Published Dec 25, 2013Gifted NY lyricist Fabolous has mastered flow and punchlines, but albums have never done justice to his skill. Mixtapes remain the best showcase of his talent, though The Soul Tape 3 may not be the best example. The latest installment of Fab's mixtape series, loosely themed around soulful samples, is tightly sequenced with a few highlights but nothing truly exceptional. Your experience with The Soul Tape 3 will vary depending on which Fab you prefer: the monotone mixtape killer with a knack for slick lines, or the sensitive guest rapper on R&B songs.
The tape's first half is dominated by the former, while the latter takes over on the back end, which focuses on relationships. The best of those is "Situationships," which scrutinizes dysfunctional relationships, complemented by a sympathetic Mack Wilds/Tiara Thomas chorus. "Everything Was The Same" gets off to a promising start, as Fab gracefully bounces syllables off the gorgeous piano keys from Drake's "Paris Morton Music 2." "The Get Back" tweaks the "Dead Presidents II" sample for a coldblooded rejoinder to Kendrick Lamar's much-debated "Control" verse.
Fab pairs well with others; Jadakiss kicks a typically sly verse over AraabMuzik's gleaming soul on "The Hope," and Young Jeezy and Fab make a great team on the jazzy Boi-1da/Vinylz production "You Know." Despite these tracks, the tape is sunk by missteps like "Foreigners," which wastes a Meek Mill verse on Auto-Tune, as well as the woeful "Cuffin Season" and the corny "Playa." (Independent)