“99 Ways To Die” was not only Master P’s fourth solo effort, but was also released in the golden era of California’s hip hop reign. The Bay Area was also the original home of P’s No Limit Records, as evidenced by 1995’s “99 Ways To Die.” The album was released after the success of P’s “West Coast Bad Boyz” and contains a completely different feel than P’s catelogue when No Limit obtained commercial success in New Orleans.
1.) Intro/17 Reasons: After paying homage to such Bay Area veterans as E-40, Rappin 4 Tay, Too Short, JT The Bigga Figga, and Spice 1 over Earth Wind & Fire’s “Reasons”, P flips the script over a funky loop about an attempted car jack with his brothers – C-Murder and Silkk The Shocker. Good way to open up the album.
2.) Commercial 1: Although the album’s first track was billed as an intro, this second track on the album, is just a commercial about P getting bit while getting head. Pointless skit, skip it.
3.) Dead Presidents: Before Jay-Z’s “Dead Presidents II” was heralded as an East Coast classic, Master P’s ode to currency recieves a West Coast treatment. While P’s rhymes aren’t anything spectacular (“I’m not Dr. Dre, but Richmond, California’s ‘Deathrow'”), funky Bay Area production, combined with P’s delivery make for a good track.
4.) Rollin Thru My Hood feat. Big Ed, King George, Lil Ric, Silkk: Over another bouncing instrumental, Master P describes a day rolling through his hood in Richmond, California. Backed up by later ‘No Limit Soldiers’ – Big Ed and Silkk The Shocker, P recieves a little help from some of his first recruits to the tank – Lil Ric and King George. While everybodies verses are on par, Silkk suprisingly steals the show with a smooth flow over an even smoother beat.
5.) Bullets Gots No Name feat. E-A-Ski, Rally Ral: Production on this song has a definite West Coast vibe, as all three artists do an excellent job at describing how ‘bullets gots no name’, so your best bet is to stay strapped. Great track up and down.
6.) When They Gone: After three previous uptempo songs, Master P dedicates this track to everyone dying in violence. From the average joe on the street to his brother Kevin Miller, P’s delivery and charisma carry this track, making for another great track, and possibly one of the album’s best.
7.) Playa Wit Game feat. King George, Silkk, Simply Dre: This song is one of my personal favorites, as P trades verses with his brother over a very funkdified instrumental, before King George laces the third verse. A great hook by Simply Dre, and even better production carry this song.
8.) Commercial 2: This commercial is entertaining for the simple fact it features Romeo (who was only about 5 years old at the time) asking his dad if he’s ever killed someone before. Otherwise, skip it.
9.) 99 Ways To Die: Easily the best track on the album, this is Master P just kicking rhymes Bay Area style, while detailing the West Coast hustle, and how the streets are indeed ‘survival of the fittest.’ Even though the hook is very simple, it’s Master P’s delivery and ability to make a good track that make this a West Coast classic.
10.) Rev. Do Wrong Commercial: After only one song seperating two skits, this is another dissapointing ‘commercial’ featuring “Rev. Do Wrong” who is preaching in a church about the 99 ways to die in the hood. Skip it.
11.) Hoe Games feat. C-Murder, King George, Silkk: This track is very different. It starts off with Master P portraying a radio host awarding the caller that can properly define a ‘busta.’ The beat is very basic and repetitive, and this song is worth listening to for the simple fact C-Murder makes a rare guest appearence. Otherwise, this is probably the weakest track on the album.
12.) 1-900-Master P: After the dissapointment of the last song, P and younger brother Silkk get funky over this dedication to the ‘late night creep.’ This track is another one of the album’s highlights as P’s flow and subject matter make for a great track. King George adlibs the hook.
13.) When They Gone (Radio): Not much to say about this track, except for the fact that the explicit version is already on the album, and the radio version isn’t that much different. Dissapointing way to close out an otherwise good release from Master P.
While not containing the polished beats and greatness of “Ghetto D”, this album offers fans a glimpse into what Master P was before he was, well – Master P. P’s Bay Area roots shine throughout the CD, and although some would bill this as an underground classic, an overabundance of skits and some weaker tracks end up dragging it down. This is still a good release none the less, and manages to still get respect to this day, being billed as one of P’s better albums.
Overall Rating: 3.7/5