Remember when Hip-Hop fans actually wrote down the words to their favorite songs and memorized them. Today, it’s hard to find MCs who make you think, and critics are quick to condemn Southern rappers as the worst offenders of all. Enter Field Mob and their third album, Light Poles and Pine Trees. The pioneers of the country boy movement waste no time delivering lyrics destined to switch up the game. Respect ‘em because you can’t check ‘em. Painting vivid pictures powered by their colorful, down-home perspective, Field Mob’s rhymes stand out.
That’s what Ludacris thought when he signed them to his Disturbing Tha Peace/Geffen Records imprint. Being an artist first, and arguably one of the greatest rappers of all time, Ludacris saw untapped potential. DTP is a whole ‘nother chapter in Field Mob’s career. After bad deals and botched promotion, Smoke
(Darion Crawford) and Shawn Jay (Shawn Johnson) are finally getting the look they deserve. After all, the Albany, Georgia natives have always thought the third time would be the charm. Now they’re banking on it with the release of their 3rd CD, Light Poles and Pine Trees. Featuring sure-fire hits, all-star collaborations and too-true lyrics, the group’s release illustrates why Field Mob are credited with jumpstarting the current Southern Hip-Hop explosion. Look no further than
Luda, Ciara, Bun B, Bone Crusher, Bobby V. and Jazze Pha for just a few of the heavyweights cosigning for the rappers formerly known as Boondox and
Shooting Field Mob back on the scene was their underground classic “Georgia” which created a buzz at radio comparable to the din of a million gnats in your ear. Featuring Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx and their new Disturbing Tha Peace family member,
Ludacris, “Georgia” was the lead single and video from the Gold-selling Ludacris Presents Disturbing Tha Peace Compilation. "We were trying to do 'Georgia' since our first CD," Shawn Jay points out. "We never had the means to actually put it together. Now, years later, after all we've been through, we ended up getting it done with the one person that could make it happen,
After producing the 2002 smash "Sick of Being Lonely,” Jazze Pha returns to bless the duo with the first official single "So What" featuring
Ciara, the multi-platinum Princess of Crunk and R&B, who also happens to be Smoke’s cousin. “So What” is a swirling, funky roller skating jam with a message: Don’t believe rumors, especially when you’re in a relationship. Yet it should come as no surprise that even their radio joints have a deeper meaning -- because there’s always a message in everything Field Mob does.
As Shawn Jay will tell you, while it’s the radio singles that get your money, the album songs make people fall in love with you. Get ready to swoon. “At the Park,” the DJ
Polow-produced second single chronicles a typical Sunday in Albany, Georgia. “A lot of people are going to relate,” assures Shawn. “Sunday, fresh out of church, you go to the neighborhood car show: the park.”
Shawn Jay and Smoke are the poster boys for putting it out there. Like on Smoke’s soul-baring solo joint, "Blacker the Berry,” and ugly duckling to swan story. As a spokesperson for dark skinned people, the message is, “love yourself because I love myself for being dark skinned." On “Deep Tonight,” the duo reintroduces the Mob side of Field Mob while ATL’s finest, Bone Crusher, lays a smack down on the track. "Again, true story," Smoke begins. "I was coming to the club all by myself. But it got to the point when I came by myself, them folks tried to beat me up. I didn't have any back up. I was vulnerable. But I had something for them the next time, like 'Yeah I came in here by myself, but this weekend I'm coming deeper than a skinny girl's
coochie. This weekend, don't try me."
There are more heaters to come out the barrel by one of their main beat-makers, Ken Jo, such as the roll-out smash “My Wheels,” adding just the right sound to an already phenomenal CD. “We’re talking about cars, partying, rims, trucks and just the whole Southern lifestyle,” Shawn Jay relays. “Again, where I’m from in Albany, Georgia, we put truck wheels on old school
Chevys. We wanted to show people that side.” “Sorry Baby” showcases another Disturbing Tha Peace family member Bobby V. who has a knack for smoothing things out. "Every rapper's got this girl that wants to lock him down. Keep him down. Keep him home," Smoke squirms. "But you know, we've got places to go, people to see, things to do and you can't lock me down. Of course, Bobby makes it all go down a little easier.”
After listening to their album and getting to know Field Mob and where they’re from, the album title becomes a no-brainer. "The name of the album is Light Poles and Pine Trees because there ain’t no skyline where we're from," states Shawn Jay. "There's no arch like in St. Louis or palm trees like California," continues Smoke. "You look up and that's what you see in Albany." That’s Albany,
Looking to redirect the Southern spotlight their way, Field Mob is certain they’re delivering the hits to do just that. Having paid just as many dues and shown just as much heart as other Southern rap stars, Smoke and Shawn J reaffirm their status as pioneers of the Southern sound with Light Poles and Pine Trees. "I feel like we're the most posturpedic group in the industry right now," declares Shawn Jay. "Meaning, we're the most slept-on artists. Other artists know that if we finally get a little bit of light, it’s over.”
This time, Field Mob cannot be denied. With Light Poles and Pine Trees it’s their time to shine.
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