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CAM'RON, S.D.E., Epic
No longer is Cam'ron the wise-cracking, slick-talking MC. He has transformed into a hard-knock lyric spitter that doesn't give a f--- what you think. From the very beginning of this CD he makes sure you know this. "F--- You" and "That's Me" are full blown proof, not to mention "Come Kill Me," "F--- You At," and "Where I'm From." Standout tracks include the Digga-produced "Violence" featuring the one, the only, ODB. Cam'ron attacks this track with the ferocity of a rabid pitbull. "What Means The World To You" has Cam'ron freaking a sampled "Roxanne" beat. The one standout verse is on "Double Up," where Cam spits: "I know lookin' at my jewelry is scarrin' yo brain/ Not to mention Jada Pinkett over parkin' the range/ (Yo that's Will Smith's girl) naw she's part of my chain/ Pardon my game, car gettin' washed in the rain/ Runnin' yo trap, that'll get you one in yo back/ The hood that I had, had to take the good with the bad/ Like Joe on the run, put his f------ P O it's done/ Low on his funds, had to get the coke or the guns." Although there are a couple jewels, too much time is spent cursing out haters and women. The word "f---" is used more than any album I have ever heard. Cam has proved that he can be light-hearted and a jokester but this new album is not what you'll expect from Cam. Click here to find out how to buy this album.
NATURE, For All Seasons, Columbia -- Sam
Nature is living proof of a good MC that drops a not-so-good LP. Nature can flow nice, but with only one guest appearance on a 16-cut deep LP, even the nicest MC can get annoying. "Man's World" is Nature at his best -- a relaxing beat with Nature bringing out his lyrical heat: "Influential, never stable in the mental/ but clever, spittin' that same sh-- n----- is into/ ...tattoo a dead man's name on my arm/ I'm a thug in the street that's still afraid of his Moms/ ...in the mornin' head straight to the spot, the juice bar/ n----- tried all that other sh-- and what's the use God?/ for the paper Nature takes it too far, perfectionist/ we get it on, and contradict livin' long/ though the clock will still tick when you gone." Jeez he flows nice, eh? Kinda reminds me of a young Nas, an ill ryhme kicker that reps the Bridge. Nas shows up on "The Ultimate High" -- that's gotten lot's of play at the club. Other bangers include, "Young Love," "Nature's Shine," and "Remember." The production lacks on the latter half of the CD. All Nature needed was a better production team and more guest appearances and this CD could have been off the hook. For a debut this isn't bad at all, despite the few sleepers on it. Click here to find out how to buy this album.
TOO SHORT, You Nasty, Jive -- Sam
In a recent interview Too Short said that his new album "was going to have all pimp sh--, no sissy sh--," and that's exactly what it is. Short's latest release (12th album) comes off more as a grade B porno movie then a CD. You want examples? Try this on for size: "Them b------ kissed 20 minutes straight non-stop/ Strip girl on the bottom, lil' momma on top/ It was beautiful, you know what happened next/ Spent 20 more minutes lickin' each others breasts/ Two titty-suckin' hoes, navels and toes/ B---- rolled her on her stomach, licked her a------/ After seein' this sh--, I ain't wanna f---/ I wanna see how long they can keep goin'." That little nasty rhyme comes off "2 B------," the album's first single. You want more proof that this is like a porn? What about "You Nasty," "Call Me Daddy," "Be My Dirty Love" and "Don't Hate The Player." The surprisingly best song on the album is "Just Like Dope" featuring E-40 where p---- is compared to heroin. "Old School" is the classic Too Short that we want to hear -- laid-back rhymes on a classic low-bass production note. The album is all the same filled with pimping tales, sex, and low-bass, Bay Area thump. Too Short hasn't changed much over the years, keeping up with his slick pimpology. That's why this CD only deserves what it got -- it's the same old "pimp sh--" that we've heard over and over again. Oh and by the way, if the tracks aren't hardcore enough for you, check the leaflet. Click here to find out how to buy this album.
L.L. COOL J, The Greatest Of All Time, Def Jam -- J Rough
The Greatest Of All Time? Isn't that what Puffy put at the end of all those Biggie videos last year? No disrespect to B.I.G., whose time came too soon, but Uncle L has a better shot at the title due to his longevity. We all know L.L.'s legacy: Drop a hot album every other time out. But the others, while not blazing, are usually solid enough to warrant adding them to your collection. (14 Shots To The Dome really wasn't that bad.) This album is definitely on the warm side. The first single, "Imagine That," is his second hit with LeShawn. He even let her in the video this time. Canibus wasn't so lucky. Apparently, L.L. felt his retaliation on the bonus CD included with DMX's first album wasn't enough, so he uses "Back Where I Belong" to put him away. The rest of the "4,3,2,1" crew (X, Method Man and Redman) return on "Fuhgidabowdit," while Snoop Dogg, Xzibit and Jayo Felony help L.L. take on another of his recent rivals, Jamie Foxx, on "U Can't F--- With Me." All "Take It Off" needs to be a complete duplicate of Q-Tip's "Vivrant Thing" is a black-and-white video with lots of booty-shakin'. L.L. shows that he still "needs love" by slowing it down like only he can -- and only because he's been doing it since day one. Carl Thomas croons on "This Is Us," Kelly Price sings on "You and Me" and Amil reaches out and touches L for some phone sex on "Hello." L.L. gets political for a moment on "Homicide" -- "I don't mean this in a disrespectful way/ but Columbine happens in the ghetto every day." Other highlights include a guest spot by Prodigy on "Queens Is" and the appearance of the appropriately titled "Ill Bomb" from Funkmaster Flex and Big Kap's album. So, does this album prove that he really is The Greatest Of All Time? Ultimately, history will decide that. But it will be one more argument in his favor. Click here to find out how to buy this album.
-- J Rough
DO OR DIE, Victory, Rap-A-Lot -- Sam
Rap-A-Lot's answer to Bone Thugs-N-Harmony is back. Do Or Die steps back onto the scene with more harmonies and gansgta songs to make even the toughest thug get down to the smooth vocals. The title track sets the album off right, then the CD goes from heartbreaking ballads, "Stay Focused," to gangsterous murder music, "Murderers, Pimps and Thugs" featuring Ja Rule. Although a lot of the songs sound similar, there are a few standout tracks. "Thuggin' Out" featuring Fatal is a rapid-fire shot-caller song. "Already Know" with its tight production also bounces and E-40 makes a quick cameo spittin' his slanguage. "If U Scared" and "Who Knows" makes you recognize why Do Or Die is so different from Bone. "In A Mode" is another slow jam that bounces with just enough southern funk to keep you jumping. "VIP" featuring Mo Unique sounds like a mix of N' Sync and Destiny's Child -- not something I really want to hear. "Bounce For Me" is a flat out bore with nothing going for it. "La La La" is an Atlanta-sounding song with Outkast-esque lyrics. A victory is exactly what this CD is. Although Do Or Die does sound a lot like Bone, they manage to set themselves far enough apart that they should be recognized in their own category. Click here to find out how to buy this album.
SCARFACE, Last Of A Dying Breed, Rap-A-Lot -- J Rough
Folks might have started to forget about Brad Jordan since they hadn't heard from him in a while. After years of splitting time between solo albums and the different reincarnations of the Geto Boys, 1999 went by without an album from the artist once known as Ak-shun. The time off was compounded last December when he stepped out of the spotlight completely, taking a vow of silence and refusing to grant interviews. Then the Ruff Ryders dropped "World War III" and heads were reminded of just how potent a force Scarface can be. Last Of A Dying Breed won't change that opinion. The title track and "Look Into My Eyes" hit hard from the start, while "Down With Us" pays homage to KRS-One with a reworking of BDP's "I'm Still #1." Daz and Kurupt are among the guests featured on the disc, but it's not until the end of the album that Scarface brings in the heavy artillery. Jay-Z trades verses on "Get Out," Devin the Dude and Too Short bless "In & Out" and Redman spits on "And Yo." His Def Squad partner, Erick Sermon, is among the contributors to the album's production, which is sound throughout. At the end of the album, Scarface thanks those that have supported him for the last 13 years and simply says, "I'm gone." If Last Of A Dying Breed turns out to be the final album from Scarface, he'll have left the game much like another man named Jordan -- on his own terms, and on top. Click here to find out how to buy this album.
-- J Rough
DJ CLUE, Backstage Mixtape, Roc-A-Fella -- Sam
With people such as Jay-Z, Beanie Sigel, Prodigy, The Lox, Memphis Bleek, Ja Rule and Redman, you'd think this album would be bouncing off the wall, right? Wrong. Besides a few choice cuts the CD is unbelievably poor. It get's repetitive quick, especially with DJ Clue shouting over the tightest lyrics on the album, making them muffled and hard to hear. Speaking of Clue, what exactly does he do for the album? He doesn't produce any of the tracks, he doesn't scratch or mix the CD, he just screams and shouts. The CD starts off with a looooonnnnng skit that does absolutely nothing for the album except bring it down. But there is light at the end of the tunnel. Jay-Z and Mya do their thing on "Best Of Me Pt. 2." Beanie brings "In The Club" to the table with his stop-and-go rhyme style, which is followed directly by "Keep It Thoro" by the Mobb's Prodigy -- another excellent track. "My Mind Right" by Memphis Bleek is what I hope will come from Bleek on his next solo album. Damn, now you got The Lox on "Who Did You Expect." Jadakiss spits fire and then when he's about to drop the climax of his verse, Clue muffles it with 'wooooooooo.' AAAAAHHHHH! It's happened on every song so far -- Clue's interrupted every good verse. "Wanna Take Me Back" by T-Boz should have been on the TLC album -- enough said about that. Two R&B songs by Christion and Rell will have you wishing that Clue was yelling on the track. "Millionaire" shows the Hot Boys doing their 'bling, bling' thing, same old Cash Money. Skip the next track, "Road Dawgs" -- I'm not even getting into it. On "Funkanella," Outkast brings some flavor back to the album, thank God. On "Come And Get It," Redman rhymes and produces the track featuring Lady Luck -- another hit. "Hate Music" with Cam'ron and Juelz Santana is probably the most disturbing cut since Eminem's "Kim." Fabulous, who contributes "Gotta Be A Thug," deserves to be on Clue's record company -- he's annoying like him. CNN definitely deserve a lot of respect for "Don't Want Beef," a great song that bounces more than just about every other track on this compilation. "Crime Life" is the first Ja Rule song I've actually thoroughly enjoyed -- put it on and let it ride. Skip the last 2 tracks -- another Ja song and an old Jay-Z song that can be slept on. If this album was anything like the "Hard Knock Life" tour, it would have been classic, but it's more like a backyard boogie that does nothing but annoy the neighbors. Click here to find out how to buy this album.
RUFF RYDERS, Ryde or Die Vol. 2, Ruff Ryders -- Sam
The chorus on the first single off this album, "WW III," categorizes exactly what you should expect on this album: "Ryde or Die -- you talk it, we live it/ So Ryde or Die -- you want it, we give it/ So Ryde or Die you start it, we end it." The single drops like an atom bomb -- what do you expect when you get Snoop, Scarface, Jadakiss and Yung Wun in the studio with a bass heavy Swizz Beatz production note? This album was definitely meant to showcase certain artists. For example, The Lox show up, by themselves and as a group, on six out of 16 tracks, while DMX only delivers his troubled thug lyrics on one song, "The Great." The surprisingly catchy track on this compilation is Twista and Drag-On spitting ferociously on "Twisted Heat," and just when you thought the track was over, Swizz comes on and tells them to "get ignorant" and speeds up the beat. That's when Twista and Drag truly show their impressive flow. But don't get it twisted, the production gets played out after the first couple of tracks, not to mention the absolute horrid "Fright Night," which is exactly what it is when Swizz decides he needs to rock the mic (and I always thought Puff was bad). As a compilation album, this CD comes off well. Instead of just sticking with people from the Ruff Ryders camp, like the last compilation, they expand and allow other artists to get in. The one thing that surprised me was that no Cash Money tracks were featured or any artists from the Cash Money army came through, seeing as they were probably recording this just after that joint tour. Click here to find out how to buy this album.
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More reviews on De La Soul, Nelly and DJ Quik...
All contents ©1994-2000 The 411 Online
All contents ©1994-2000 The 411 Online