In spite of his early career punk-rocker persona, Travis Barker has never been one to hide his inclinations towards other genres. Side projects with The Transplants found him somewhere in between his Blink 182 pop-punk sound and hip-hop. After the 2005 fallout of Blink Barker found himself with some personal freedom to pursue new musical directions. A few years down the road and we’ve seen a slew of Travis Barker remixes of tracks from Soulja Boy to Flo Rida, all leading up to his solo debut, Give the Drummer Some.
However, it’s important to use the term “solo” debut somewhat loosely here. The album is under his name, but that’s about where the solo aspect of the project ends. Give the Drummer Some is a solo album in the same way Timbalands first Shock Value was a solo album; they were both responsible for bringing the project together, but from that point the albums content is largely established by guest appearances. The album isn’t a solo album as much as it is Travis Barker plus any rappers and guests who were willing to come and help out. That’s not to say that the guest list isn’t impressive, quite the opposite actually. Tracks feature appearances by hip-hop artists from all over the map, ranging from Wu members and Cypress Hill to Kid Cudi and The Cool Kids.
The guest list, although remarkable in its diversity, stands as one of the biggest problems of the album. Such a wide range of artists from different eras and genres contribute to an extreme lack of cohesion between any of the songs. It would be difficult to find another album which jumps from the hard hitting “Let Go” featuring the likes of Busta and Yelawolf to the completely opposite “Saturday Night” with guitarist Slash and Barker’s Transplants buddies, and finally to the slow lurching Cudi feature “Cold Head”. I could keep going on how little sense the album makes as a whole, but I don’t think that was one of Barker’s goals with this album.
The commentary on the album’s cohesion is not to say that there aren’t strong tracks on the album, because there definitely are. Cool Kids banger “Jump Down” finds Mikey and Chuck over the kind of production that made them so successful in the first place, while the clearly Pharrell assisted production on “If You Want To” helps recently ailing Lupe Fiasco put down a solid verse over some upbeat head-nodding Neptunes sounds.
Most tracks however, don’t reach the same level of success. The rap-rock fusion that runs through the album just doesn’t hit the mark here. Give The Drummer Some doesn’t work as an album, but then again maybe he saw it as a way to express his versatility as a drummer, as opposed to ability to put together a cohesive project. However, even from the standpoint of individual songs, most come up short, sounding something like a rap infused hybrid of Limb Bizkit and Lil’ Waynes Rebirth.