Google
 
Web the411online.com

Reviews
Dollars & Sense ratings system
Sort by ratings
More reviews


BIG PUN, Yeeeah Baby, Loud
The latest and last release from the late, great Big Pun is one that is filled with laughter, clever wordplay, and hardcore gangsterisms. On the intro, called "The Creation," you listen to the creation of Pun, one part Eddie Murphy, one part Michael Jackson, and one part an entourage of classic rappers. This comedic intro then opens up to "Watch Those," a song in which Pun raps to the "Starsky and Hutch" theme. Pun's lyrics are absolutely amazing, with him spitting stuff like, "You got those songs that bore us/ Well I got the songs with Jesus and the Devil singing the chorus." Pun's frantic, fast-paced rhymes go well with the beat. "Off With His Head" features newcomer Prospect, who rhymes well but is still outshined by Pun. This song is one of the more tedious songs on the CD, because the chorus is repeated way too many times. The song "It's So Hard" is a sad one where you can hear Pun yelling about how he's never going to die and that he just lost 100 pounds. "We Don't Care" featuring Cuban Link has a great bassline but that's about all the track has going for it, as neither Pun nor Link have very great verses. "New York Giants" shows Pun and MOP trading amazing verses over a rowdy uptempo MOP-style beat. "My D---" is a song this album could have definitely done without. Pun only has one verse and the rest of the song is done by R&B crooner Tony Sunshine. But just when you thought the album might be dying down, "Leather Face" hits you with the impact of "Dream Shatterer" off the Capital Punishment album. Pun sounds right at home between the electric guitar and bouncy bassline. "100%" has Pun and Tony Sunshine paying tribute to Latino music with a Latino beat -- this track is a serious party song that will keep the clubs going for a while. "Wrong Ones" is an operatic track that has another newcomer called Sun Kiss (who sounds like an early Ice Cube and Eminem) lyrically killing the track. Then to add the icing to the cake, Big Pun steps up and blasts a hole in your head with lyrics like, "What you gon' find -- shiftings of Satan in critical bind/ Never mind, I do that often, I've risen often/ Bust out my coffin, I'm a livin abortion/ Battled the Devil and deaded his demons/ Trained other beings to be in his different levels of hell/ still screamin'/ Seein bodies bloody and babies bloated corroded." "Laughing At You" is making a joke at all the people that laughed at Pun before he was rich and famous. This is a very comedic track that will have you laughing for a long time. Just when all the fake rappers thought it was safe to come out now that Pun's gone, they were wrong -- dead wrong as a matter of fact. "Miss Martin" makes all of them run back into hiding. This track has Remi Martin flowing alone, but don't fret, she doesn't need Pun to back her up. Her lyrics are as gruesome as they are funny. This track alone is almost reason enough to cop the album. "My Turn" finally has Pun flowing alone. The beat is perfect, he kicks a slow then fast flow and the track is classic -- a perfect example of how much of a wordsmith Pun was. The last track hits with as much power as a Mack truck -- "You Was Wrong" features Drag-On, Fat Joe and Remi Martin. Drag-On is the only artist that shouldn't have been on the track -- it isn't fast enough for him. The other artists flow correct, like they just got signed. In the end this album comes at a time of mourning but this CD is as much about life as it is about death. Yeeeah Baby should be picked up by any b-boy, gangsta, hip-hop head or backpacker because Pun's music wasn't all about one culture -- it was universal. R.I.P. Christopher Rios a.k.a. Big Pun.
Click here to find out how to buy this album.

-- Sam

DRAG-ON, The Opposite of H2O, Ruff Ryders
Drag-On drags on and on with the The Opposite of H2O on Ruff Ryders/Interscope. You expected Drag-On to be a professional arsonist after he gave us third-degree burns with his sizzlin' southern anthem, "Down Bottom" featuring Juvenile. Well, there is no need to call the fire department because this Drag-On is full of hot air. He literally lights a match in the "Parental Advisory" intro. Unfortunately the fire burns out after "Spit These Bars" featuring Swizz Beats. Drag-On delivers an emotional message to his absent father -- "Shouldn't spit me out, dog/ Now I'ma shine regardless" -- on "Life Goes On," which reveals his lyrical potential. However, the horrendous singing of the chorus makes this cut as corny as Mase's "Jealous Girl." Drag-On seems to blaze best with his Ruff Rydin' accomplices Eve, DMX and Jadakiss, which explains why he only does two songs solo. Let's hope this album is the smoke before the fire.
Click here to find out how to buy this album.

-- Stephanie Taylor

GHOSTFACE KILLAH, Supreme Clientele, Epic
Admittedly my last two reviews of Wu solo efforts have been a bit too generous -- they were rated a notch above what they deserved. That said rest assured there's a reason the new Ghostface disc is finding its way into my personal rotation on the daily. This is the tightest Wu release in the past couple of years -- not counting the Blackout! disc. Success sometimes tends to make artists complacent, but Ghostface is still ripping sh-- like he's hungry. Not only that, but it's plain to hear that he's lovin' it and that makes it all the better for the listener. The varied sonic texture induces eargasm with sounds ranging from velvety old school soul samples to dark, desolate pianos and hard-edged bangers without losing continuity. Production duties have been spread amongst names such as Juju of the Beatnuts, Mathematics, Inspektah Deck, Black Moes-Art, and others, including of course the RZA. Speaking of Mr. Diggs, he appears as Bobby Digital on "Nutmeg" and then lays it down behind the boards for Supreme Clientele's highlight, "Buck 50," featuring appearances by Cappadonna, Method Man, Masta Killah and Redman. Raekwon delivers the goods on "Apollo Kids" while 60 Second Assassin and Superb also put in appearances. I would mention other tracks to listen for, but you're better off just hitting play and letting it ride. Despite a few unnecessarily long skits that chop the disc up, Supreme Clientele delivers without a doubt.
Click here to find out how to buy this album.

-- Kawon

THA EASTSIDAZ, Snoop Dogg Presents Tha Eastsidaz, Dogg House
The first release from now "Big" Snoop Dogg's new TVT/Dogg House label is out and West Coast rap is back. Just when you thought you'd never listen to Snoop Dogg again, he drops the No Limit soldier act and goes back to his LBC roots. Remember how good Snoop was on Dr. Dre's The Chronic, or his first solo on Death Row, Doggystyle? That same West Coast funk and gangsta rap that Snoop came with in the early 1990s is back. This time he's bringing Tha Eastsidaz -- Goldie Loc and Tray Dee -- who you might remember from Daz Dillinger's Retaliation, Revenge and Get Back. Daz is about the only one in Snoop's entourage who isn't on the album. The first release, "G'd Up" featuring Butch Cassidy, is only a prelude to a great-sounding album where every track is just as good as the last and doesn't sound like the same music with new lyrics added. The sound on "Give It 2 'Em Dogg" featuring Bugsy Seigal, is laid back with tight lyrics and a good bassline, something to bump in your ride for sure. The sound of "Take It Back To '85," featuring Kurupt, takes us all back to the days of fun, parties, and rappin' just for the love of it. Then you get the sound of some old school bells on "Pussy Sells" featuring Suga Free. Some of the best collaborations out there are on this album, which also features Jayo Felony, Rappin' 4-Tay, Bad Azz, Xzibit, Kam, Warren G and more. Even without the endless guest appearances, Snoop and Tha Eastsidaz -- especially Tray Dee -- have the bomb, so blow it up!
Click here to find out how to buy this album.

-- Marky

YOUNG BLEED, My Own, Priority
Young Bleed is a relatively new artist, but this is his sophomore album. He is one of those MCs who has a passion for music that came from the roots. He grew up in a small Mississippi town and learned to enjoy and play music from his late grandfather. Like many artists these days who perform more for the message than the music, Young Bleed has strong opinions about society. He encourages people to live their lives. But the typical lyrics about females, drugs, getting rich and not putting up with anybody's sh-- continue throughout the album. As an artist, this man is a little more difficult to understand. His music sometimes sounds sad, but at least it's not angry. From reading articles on him, it sounds as if Young Bleed is very content with his lifestyle. As one of the songs says, "Street life is the only life for me/ Street life is the only life I need." He sounds confident with himself. "I know you're trying to be a n---- like me, but you're too blind to see a n---- like me." This shouldn't be mistaken as the thoughts of a man who is cocky and would like to ride the wild streets of New York in a different car every night. Young Bleed appears to respect where he is from and enjoys the finer things in life. However, that may be the reason why nothing is too catchy on his album. Both the voice and beats are mellow and chilled. After listening to the album a few times, I cannot reference one track whose beats just felt good to listen to. It simply didn't matter. The music remains a part of the background. His style is a unique one though. His voice is clear and precise. It is not difficult to catch his words, but perhaps that is because he raps a lot slower than some artists these days. But it fits his mellow and chilled music. Overall, it's a decent album. It's not bad, but nothing to get too excited about.
Click here to find out how to buy this album.

-- Monica

VARIOUS ARTISTS, WWF Aggression, Priority
When you compare the world of wrestling with the world of hip-hop, you can't help but notice their similarities. Both were started to entertain a select group of people, were subject to both condemnation and ridicule by "mainstream" America, and have both become suddenly popular with those who originally dismissed them as the lowest forms of their area. So wouldn't it make sense that the two would get together to solidify their places in American culture? To quote Stone Cold Steve Austin, "Oh hell yeah!" That brings us Aggression, the WWF's retooling of their superstars' themes with a hip-hop flair. With Priority Records providing most of the talent, this CD flexes more muscles than most other rap compilations. And with the way that they combine rock-and-roll with rap, every track on this disk is noteworthy. They start things off with Run-DMC's "The Kings," the DX theme on testosterone. This song sets the CD off on a good note, with solid production and two of the founding fathers of the industry doing their thing. Kool Keith and ODB team up on Mankind's "Wreck," and, uh, let's just say it's an "interesting" song. Method Man comes at you with "Know Your Role," his take on the Rock's theme song. And just like his wrestling counterpart, Meth spits some arrogant, make-you-feel-bad s---. "Jabroni check yourself, you donít know me/ Jabroni, go back to the gym, you're too bony." On "Hell Yeah," WC comes out swingin' like a bat out of hell with Snoop providing the hook. Redman and Heltah Skeltah's Rock come together on "No Chance," and true to his form, Redman comes with a memorable hook: "There's no chance in hell/ you wanna take what's mine? You just too frail." And with a little bit of scratching by Peanut Butter Wolf, this track is solid. C-Murder and Magic get together on "I Won't Stop," and holding true the character of Gangrel, C goes into a "Scream"-like frenzy for blood: "I know it ain't right/ but I HATE the sunlight/ And, no, you ain't dreamin', this is not a nightmare/ 'cause when you wake up (guess what?) Iím still there!" On "Big Red Machine," the Eastsidaz take advantage of the heavy bassline and guitar-littered track, and Ra the Rugged Man does a pretty good job on Y2J's "Break Down the Walls." On "You Ain't Hard," Bad Azz and Techneic redo The New Age Outlaws' music, and just like the New Age Outlaws, their chemistry is incredible. Like many other rap duos, these two work together perfectly, and the track is perfect for them. Ice-T is pretty much at home with The Godfather's "Pimpin' Ain't Easy," but Too Short should have made an appearance on this song. Mystikal and Ras Kass use their talents to turn "Game" (probably the blandest track musically) into something you wouldn't be ashamed to play in your radio, especially with Ras telling other MCs to get in his belly. The track "Big" is a Hoo-Bangin' all-star show, with Mack 10, K Mack, Boo Kapone and MC Eiht showing out over a bluesy track. But the best song on the disc belongs to Meeno. A relative unknown (at least to me), he rips the track up on "Ministry," The Undertaker's theme. Using a style that combines the explosiveness of Mystikal and the grittiness of DMX, Meeno says he's the king of the millennium, declaring himself "the Judge, jury, witness, and the D.A./ Red light, green light, car and the freeway." His rugged style goes perfectly against the well-orchestrated sounds of violins and guitars. Overall, this is a great CD, one that I will proudly keep in my collection. So, know your role and buy this disc.
Click here to find out how to buy this album.

-- Finis Dailey

BONE THUGS-N-HARMONY, BTNHResurrection, Ruthless
On this album, Bone sticks more to rapid-flow R&B than rap. The CD starts out with a haunting song called "Show 'Em," where Bone shows that they are far from split up. Tracks like "Righteous Ones" and "Resurrection" are played out with Bone claiming that they are rap gods -- tracks like these bring down the album from classic to sufficient. Bone hasn't changed much since The Art Of War. They still use rapid-fire lyrics and R&B to deliver their message. The production on this album is spread out between DJ U-Neek, LT Hutton, Jimmy "JT" Thomas and Darren Vegas, but the sound is the same on just about every song -- always haunting and dark. "Battlezone" has Bone speaking about paranoia and always having to carry their guns everywhere they go. Songs like "Ecstasy," "2 Glocks," "Servin' Tha Fiends" and "Weed Song" make this album fall under par. Bone seems to rhyme more about dealing drugs than on previous albums, anf it tends to get a tad bit tedious hearing Bone talk about 'dealing them drugs.' Bone can still run with the best of them, but this CD leaves you wanting more for your money. If your CD budget is limited, I wouldn't recommend blowing it on this.
Click here to find out how to buy this album.

-- Sam

D.I.T.C., D.I.T.C., Tommy Boy
First things first: This CD should have been released years ago. All of the D.I.T.C. crew show why they have the potential to be one of the best groups ever released, but they lack in originality. Everything on this album has been done before and in some cases done better. Even though it seems that D.I.T.C.'s latest release is a sleeper, it does have some definite high points such as "Thick," "Day One" and "Foundation." The best track on this CD by far is "Ebonics (Premo Mix)." The late Big L shines like never before on this bouncing DJ Premier-produced track. With lyrics like: "If a chick gave you a disease, then you got burned/ Max mean to relax, guns and pistols is gats/ Condoms is hats, critters is cracks/ The food you eat is your grub/ A victim's a mark/ A sweat box is a small club, and your tick is your heart. D.I.T.C. shows a little muscle by calling on big guns such as the late Big Pun and KRS-One on "Drop It Heavy." The entire D.I.T.C. crew is outshined by Big L; his lyrics make this album a definite for true hip hop heads. On "Tribute," the remaining D.I.T.C. crew pays respect to Big L and everything that he made possible. This CD could have been a lot tighter for how long it took D.I.T.C. to release it, but given all the stress D.I.T.C. has had on them, it still does the job.
Click here to find out how to buy this album.

-- Sam

BEANIE SIGEL, The Truth, Roc-A-Fella
You want the truth? Can you handle the truth? Nah, y'all ain't ready for The Truth, the first album from Roc-A-Fella's Beanie Sigel. Quick! Look out! A bomb was just dropped that will cause all fake MCs to shake, and their albums to flop. Bean's grainy voice dispenses sharp, crisp lyrics that pierce through your ears, engraving permanent marks on your brain. Sigel delivers a startling account of life in hell, jail cells and the perils of the mean streets of South Philly. On "Everybody Wants to be A Star," he confesses, "I ain't gonna lie, I thought that everything that glitters was gold/ And like Jay I watched the truth unfold." Whether he wants to or not, Beanie is definitely a shinning star now. Instead of setting us free with the truth on the instant classic "What Ya Life Like," Beans lectures like a lifer delivering a 'Scared Straight' sermon to a congregation of juvenile delinquents. You flinch when he spits, "What you know about no parole/ Life in the hole/ Life's cold/ You be eatin' them swafs/ Guards on the night shift beatin' you bad." Then it ends -- you are free, but are still trembling. Tears stream out of your eyes; you pray that you never get locked up. Sigel has imprisoned you for three minutes -- the CD remote becomes cold like the bars of the cell. You can even hear the clanking of the cups mingling with the bass of the drums. After life, then comes "Death," another poignant song about the seemingly infinite ways a black man can die. On the sunnier side of the album, fellow Illadelphian Eve rides in the passenger seat as Beanie cruises down memory lane with "Remember Them Days." He speaks of the hard times in the line "I used to close my eyes, try to fade it out/ Young cats in the hood think I made it." But he did indeed make it, affirms the blonde bombshell with the chorus, "It's all good now/ We out the hood now." The production on this album is all good, especially with the jeep-rocking bass of "Stop, Chill" produced by Rockwilder, who lured us to the dance floor with Jay-Z's "Do It Again" and the Red and Method Man collabo entitled "Da Rockwilder." "Who Want What," featuring labelmate Memphis Bleek, and "Mac and Brad," co-starring Scarface, are evidence that he can stomp with -- and even on -- the big dogs. "Bleep, bleep" goes the the silly and annoying Pac Man sound effects of "Mac Man," which is the album's second worst joint, along with the unimaginative chorus of "Playa," featuring Amil and Jigga. It is these two cuts that makes The Truth one stroke shy of a perfect work of art. The last song, "Anything" by Jay-Z, is the dessert after a satisfying full serving of The Truth that will have you going for seconds.
Click here to find out how to buy this album.

-- Stephanie Taylor

THE LOX, We Are the Streets, Ruff Ryders/Interscope
The Lox are now free. Free not to wear shiny suits, free to help themselves to a better record deal, and free of Sean "Puffy" Combs and Bad Boy Records. But the Lox are not free from making terrible tracks like "If You Think Iím Jiggy," as "Wild Out" is proof of that. We Are the Streets, the second album from the Yonkers trio, combines hot lyrics with bad Ruff Ryder formulaic hooks and strange production from Swizz Beats. Let's get this straight, the Lox are easily the best rap threesome around. Sheek brings mad energy, Styles is a smooth criminal, and Jadakiss is simply one of the best rappers around. Put 'em all together and the potential for platinum status should be probable. However, in order to reach the elusive platinum record, artists cannot forget two important factors -- beats and hooks. And that is what We Are the Streets does not consistently have. Plain and simply, there is too much Swizz Beats on this album. I know that Swizz is hot this year, and has been successful on everything he has touched (he got my vote for producer of the year in the "Best of 1999" damn it), but there can be too much of a good thing. Swizz did manage to come through on "Breathe Easy" and "Yíall F---ed Up Now." But I have no idea what he was thinking on "Scream L.O.X." and "U Told Me" featuring Eve. Ironically, We Are the Streets' best two songs are tracks that other producers blessed. DJ Premier did work on "Recognize," and Timbaland showed us that he will be around for a long time to come by producing another masterpiece, with "Ryde or Die, B----." The Lox and We Are the Streets survive almost solely on lyrics. Jadakissí verse on "Breathe Easy" should stand up as one of the best of 2000, and his solo track "Blood Pressure" rises to the occasion despite the overly simple hook that plagues every Ruff Ryder album. What this album lacks, though I hate to say it, is a little Puffy. Despite all his critics, Puffy can produce albums, if nothing else. Songs like "Letís Start Rap Over," and "Money, Power & Respect," are typical Bad Boy tracks, and were the reason the Lox were able to make such a big splash in their debut. Diversity is lacking on this album, but if you like Swizzís beats and DMXís content, you will definitely enjoy this album.
Click here to find out how to buy this album.

-- Keep bodyin'
Cvere

THE MADD RAPPER, Tell 'Em Why U Madd, Crazy Cat
"I got John Blaze sh--"... "I'm still livin' with my moms." Famous words from The Madd Rapper, allegedly the hottest M.C. without a deal. On his album, Tell 'Em Why U Madd, he tries to show us why it's about time that he got a deal. After looking at the back of the case, you might as well have called this album a compilation. Every song but one had at least one guest rapper. Definitely not a good sign. But he did have some top-tier talent, so all wasn't lost, or at least not right away. The first song, "I'm Madd" (an attempt to capitalize on hip-hop's new love of classical music), was just plain horrible. The song was only about 45 seconds long, and even Joe Hooker couldn't fix it. The next track, "DOT vs. TMR" didn't help, either. Then the album started to get better. After bumbling "Roll with the Cat" (his only solo song), and being stuck with Puffy on "How We Do" (form your own opinions), The Madd Rapper and Eminem get off on "Stir Crazy." Then, with the vocal talents of Carl Thomas, he and Raekwon remember their rough upbringing. After two decent songs featuring Desert Roze and Busta Rhymes, TMR pulls a rabbit out of his hat with his clique, the Crazy Cat Catalogue. With his boys Fierce and Picasso Black, The Madd Rapper turns the average track "Whateva" into a surprising attention grabber. From then on, it was smooth sailing, with J.D., Black Rob, Nature and the Beatnuts bringing the heat. You have to hear The Madd Rapper speak Spanish, it's quite interesting. The most notable song, "Not the One" (featuring Oh!Ficial) has TMR telling us about a chick who wouldn't give him a chance until AFTER she saw him hanging with Puffy and other rappers. Overall, the disc had my vote as good, but it wasn't over yet. After taking us with him on the "Wildside," he has his boy 50 Cent tell us "How to Rob." In probably the best song on the disc, 50 Cent takes us all over the rapping world robbing rappers left and right. He holds Lil' Kim for ransom, sticks Master P and Silkk the Shocker up at the Grammys, and catches DMX too far from his Ruff Ryder home. But he ain't stupid, though, saying that 1) robbing ODB would be a waste of time and 2) Joe's getting robbed a lot must be why he "Don't Wanna Be a Playa No More." And because he feels that Kirk Franklin is robbing God's people, he hits him up, too. These two songs help to redeem this album. So this rapper can be madd as he wants to be, just so long as he focuses more of that anger on penning his lyrics instead of poor Shae of New Rochelle (you had to have bought Biggie's Life After Death to understand that one).
Click here to find out how to buy this album.

-- Finis Dailey

More reviews on Jay-Z, DMX and E-40...


www.the411online.com

All contents ©1994-2000 The 411 Online