Another U.S. hip-hop star that Irish audiences have taken to their bosoms (his Dead or Alive-sampling single 'Right Round' has been sitting pretty atop the singles chart for weeks now), Tramar Dillard - aka Flo Rida has covered all his bases with album number two. 'R.O.O.T.S' sees the Floridian native recruit the skills of several big-hitters that fans of mainstream hip-hop will already be aware of (will.i.am, Ne-Yo, Nelly Furtado), as well as relative unknowns (Kesha, Wynter Gordon).
It's often difficult to distinguish the true sound of an artist on albums with so many guest performers, and 'R.O.O.T.S.' is a case in point. A largely generic collection of r&b-meets-hip hop, the rapper's own contributions are lost in a muddle of studio-enhanced beats and phoned-in female vocals (Furtado's contribution to 'Jump' is a prime example).
When Flo Rida ups his game, though, the album improves slightly. 'Gotta Get It (Dancer)' is a shuddering slice of grimy club electro and thumping beats, while 'Mind on My Money' showcases the rapper's vocal dexterity. Heck, even The Most Annoying Man In Music (Akon) can't totally destroy 'Available', Flo Rida's version of a Lonely Hearts column, while Wyclef Jean brings his old-skool influence to closer 'Rewind'. (Perhaps it's best, on that note, to omit an analysis of the uber-cheesy Eiffel 65-sampling 'Sugar', then.)
Weighing up the pros and cons, 'R.O.O.T.S.' is an album that's too average to get either excited or annoyed about. While artists like Lil Wayne and Kanye West are doing their utmost to revolutionise, Flo Rida and his ilk seem quite content to simply be a part of a chart-dominating bandwagon. That's all well and good, but it does get quite tiresome eventually.