Listeners may not remember Mike Jones’ new album



Mike Jones – “The Voice”

Rating: 6/10

Who is Mike Jones?

Four years after first turning heads on the rap scene, that question posed from his 2005 debut album “Who is Mike Jones?” still can’t be answered. He’s just been too inconsistent.

The Houston native is best known for giving out his cell phone number to fans, 281-330-8004, and for his patented skills of self-promotion — he shouts his first and last name whenever he deems applicable. However, Jones has been suspiciously quiet as of late. He’s had singles fail to gain airplay and has witnessed the demise of chopped and screwed rap, a concept that he helped mainstream.

On his long-delayed second album “The Voice,” the rapper should be coming back with a vengeance, putting emcees in their place and reinstating himself as a prominent player. Instead, he putters to the finish line with a song about his grandma.

The album explodes with “Swagger Right,” as Jones, with his Southern, sufferin’ succotash twist, boasts about how he’s got swagger to the ceiling. Although he’s no trendsetter – as it seems every rapper is legally obliged to talk about their swagger – the track maintains Jones’ trademark delivery while incorporating sounds that resemble the latter half of the decade.

“Cuddy Buddy” featuring T-Pain, Lil Wayne and Twista dropped last summer, but it’s such a hot and slick R&B jam that it still remains relevant. The auto-tuned lothario returns later on “Scandalous Hoes II,” a song inherently offensive, complaining “I can’t love ‘em, I can’t trust ‘em.” “Drop and Gimme 50” is a lame attempt for a hit for the clubs and features the intolerable ringtone rapper Hurricane Chris. Was Soulja Boy busy?

“The Voice” is filled with too many filler tracks at a time in Jones’ career when he must deliver nothing but classics. “On Top Of The Covers” and “Hate On Me” should have been left in the studio and “Give Me A Call” is laughable. Jones relies too much on featured guests and most of them are total nobodies. Nae Nae, Essay Potna, Kai? Who?

On this album Jones, with a few distinctly memorable tracks, is able to fill a rap niche that was previously nonexistent. He’s different from the current batch of flavor-of-the-month rappers, but doesn’t stray too far from the candy paint and purple drink. “The Voice” is only his second album, but he needs to return to the lab and come back with something that makes him huge before people start to forget Mike Jones.