Greenville, North Carolina, native Petey Pablo debuted with two bold statements of local pride, "919" and the incendiary "Raise Up." But painting himself as a hip-hop outsider was misleading. The mournful, banjo-accented military bounce on "Raise Up" comes courtesy of champion producer Timbaland. Throughout his debut, Diary, Pablo doesn't waste a single breath. His flow is fluid, hungry and, most crucially, diverse. He's gravelly on "I," drops repetition that recalls Juvenile's "Ha," on "Didn't I," and kicks conversational gospel on the melancholy "Truth About Me." Diary is full of carefully drawn tales; on the lighthearted "Fool for Love" a cuckolded Pablo shrugs, "She ain't done no more than I done, you know/Just got caught with hers," and on "Petey Pablo" he claims to be "the magnetic athletic cosmetic cosmetologist paramedic slash schizophrenic" before threatening, "Play the wrong video edit/Do you like Puff did it." A bad boy for life in the making.
(RS 883/884 - December 6, 2001)