Fabolous, who first made a name for himself in 2002 with singles "Can't Deny It" and "Young'n (Holla Back)," shows a newfound maturity on this, his third set.

Fabolous, who first made a name for himself in 2002 with singles "Can't Deny It" and "Young'n (Holla Back)," shows a newfound maturity on this, his third set. Witness "Hotrunner" TL-produced "Real Talk (123)," an organ-driven track that showcases a new, more confident Fabolous. The Brooklyn, N.Y., MC is socially conscious on "Can You Hear Me" and "Po Po" (featuring Paul Cain and Nate Dogg). While the former tells different tales of the drug game gone awry, "Po Po" is a verbal warning shot to police who abuse their authority. Musically, the album's crowning jewel is lead single "Breathe," produced by Just Blaze. The album does have its misses, among them "In My Hood," "Ghetto" and "Girls," which frivolously employs a sample of the Run-D.M.C. classic "King of Rock" to talk about women. That said, it appears that "Real Talk" is as real as this MC is ready to get at this point in time.—RH