocal skills on the Hot Boys albums, but it was with Cash Money's in-house producer, Mannie Fresh,...
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5 * Stunna (Bonus Track Version), Birdman
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