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Album Review

Upfront, unrelenting, and irritated by the notion of being anyone's favorite female MC (she'll tell you what you can suck on, and it's not what you think it is), Remy Ma delivers her first album after years of temporary spotlight grabs. Terror Squad's "Lean Back" was her breakout role, and the story behind it tells you all you need to know about her assertiveness (or, as she might put it, balls): while nobody was paying attention, she chopped one of Fat Joe's verses, made sure it wouldn't be recovered, and laid her own vocal down in place of it. Too knocked out by the change, Fat Joe left it in, and Remy wound up taking part in one of the biggest hits of 2004, rap or otherwise. As the mixtape appearances began to pile up, it became increasingly apparent that Remy might be able to hold her own on a full-length. With There's Something About Remy, she fulfills that promise and then some. On the breathless "Whatever," Swizz Beatz turns symphonic disco strings into a warning drill, combines them with a sliding boom-clap, and provides an atmosphere that's as exciting as T.I.'s "Bring 'Em Out." Though Remy's not saying anything of consequence, the fact that she can match the energy level that Swizz creates is remarkable. David Banner works a similarly amped-up beat on "I'm," where Remy claims her crown and hints again that she's not merely a formidable female MC: "They say my flow is crazy and I can spit/And I rap as if I had a dick/Bitches is bad but I'm that bitch/Listen, I'm so above the average." She struts through the Scott Storch-produced "Conceited," a keen amalgamation of finger snaps, Eastern twists, and string interjections learned from other producers: "Now who's that peeking in my window?/Nobody 'cause I live in a penthouse." In the context of all these forthright celebrations of self, "Feels So Good," a slow jam featuring the dynamite up-and-comer Ne-Yo (the writer behind Mario's "Let Me Love You"), almost seems like a compromise. But on "Still," one of those trip-to-the-reflecting-pool album-closing tracks, she lets loose convincingly by apologizing to friends who have fallen by the wayside due to her career (if defensively so), and she also addresses family members and the complex situations they've been through with one another. While it's extremely touching, it's outshined by the vengeful and hedonistic tracks that were made for the car and the club.


Born: 30 May 1980 in Bronx, NY

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

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

Hard-hitting Bronx rapper Remy Ma (born Reminisce Smith) spent much of her youth writing and performing both rhymes and poetry. In 1999, she caught the attention of rapper Big Pun, who soon became Remy's mentor and invited her into his crew, Terror Squad. After Pun's death in 2000, the young MC signed to Universal Records. She first broke onto the mainstream hip-hop scene with her appearance in M.O.P.'s "Ante Up Remix" in 2003, and followed that up the next year with a role in Terror Squad's hit...
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There's Something About Remy: Based On a True Story, Remy Ma
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