CD Review: Kevin Federline's Playing With Fire

By Brian Williams 2006-11-01 00:00:00
With Playing With Fire, K-Fed delivers one of the finest and most authentic hip-hop albums in recent memory. Ignoring his critics and naysayers, Federline’s rhymes go for the throat and hit with the force of a runaway train, undeniably powered by some of the catchiest beats in the genre…snicker…BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA...! Man, I can’t even type it with a straight face!

I will not rant, I will not rant, I will not rant, I will not…ah, wow. Sheez. Where to begin? By now, everyone unfortunately knows Kevin f’n Federline’s rags to bitches story, the lowdown on his ascension to the summit of Mount (white) Trashmore by doing nothing more than Spearing Britney. No need to go into all that. No need to go into what coked-out music exec from Sony greenlighted a rap album by this little bearded yokel either.

Really, I think we’re witnessing the balancing forces of the universe in full effect here—for every good thing, a bad thing must happen in return. In hip-hop, for every visionary like Tupac, there must be an abomination like Vanilla Ice. For every Snoop, a Snow (anyone remember that guy?) For every Chuck D., a Chingy must rise. The Roots? R. Kelly. You get the picture; music history unfortunately dictates these events.

Kevin’s debut, Playing With Fire, is one of those aforementioned negative forces, but move over Weird Al—Fire could very well be a competitor for best comedy album of the year. Why? Because there’s no way in hell you could take it for anything other than that. There’s no way to seriously compare this schmutz to anything from his contemporaries, like Eminem or Jay-Z, without giggling. Under what pretense did he dream this up? Was he going for the harmless bad boy route, ala Marky Mark Wahlberg from yesteryear? Maybe he wanted a more hardcore approach, a gangsta-lite persona of sorts, but with mainstream accessibility? Regardless, Tasteless Crap That Passes For Music has a new, stained wife-beater wearing poster-boy.

Whatever K-Fed’s intentions were, the fruits of his labors are rotten to the core. Let’s sample the insanity, shall we? Here we are, verbatim: “Dudes hate the K-Fed/girls love the K-Fed/ it doesn’t matter to me ‘cause K-Fed stay fed,” (“Dance With a Pimp”). I’ll give him credit for honesty: I’m a dude and I hate him, so he’s partially right on the money.

And speaking of money, let’s hear what Federline the Poet Laureate has to say about his: “I’m talkin’ CEO money/get money/mo’ money/turning into show money/talkin’ that 4 show money/yeah, I married a snow money/she’ll rock n’ roll for me” (“Kept On Talkin’”). Nice how he straight rhymed “money” with “money” —not “honey” —like most folks would. Way to buck convention, K. You know, I could continue with the quotes, but why bother? There are nine other tracks from the lyrical pen of funboy here to keep you in stitches all evening. Download a sample in case you haven’t heard the single “Lose Control”; the pennies you’ll pay is worth the laughs you’ll get.

What makes the album so scary, or so damn funny, is that Federline is serious. The album comes with a fold-out booklet that doubles as a mini-poster on the reverse side (destination: dartboard) and is chock full of color photos of him doing his best to look dangerous (gasp! He’s holding a cigarette!) in a nice V-neck sweater and smokin’ jacket, with lines of text telling readers he has his “fists balled up/’cause that’s how I was brought up”. So I guess he turned that youthful anger into a desire to be a backup dancer. OK. Maybe he’ll read this and he and his crew will roll up hard into my ‘hood and do a dance-by to my house. Hard to say, but I’ll keep you posted.

In short, if you play with this Fire, you won’t get burned…unless you paid the $13-$15 for it, and then you’ll be sad there’s no refund. Hip-hop has better artists to represent its music/message, and Federline ain’t a contender. If you’re a hip-hop connoisseur, this album will insult your intelligence. If you don’t really care about music and you listen to anything because MTV spoon-feeds it to you, you’ll be in heaven.

K Fed’s hopeful hip-hop career is what Arena 2 football is to the NFL: it vaguely resembles the real thing, but no way in hell it could possibly be match up. Ever. Don’t buy this album, don’t support this musical version of diarrhea, and join the Coalition Against Things That Suck (C.A.T.T.S.) Time for the people that care about music to take the power back and send the all-important message to Kevin and the like: “Bye now, and take your friends with you.” Alright, I’m done now. Let the hate mail commence…
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