The Luniz – Silver & Black

The Luniz - Silver & BlackLUNIZ “Silver & Black” Released August 13th 2002

LABEL: Rap-A-Lot Records

01. Street Money w/Benjilino (3.46)
02. ***** You w/C-Bo (4.11)
03. A Piece Of Me w/Fat Joe
04. Oakland Raiders w/Mark Curry (4.48)
05. Fugitive (Armed & Dangerous) w/Benjilino (4.12)
06. Big Face Escalade w/Nic Nac & Dru Down (3.37)
07. Closer Than Close w/Dru Down (4.50)
08. Issues w/Devin The Dude & KB (4.56)
09. Break Me Off w/IMX (4.11)
10. Swang Song (3.50)
11. *Hidden Track (2.39) 

PRODUCTION: J Prince, Woverine, Mr.Lee, Felli Fell, Mark Murray, Mo’ Betta, Edwin Delahoz, The Platinum Bros, Rob Lowe, Mr.Clean, Big G & L.T Hutton.

BILLBOARD: Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums 2002 No.53 “Silver & Black”

The Bay Area was once again on fire as we were hit with the remarkable dueo of Yukmouth & Knumskull with their third album, “Silver & Black”, as The Luniz after a successful couple of years as solo artists, notibly Yukmouth. The Luniz were first introduced by none other than Dru Down as they made their first appearance to the rap game on Dru Down’s “Explicit Game” album in 1994, which featured the classic hit “Ice Cream Man”. The pair had been long time friends since junior high school and had originally called themselves ‘Luni Tunz’ and after seven years together things finally sprouted quickly as the first debut album in 1995 “Operation Stackola” became a clear classic album which featured the likes of Bay Area vets such as Richie Rich. The hit single from the album “I Got 5 On It” hit charts worldwide and even had the strength to knock Michael Jackson’s “HIStory” off the top of the R&B charts due to the singles success. The remix was released as the video clip and featured the Bay’s infamous artists of all time, Spice 1, Richie Rich, Dru Down, Humpty Hump (Shock G) & E-40. After a great debut the pair returned in 1997 to release “Lunitik Muzik” which was unfortunately a slept on album by the industry.

The Oakland Raiders seperated a while and during this time Yukmouth became a success as a solo artist and a record deal with J Prince’s Rap-A-lot Records, which had artists such as Scarface & Devin The Dude, had Yuk sitting on the dock of the bay. As Yukmouth’s albums, such as his debut solo “Thugged Out: Albulation” & “Block Shit”, became popular in the Bay and all over the underground gangsta rap world we finally saw the Luniz return in 2002 after a long wait with “Silver & Black”. The album had a touch of new school beats mixed with the typical Bay beats to make a perfect Westcoast album. The Oakland Raiders had returned and the name perfectly suited the pair, besides the NFL LA Raiders being moved to Oakland around the same time period, these two are truely Raiders.

The album is pure heat and has no skits at all it goes straight into the first track “Street Money” with Benjilino on the hooks. Produced by Woverine this beat is really tight and has a fat bass line to it as Yuk & Knum tear apart the mic once again on a great Bay Beat. The production by Woverine doesnt stop there as he tweaks the “Fugitive (Armed & Dangerous)” which also feature Benjilino on the hook and a guest spot for the pimp Dru Down who raps his pimp shit all over the track which keeps the clubs bumpin. Both tracks by Woverine are really tight and he has pulled off some great production on the album along with the support from Yuk & Knum’s flowing raps.

The album hasn’t many big time producers from the Westcoast though it still manages to deliver the typical Luniz beats we have all adopted and the Yukmouth style we have grown to love in his solo albums. L.T Hutton does play a role in producing the “Swang Song” which samples the chorus of “Minnie The Moocher” which was performed by Cab Callaway. The track is very messy unfortunately and as a producer in the game with his past productions this doesn’t help the album making it the only poor track on the entire album. On a better note it was still good to see the underground producers prevail and rule the album all over keeping it real.

The album is filled with a few classic tracks such as “***** You” produced by Mr.Lee. The track is a very typical Yukmouth style beat and features the Mobfather on the Westcoast known to us as C-Bo. The hook is helped with Benjilino as he smooth’s the Yuk ‘***** You’s’ with ‘Cause you a ***** ass nigga’. The beat is hard yet funky making a true classic using three of the dopest rappers on the Bay who all rap on point especially C-Bo who callaborates great with the Luniz. Other classic tracks include “Issues” produced by Mark Murray featuring the next Too Short of the rap game Devin The Dude & KB. The beat is funky and has a really mad feel with its pumpin’ bass and Bay influenced tweaks and samples and KB bangs hard on target. The song has Rap-A-Lot’s very own Devin The Dude lace the hook as the content of the song involves *****’s, so who else better to use than Devin The Dude. Devin’s hook has a similarity to Dr Dre’s “***** You” track on the “2001” album which featured The Dude. The raps by Yuk are very hard and really on target as he kicks the song off true playerism. Mark Murray also had the previladge of doing the best songs on the album which also saw “Oakland Raiders” become a pure classic song with a real funky Bay Beat once again. The song features the Luniz spit reality about the real “Oakland Raiders” in Oakland…the players, pimps and hustlers and the Bay rappers. The flow and raps by Knum & Yuk are undoubtably the best the listener can hear them spit here. The track appreciates the rappers in the Bay which see’s a notible shout out to Too Short, as the Luniz once had beef with the veteran, and also a special R.I.P to Tupac Shakur for his contrabution to the Bay in his better days. Comedian Mark Curray, known for his past sitcom “Hangin’ With Mr.Cooper” also makes a guest appearance and throws a few hilarious comments at the end of the track.

The album gets a nice touch from Felli Fell who is responsible for the R&B style beat on “A Piece Of Me” which has Fat Joe hit up rhymes with the Luni Tunz. The rapping is really phat and both Yuk & Knum tear shit up on the beat along with Fat Joe as it turns a mellow beat into a gangsta track. The album also has another slower beat “Closer Than Close” featuring Dru Down. The song talks about the struggle the rappers have faced in their career and has a sentimental meaning to it for all three of the rappers. The beat is produced by The Platinum Bros and for a slow song it has a real nice tone to it, also the rapping again makes the beat slowly disappear and the raps over power to grab your close attention to listen carefully to every single word.

The album has Mo’ Betta & Edwin Delahoz compose “Big Face Escalade” which see’s the return of Nic Nac, who spits like a real down ass *****. The beat is hard and Yuk manages to spit the best on this beat overall with Knum very close behind as they do there back and forth raps between eachother like a rap game of tennis. Towards the last two tracks producers Rob Lowe, Mr.Clean & Big G of Crimelab hook up a tight club banger for the ladies “Break Me Off” which has the Luniz rap about getting their freak on. The track is a pure club banger for clubs all over the world and the flow blesses the beat perfectly as Yukmouth peeps game like a true player: “Yo! Pull up to the club Bentley on dubs/trick they chromed up jus 20’s on up. Drinks on us mink on the rug/smoke so much bud you think we on drugs”.

The album is regretably quite short though we are hit with another track hidden with Knumskull rap solo about drugs. The story telling is done excellent by Knum and the beat is also mad. The song is only short though and as the listener it makes you wonder if it was a teaser of some sought, maybe for a Knumskull solo album coming soon.

The general album was pretty good and the Luniz have kept their reputation up with having Yukmouth’s solo career help boost their ability to rise once again. Apart from the short track listing most of the songs live up to their name and the Luniz have once again achieved a great album for all the Bay/Westcoast rap lovers out there. The beats and production were quite good and the lyrics and flow by both Knum & Yuk make this album better than what it seems. The pair need to release more albums in the future as they are a spectacular team and the talent in rapping puts them on top of the Bay Area with rappers such as Celly Cell, C-Bo, E-40, Mac Mall & Sly Boggy…not to mention there are alot more than that who are all over looked…

RATING: 3.5/5

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