Release Date: 03.23.04
Record label: Virgin Records
Genre(s): Rap, Hip-Hop, R&B, etc.
by: tom reiter
Some people hate it when a group or artist changes. For some reason when they pick up the new album, pop it in, and get their first listen, they react like "Dude...what is this?! This isn't what I liked!" That reaction is impossible with Fly or Die, unless, of course, you have no taste for amazing music. Quirky, light here, dark there, sexy, envious, conscious, and insightful. Oh yeah, Fly or Die rocks, and is NOT like In Search Of....
N.E.R.D. has abondoned the over-used-and-no-longer-cool-or-creative rap-rock approach. Fly or Die is all rock. And it's fuckin' cool. I'm not talkin' your head bangin rock, and I'm not talking pop-rock, soft rock, or classic rock, but it has elements of all of them. They toss in a bit of funk flavor for a bit of spice.
The thing that makes this album so interesting is how N.E.R.D. maintains the edge and attitude of rap without using one rap beat or one rap delivery. The sex is definitely still present, courtesy of "Don't Worry About It", "Backseat Love", and "She Wants to Move". The last of the three being what single guys at a club think when they see a fine-ass honey dancing and her dude just sittin' there...and what guys dancing with their girl think the other guys are thinking when they see them hawking their girl.
Fly or Die contains plenty of late-teen, early 20-something angst. "Jump" addresses parental/emotional issues, while "Drill Sargeant" tackles war and Big Brother.
Ahh, and then later on there is "Wonderful Place." It opens with a little whistle chorus that is impossible to not get stuck in your head and whistle all day. Actually, most tracks will do that to you...whatever song you end your listening on will probably be stuck in your head for quite some time.
Again, N.E.R.D. has delivered someting fresh and positive for music. It's as though they read all the reviews of In Search of... and rethought what they were doing and tweaked out what they had to. Now they've got one fine-oiled music machine, and damn it's fun to ride! 18-Apr-2004 8:26 AM