Young Black Teenagers – Dead Enz Kidz Doin’ Lifetime Bidz

Young Black Teenagers - Dead Enz Kidz Doin’ Lifetime BidzTheir group name and the title to their sophomore album might have been suspect but don’t let appearances fool you, the Young Black Teenagers were a solid, credible rap act and Dead Enz Kidz contained some vintage early nineties hardcore hip-hop fueled by jazzy breaks, deft scratching and shouted gang choruses.

The production is top-notch throughout, courtesy of the Bomb Squad and Grandmaster Flash. Lyrically there aren’t many quotables to be found but the energy, chemistry between the group members and tongue twisting flows compensate the lack of intricate wordplay and rhyme schemes.

If the goal is to get the party started than Dead Enz Kidz will definitely do the job. You needn’t look any further than ‘Tap the Bottle’ to achieve that feat. Check it out.

Dr. Octagon – Dr. Octagonecologyst

Dr. Octagon - Dr. OctagonecologystDruggy hallucinogenic extraterrestrial pornography on wax. Dr. Octagonecologyst reshaped hip-hop and opened the doors for the alternative rap explosion in the mid-nineties.

Alienating fetishist rap wasn’t new to Kool Keith but in Dan the Automator and DJ Q-Bert he found two co-conspirators that were able to bring his warped vision to full fruition, providing him with the most complimentary instrumental backing since Critical Beatdown. The album is a group effort through and through, a creepy sonic world where X-rated samples, seemingly freeform wordplay and dynamic cuts and scratches take center stage. It’s ER meets Arkham Asylum, David Lynch and Rob Black collaborating on a new series, familiar and unheard. It’s a stone cold classic and one of the greatest rap records ever made.

Geto Boys – Till Death do us part

Geto Boys - Till Death do us partA great Geto Boys album in all regards, maybe even in contention for the title of best overall GB’s album, Till Death’s only drawback lies in the absence of original member and trash talker extraordinaire Willie D. His replacement, Big Mike, isn’t fazed and swings for the fences throughout the album, upping the lyrical ante along the way.

From behind the boards, producer NO Joe gives the Fifth Ward posse a more fully developed sound to work with. Deep southern funk and soul runs through Till Death. Since the rhymes and beats are on equal footing this time round, the Geto Boys sound less exploitative than before. Don’t let first impressions fool you; there is still ample room for the expected serial killer scenarios and sexual perversions. Only this time they’re matched by a unified sound and more accomplished musicality.

Most will prefer the raw shock-rap of Grip it! On that other level or We can’t be stopped since those records present the Houston squad in their most brash and abrasive form. Till Death do us part was a logical progression from that template and heavily influenced future southern greats like UGK and Eightball & MJG.

Prime Minister Pete Nice & Daddy Rich – Dust to Dust

Prime Minister Pete Nice & Daddy Rich - Dust to DustUnjustly relegated to a mere footnote in the story that is the rise and fall of 3rd Bass, Pete Nice & Daddy Rich’s Dust to Dust was actually a forebearer of things to come. The album was laced with early productions by the legendary Beatnuts and sported guest appearances from Kurious and Cage, the latter actually making his debut on ‘Rich,bring ‘em back’.

The album filters the blunted hip-hop of Cypress Hill’s self-titled debut through a New York aesthetic, matching booming basslines with plenty of vocal samples and superb turntable wizardry by DJ Daddy Rich, the often overlooked 3rd Bass member who shines throughout Dust to Dust.

It’s a damn shame Pete & Rich called it quits after this one, a record that’s all killer and no filler. If murky, grimy beats and true swagger on the mic are your thing, get with the Prime Minister & Daddy Rich.

Big Daddy Kane – Prince of Darkness – 8.7/10

Big Daddy Kane - Prince of DarknessDepending on which rap congregation you belong to the order might vary but in the often discussed, rarely agreed upon, topic of which emcee is the best to ever rock the mic there is an undisputed holy trinity everyone worships: Rakim, Kool G Rap and Big Daddy Kane.  A strong case can be made for bestowing the title of ‘GOAT’ upon Kane.  Consider the evidence: several classic albums and songs to his name, an unparalleled flow by which all others shall be judged, the originator and master of the punchline simile and a live reputation that has held up throughout the decades.

Kane was the superstar on a label, Cold Chillin’ Records, packed with future legends like Masta Ace, Biz Markie and MC Shan (don’t forget the Kool Genius of Rap was also creating his seminal masterpieces with DJ Polo at Cold Chillin’).  His first two albums, Long Live the Kane and It’s a Big Daddy Thing, were giant leaps in hip-hop evolution but when Taste of Chocolate came out in 1990 cracks seemed to appear in what until that point had appeared to be an invincible armor.  First there was the Barry White duet, All of me, a corny love ballad that had nothing going for it other than the fact that Kane had enough pull and respect to procure the presence of the original overweight lover on his album.  Secondly there was the lackluster dance jam Keep ‘em on the Floor, an anemic pop-rap number that shouldn’t have made the album.  For a rapper who seemed to be untouchable those two missteps were enough to raise questions on whether or not King Asiatic Nobody’s Equal was slipping.

That kind of talk would only increase with Kane’s follow-up record, Prince of Darkness, unjustly dismissed at the time as a sell-out record.  Kane’s production was heavily influenced by Teddy Riley’s New Jack Swing (The lover in you and Groove with it for instance) and a lot of time was spent wooing the ladies (the title track and T.L.C.).  Doing so by complimenting the fairer sex instead of labeling them bitches and hoes has always been somewhat of a rap faux pas and gave a lot of folks the idea that Kane had gone soft.  It also didn’t help that smack dab in the middle of the album rested I’m not ashamed, another stretched out spoken word love balled but this time with no Barry White in sight.

Prince of Darkness does have it’s moments through, enough to actually suggest that it might just be Kane’s most underrated album.  Perhaps even one of the most underrated records of the nineties.  As radio friendly has some of the production might have been, there were an ample amount of tracks that showed that BDK was still a beast on the microphone very few could hang with.  He absolutely murders Git Bizzy, Death Sentence and Float, flows the hell out of Ooh, Aah, Nah-Nah-Nah (a track much doper than it’s title would suggest) and Get Down, and gives naysayers the finger on Troubled Man.  On top of that the record also features one of rap’s greatest posse cuts, Come On Down, where Q-Tip and a Dungeon Dragon-era Busta Rhymes join in on the proceedings, and the smooth trade-off between Kane and his brother Little Daddy Shane as they go back and forth on Brother, Brother.

Prince of Darkness was ahead of it’s time, a couple of years later rappers like Biggie Smalls and Big Punisher would make their mark following the formula Kane presented on his fourth album, mixing radio-friendly tracks with cuts designed for the streets and blurring the line between the two.   For Kane it spelled the end of his hip-hop supremacy though.  On 1993’s Looks like a job for…he would return completely to his tried and tested battle rap aesthetic, appearing on the cover in a hoodie instead of a three-piece suit, but unable to reconnect with his audience.

For anyone who can appreciate skill, the album is definitely worth seeking out.  It might be flawed but it’s strengths outweigh it’s weaknesses and it’s just begging to be rediscovered.

Master P – 99 Ways To Die

Master P - 99 Ways To Die“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

Silkk The Shocker – The Shocker

Silkk The Shocker - The ShockerBefore Master P’s No Limit empire blew up in the late 90’s and officially put New Orleans on the map, people seem to forget he spent his early career in the Bay Area (more specifically Richmond, CA). After making a slew of guest appearences on P’s solo albums (and three albums as a member of TRU), the youngest Miller brother, Silkk The Shocker released his debut album in August of ’96. This album features appearences from the entire No Limit roster, and production from Beats By The Pound.

1.) Murder feat. Master P, Big Ed: Over a pounding instrumental, that starts off with a volt of shock, Silkk’s rowdy style comes into play. Master P croons the hook in his signature Ice Cream Man tone, as Big Ed (R.I.P.) provides a noteworthy guest appearence. Murder is obviously the main theme, as Silkk details the many ways he likes to see it done. Good track.

2.) I Ain’t Takin No Shorts feat. Master P: This track has a funky Bay Area feel, and is very reminiscent of TRU’s “Mobbin Thru Da Hood.” Silkk’s lyrics and rowdy offtempo flow actually work the production well, as Master P provides adlibs for his younger brother. Although the hook isn’t anything special, Silkk provides another above average song.

3.) I Represent: One of my personal favorites on the album, this track features Silkk representing for his hometown of the Calliope Projects. Production is g-funk at it’s finest, as Silkk croons the thick southern instrumental with more tales of murder and crime. Great track, and definately one of the best on the album.

4.) The Shocker feat. Master P: This track was featured as the album’s lead single and was followed by a video soon after. The song itself however is a No Limit classic. Silkk even goes as far as to compare his knowledge on the dope game to learning his ABC’s. Master P follows with a subpar verse, but this is clearly Silkk’s song. Good track.

5.) No Limit Party feat. Master P, Mia X: Before Soulja Slim’s “NL Party”, three of the tank’s original members let haters know they’re ‘aint no party like a No Limit party.’ Unfortunately this song is filled with tired chanting and below average verses. You’ve heard the same Master P verse before, as the only highlight is Silkk’s verse (which is surprisingly spit over 2Pac’s “Ambitionz Az A Ridah”), which is still only a portion of this mess of a track.

6.) Free Loaders feat. Mo B. Dick: Over more funkdified loops, No Limit’s resident singer – Mo B. Dick provides a smooth hook, as Silkk lets loose on these free loading hoes. Although lyrics are again a bit simple, Silkk finds a way to make the track enjoyable, and different from the average No Limit formula.

7.) 1 Mornin: This song clocks in at only 1:30, and production is unfortunately the only thing worth listening to. Silkk’s verse is noticabely offbeat, and the hook is terrible. Skip.

8.) How We Mobb feat. Master P: After listening to the first 8 tracks of this album, it’s apparent this album was still geared to the West Coast market. Master P provides the song with more tales of slangin ice cream, over what sounds like a sequel to “Mobbin Thru Da Hood.” Silkk’s verse isn’t anything special, but production and a great hook make for a good song.

9.) It’s On: After more threats, Silkk displays his lyricism with some suprisingly good punchlines (“…I done took more cash from niggas, than gold diggers”), with consistent production to back him up. Good track.

10.) Ain’t Nothing: Although this track features smooth and mellow production, Silkk’s verse and offtempo delivery make this track about hoes a miss. The hook is bland, and it feels like a song that’s been done over and over again. Skip it.

11.) Ghetto Tears feat. Master P: This song features a more instrospective side of Silkk The Shocker. Much like Master P’s “Ghetto Heroes”, Silkk details the bad side of the dope game. Growing up poor obviously had an effect on the Miller brothers, and it’s displayed on this track, with Silkk questioning how children are mistreated and abused. Production is equally as fitting, making for one of the album’s deeper songs.

12.) Mr. feat. Master P: Silkk debuts his alias (an alias he used in his later years on No Limit) over this hard hitting track. Call him what the ***** you want, just make sure “Mr.’s” in front. Good track.

13.) It’s Time To Ride feat. Master P: Production is really a factor in the making of this song. Silkk’s generic-as-ever hook, combined with Master P’s recycled themes end up dragging it down in the long run, but it’s more evident than ever that KLC and Beats By The Pound’s smooth production carry this lackluster effort.

14.) If My 9 Could Talk: Much like “Murder” or “It’s On”, this track contains more of a hardcore theme, which surprisingly works very well for Silkk. Considering his lyricism wasn’t anything exceptional to begin with, this track showcases more of Silkk’s delivery; which is what makes the song as good as it is. The beat occasionally drops, adding to the anticipation of the next verse. Good song.

15.) Commercial One feat. Skull Duggery: Although billed as a commercial, this song is in no way a skit. Master P sets off the minute long teaser by introducing one of the newest soldiers signed to the tank – Skull Duggery. Over dark production, courtesy of Beats By The Pound, Skull shows love to his hoodlums across New Orleans. A longer runtime is the only thing that could’ve made this track better.

16.) Got Em Fiending feat. Master P, Big Ed: This song starts off with a sing-a-long chorus provided by Master P, and quickly turns into what sounds like house music. While the hook lacks, Silkk’s verse is on par and actually suits the beat well. Big Ed is also featured on this track and provides his signature ‘assassin’ sound, and Bay Area style. Decent song.

17.) My Car feat. Mo B. Dick, Pure Passion: Mo B. Dick makes another appearence on the album over this relaxing beat. While Silkk obviously remains the premier artist, it’s Mo B. Dick’s smooth melodies (backed up by Pure Passion) that makes this track worth listening to. Although the theme is different, it works the track well, making for another above average effort.

18.) Ghetto 211 feat. Master P: While it seems this album has it’s weak moments, Silkk continuously turns out unapologetic gangsta music. Over another funk driven sample, Silkk’s slightly offbeat flow croon the production well, while Master P provides another generic hook. It’s almost guarenteed that you’ve heard these rhymes on his previous efforts (especially considering his album, “The Ice Cream Man”, dropped in April of the same year). Average song at best.

19.) Why My Homie feat. C-Murder, Master P: After an entire album without a TRU feature, the three Miller boys finally show up for one of their first dedications to the deceased. Undoubtedly the best song on the album, this track features smooth jazz melodies, TRU delivers three exceptional verses dedicated to their brother – Kevin Miller. While Silkk and Master P provide noteworthy appearences, C-Murder clearly steals the show with his polished flow and delivery. Great way to end the album.

So, in conclusion, it isn’t Silkk’s skill as an MC that make this album worth listening to, but rather his ability to make good songs over even better production. After relocating to New Orleans in 1997 to further expand his No Limit empire, Master P manages to churn out No Limit’s last great Bay Area release in the form of Silkk The Shocker’s debut album. Unfortunately this release remains overlooked in not only No Limit’s catelogue, but Silkk’s catelogue as well, when it’s actually one of the better releases the tank had to offer.

Overall Rating: 3.5/5

B.G – It’s All On U Vol. 2

B.G - It's All On U Vol. 2Back in 1997, before Cash Money’s prime and multimillion dollar deal with Universal, the label released a string of albums from their first marquee star – 17 year old B.G. After releasing the regional smash “Chopper City” in 1996, B.G. followed it up with the release of “It’s All On U Vol. 1” in early ’97. “Vol. 2” was put out later that same year.


1.) Don’t Hate Me

Anybody that knows anything about Cash Money knows that The Big Tymers always set an album off with an intro. Mannie Fresh’s smooth production make for a melodic way while gaming haters and non sayers.

2.) What U Want Do

The first real track from B.G. is the uptempo “What U Want Do.” While B.G. manages to properly ride the beat, his lyrics are noticabley amateur. However, his delivery, combined with Fresh’s production, makes for a good track.

3.) Get Your Shine On feat. Big Tymers

Before Cash Money blew with Juvenile’s “Ha” and “Back That Azz Up”, B.G. gave labels a reason to sign them with his New Orleans anthem “Get Your Shine On.” Over very soothing production, both B.G. and The Big Tymers deliver a classic song.

4.) Livin’ Legend

My personal favorite on the album, B.G. (even at the age of 17) spends this song declaring his status as a ‘livin legend’. 6 years before the release of his album of the same name, and only 4 albums into his career, B.G. provides proof he was already a legend in the game. Great song, with even better production by Mannie Fresh.

5.) Hot Boys 226 feat. Hot Boys

B.G.’s delivery on this song is noticabley strong, keeping up with Fresh’s upbeat bassline driven production. Lil Wayne makes for a strong guest appearence, as does Juvenile making for an above average song by the Hot Boys.

6.) Ride Or Die feat. Hot Boys

Using the same sample Lil Kim used for one of her earliest singles, B.G. and Lil Wayne trade verses, with sharp flows, over this mellow track. Juvenile adds another guest appearence at the end of a track, before B.G. steals the show at the end of the song.

7.) Plan Went Sour

Over another mellow beat, courtesy of Mannie Fresh, B.G. attempts at telling the story of a heist that went wrong. Lyrics are once again a drawback, but a good hook and delivery make for a listenable song, on a New Orleans classic.

8.) Clean Up Man

The Baby Gangsta gets violent on this track, explaining his role as the “clean up man” with a “K in his hand”, ready to clean up any mess. This is one of those tracks where B.G.’s laid back southern drawl works with the production extremely well. Good song.

9.) I’m Try’n feat. Juvenile, Lil Wayne

B.G. expresses his attempt at abandoning the gangsta lifestyle, but how it keeps callin him. A teenage heroin addict, B.G. has obviously had his share of what he calls “that monkey on my back.” Juvenile assists with the hook (as does Lil Wayne with a forgettable verse), giving the hook a lil Hot Boy flavor, over Mannie’s funk driven bassline.

10.) ‘U’ All ‘N’

This is one of the only tracks on the disc that the album could do without. Production sounds stale, and B.G.’s vocals are noticabley low, along with lyrics that aren’t up to par with the rest of the album. Skip.

11.) 6 Figure feat. Hot Boys

This is more of what I expect out of a B.G. song. Over dark Mannie Fresh production, Gizzle’s altered vocals blend perfectly with the beat, as he describes his need for 6 figures. Lil Wayne and Turk follow his verse up with recognizable flows, but the song is undoubtedly stolen by Juvenile, who serves up the songs best verse. Great track, and clearly one of the album’s best.

12.) Stay N Line Hoe

To close the album out, B.G. chooses to express his hate for those ‘dog ass hoes’. Production is very simplistic, as is B.G.’s verse, making this track a very dissapointing way to close out a near flawless album.

In conclusion, even at the age of 17, B.G. serves up some of his best work on this Cash Money classic. Far better than the original “Chopper City” and “It’s All On U”, this album proved that Cash Money was more than just a regional success, and legitimized B.G.’s career (this was the last album before “Bling Bling” was released to the masses on Gizzle’s follow up ‘Chopper City In The Ghetto’).

Overall Rating: 4/5

Snoop Doggy Dogg – Doggystyle

Snoop Doggy Dogg - DoggystyleIn this industry everyone loves to claim that their debut album was a classic. But what truly makes a classic album? Let’s run down the list of prerequisites that are needed for an album to have the right to be called a classic. First and foremost it would need to have numerous chart topping smash hits. It would need to have a couple cult underground hits. Legendary tales surrounding its production is definitely a must. Then there’s the most important aspect – impact and influence for years to come. It has to revolutionize whatever genre it represents. All of said traits can be found in Snoop Doggy Dogg’s impressive 1993 debut album, Doggystyle. This 13 track masterpiece (18 on the original print since skits were on separate tracks) certified two things in its wake. One, Dr. Dre’s The Chronic would not be a one hit wonder for Death Row Records, and two, Snoop had established himself as a full blown superstar. With that in mind, feel free to dipp with us as we take a trip down memory lane.

1. Bathtub

The initial album intro takes us into the pimp’d out lifestyle of Snoop Doggy Dogg. While getting bathed by a sultry sounding woman, the doorbell rings. In true pimp fashion Snoop sends his girl to ‘handle that’. As she opens it, bursting through the door are legions of plastic well wishers all trying to get a word with the big dogg. After a brief conversation with Warren G, who puts Snoop’s new baller status life into perspective, the show begins!

2. G Funk Intro

True to its name, the G Funk Intro ushers in the overture to Doggystyle in perfect G-Funk fashion. However, the first voice to be heard rapping on the album is not Snoop. The lyrical gangbanger herself, The Lady of Rage, tears up the intro with an aggressive and on point set. Following Rage’s impressive drop Snoop hits us with a small Two-bar taste of things to come. The beat to the intro takes cue from Dr. Dre’s fascination with the Parliament Funkadelic era of funk music as a definite homage’s to “(Not Just) Knee Deep” can be heard.

3 Gin And Juice

Perhaps one of the most recognizable tracks in Snoop Dogg’s career, Gin and Juice could possibly be credited to Snoop’s ascension from popular newcomer to music superstar icon. The Grammy nominated second single off the album became an overnight radio/club/party smash hit and was released itself as a single, earning a gold certification. The lyrics to the song come out strong and catchy. More specifically the hook to the song has been so influential in Hip-Hop culture that it has been the subject of re-use by such artists as 2Pac, Jay-Z, and 50 Cent. The beat itself contains heavy samples of George McRae’s “I Get Lifted” which compliments Dr. Dre’s energetically potent production. Gin and Juice is the quintessential early 90’s club banger.

4. Tha Shiznit

This is one of the best seemingly freestyled tracks on the whole album. Dr. Dre’s fast paced, yet oh so rhythmic beat is perfect behind Snoop’s ridiculously smooth flow centering on the flyest subject Snoop can speak on – himself. The bass guitar licks have an almost calming effect, while the funky jazz flute part of the melody leaves a lasting impression on the audience. Definitely not to be skipped over.

5. Lodi Dodi

This eerily slow and catchy homage to the 1985 Slick Rick and Doug E. Fresh classic “La Di Da Di” is the first underground hit of the album. Snoop recites almost word-for-word the original song in this G-Funk’d remake, which ironically to this day is ritualistically recited word-for-word by true Hip-Hop heads. Dr. Dre, true to his style at the time, provides a chilling and unnerving beat.

6. Murder Was The Case [DeathAfterVisualizingEternity]

The original version to the more popular hit remix is Snoop’s first attempt (and success) at a bonified concept song. Murder Was The Case could just as well be the narration to a masterfully executed horror novel or film, but is ironically a concept theme to an 18 minute short film of the same name directed by Dr. Dre and starring Snoop. The song starts out with Snoop dying in an emergency room after being shot repeatedly, when at the last minute he makes a deal with the devil. The scene then switches to Snoop surviving and living a baller lifestyle just as Satan promised him. Snoop gets more and more greedy, yet never is able to satisfy his growing appetites. At this point his greed becomes too great and his caught up in a prison sentence complete with all the horrors and realities of time to be served. Although the remix has a more cinematic style beat, the original does not fail to have conveyed an aura of tragic dread and dark spiritualism.

7. Serial Killa

It’s time for the Death Row camp to shine all around, as Snoop is joined by then fellow inmates Tha Dogg Pound, RBX and a post car-accident D.O.C. Tha Dogg Pound’s Dat Nigga Daz provides an uncredited co-production on this cold and remorseless hit of murda. Kurupt starts out the track with his trademark savage verbal hits that we have not heard since his impressive debut on Dr. Dre’s The Chronic. Daz then takes the mic dropping his O.G. style verse that then smoothes over to Snoop who lays down a clear warning as to what it is to ***** with the Dogg Pound crew. RBX finishes out the track which also serves as the last time we are to hear him on a new Death Row project.

8. Who Am I (What’s My Name)?

This song served as the first single to Doggystyle. The significance of the song is that like so many other artists who have achieved classic album status Snoop uses his own name as a song premise. Also to be noted is that Snoop Doggy Dogg was one of the first in Hip-Hop to set this trend, which would be followed in later years by such artists as The Notorious B.I.G., Jay-Z, and DMX. Lyrically this was the archetypical hit song of the 90’s with Snoop dropping some of the most memorable, catchiest, and cool lyrics of the time. He even pays homage to his own classic catch phrases from The Chronic’s “Rat-Tat-Tat-Tat” (“Because I never hesitate to put a nigga on his back”) and “Deep Cover (187)” (“Cuz it’s 187 on a motha*****in cop”). Dre pays homage’s of his own to Parliament Funkadelic with samples from “Atomic Dog”, “(Not Just) Knee Deep”, and “Give Up the Funk”. The song was released as a single in late 1993 and eventually earned a gold plaque.

9. For All My Niggaz & My *****es

Definitely the “Coming soon from Death Row Records” advertisement song as Tha Dogg Pound and The Lady Of Rage were given the opportunity to show the world what they could do. Most importantly they would do it without the help of the big boss dogg. Kurupt starts off the track with a lethally potent slow verse which lays the tempo for next couple of verses. What’s to note here more then anything else is the first signs of obvious chemistry between Kurupt and Daz. The two smoothly play off each other, giving us a taste of things to come; which would come out in the smash hit “What Would U Do?” and the entire Dogg Food album two years later. Rage closes out the song with short yet strong verse. Co-production props should go to Daz, who was uncredited for his work on the song.

10. Ain’t No Fun (If The Homies Can’t Have None)

Guess whose back in the motha*****in house! Snoop and his Dogg Pound homies serve up yet another classic joint centering on bustin hoes and passing to the homies. The song that gave Nate Dogg his pre-Regulate popularity is probably one of the most fun tracks off the LP. Nate starts off the track with a short tale about a flip that is so catchy you can’t help but sing along. Kurupt and Snoop both drop entertaining verses, closing out with Warren G dropping his verse and the most hilarious line of the whole album – “So back up ***** because I’m struggling. Just get on your knees and then start jugglin”. The violin and bass heavy instrumental, which contains a sample of Lyn Collins “Think (about it)”, rounds out the song.

11. Doggy Dogg World

Snoop is once again joined by Tha Dogg Pound, but more unexpectedly by 70’s Soul group The Dramatics. The beat is one of the most crispy-clean sounds of the time, let alone the album, taking direct inspiration from Richard Fields’ “If It Ain’t One Thing, It’s Another”. Snoop starts Doggystyle’s third single by addressing the cheap Snoop Dogg imitators that were floating around at the time. Kurupt however steals the show with an impressive display of lyrical talent that would only be rivaled by his own verse on “Stranded On Death Row”, released only a year earlier. Although Daz does not have the lyrical stamina of Snoop or Kurupt, he more then makes up for it with his performing presence and slick rhyming savvy. Doggy Dogg World is uncharacteristically smoother then any of other tracks on the album but definitely ensures its niche.

12. Gz And Hustlaz

This track is without a doubt the single greatest freestyled track in Death Row Records history. Snoop’s unscripted endurance trial flows bar for bar in an almost flawless fashion, and does not skimp on the albums trend of smoothly executed, catchy, and memorable phrases such as “If you want some, get some, bad enough, take some”. The beat itself was taken entirely from Bernard Wright’s “Haboglabotribin”, with some slight modifications, and reworked with Snoop taking advantage in every way possible concerning the beat. It is as if Snoop’s unique and smooth flow was made to be performed over this type of instrumental. Although not a hit, Gz And Hustlaz is quality material.

13. Pump Pump

Doggystyle comes to a close with the albums most hardcore and intense song. The beat itself is the high point of the song. Its sound would be at home in the goriest scene of the sickest slasher film. This would definitely be Dre’s cherry on the top to a dramatically intense themed album, which could be considered the epitome of a hardcore rap album. Snoop drops his first two cold and remorseless verses right before introducing the final guest to the album – a very young Hershey Loc who too spits with a cold and vicious demeanor. All in all the song serves as a climatic end to an epic album.

The final score? A well deserved 5 out of 5 classic. If The Chronic changed the sound of Hip-Hop, Doggystyle cemented the sound and ensured its reign for the next decade. Everything about this time in Snoop’s life took its toll on the album and is the reason why it is the best known and most classically treasured projects of Snoop Doggy Dogg’s career. In a few years he would be known as: one of Amerikaz most wanted alongside his lable-mate Tupac, The Doggfather, and eventually the Big Boss Dogg, but the majority of his fans will always remember Snoop as the young pimp who was doin up the game Doggystyle.

Mac – Shell Shocked

Mac - Shell ShockedIf you were a fan of hip hop during the 90’s chances are you we’re bumping almost anything Master P put his platinum touch on. While a lot of fans condemned them for biting and over saturation, no one can deny that No Limit Records put forth one of the greatest runs in hip hop history. In the midst of their 22 albums released in 1998, most were unfortunatley overlooked. One of these included the solo debut of the talented MC – Mac, formerly of the Psychoward click. This was released in June 1998.


1.) Boss Chick feat. Mia X: Released as the first single (complete with video), this is more out of Mac’s comfort zone. The beat is typical Beats By The Pound, and features Mac rapping about his “boss *****”, which in this case is “Unlady Like” diva – Mia X. Decent song at best, and only features one verse from each rapper.

2.) Be All You Can Be feat. Fiend, Silkk The Shocker: The first great song on the album features fellow No Limit soldiers – Fiend and Silkk The Shocker. Fiend starts the track off with an amazing hook, and commendable verse. Mac jumps on the second verse, describing his struggles and curiosity as to why the streets are the way the way they are. Silkk drags the track down slightly, with his offbeat flow. Great song, however.

3.) Soldier Party feat. Master P: Both artists underachieve extremely on this track. The beat is nothing exceptional, but the hook is abysmal, and Master P’s constant “Unnngghhh’s” grow old after the first minute of the song. Mac comes through with a decent first verse, but it unfortunatley doesn’t make the song any better.

4.) Murda, Murda, Kill, Kill feat. Mystikal: Although this song only clocks in at 2:25, this is a “soldier” song all the way through. Mac sets off the army influenced instrumental, with memorable lyrics “If I die in battle, tell my folks I was no joke when I blasted/Wrap me up in camoulflage and put that tank on my casket.” Then Mystikal comes through and completely WRECKS the beat. His quick punchlines and impecable flow easily make for one of the best records on the entire album. Definatley recommended.

5.) Tank Dogs feat. C-Murder, Fiend: Anybody that remembers No Limit remembers their constant advertising for upcoming albums. One of those albums at the time was the group debut of the “Tank Doggs”, which featured C-Murder a.k.a. “50 Dollaz”, Fiend a.k.a. “Sleepy Eyed Jones”, and Mac a.k.a. “The Camoulflaged Assassin.” This song features a pounding drum and bass loop. Great song featuring three of No Limit’s finest MC’s.

6.) Slow Ya Roll: Mac’s first solo song is a hip hop classic. Over a very solumn instrumental, Mac details the come up of a young nigga trying to make noise in the game of life. His storytelling ability really shines as this 4 minute track showcases why Mac deserves to be mentioned with the greats. Classic track in every aspect.

7.) We Don’t Love ‘Em: A very plain beat is provided by Beats By The Pound, as Mac tries (and fails) to explain why none of his soldiers “love them hoes.” At just over 3 minutes long, the hook sounds unusually awkward, and Mac is cut off during his third verse. Average song at best.

8.) Wooo feat. Kane & Abel, Mr. Serv-On, Big Ed, Snoop Dogg, Mia X: A pounding beat is served up for Mac and the No Limit family to get busy to. Starting off with a hard hitting verse (“No Limit black sheep, played the backseat for months/Stayed away from the tangueray, *****es, and blunts”), Mac’s flawless verse is followed by Kane & Abel, who do decent at best. Mr. Serv-On’s fast paced flow suits the beat well, while Snoop is still obviously trying to get comfortable over southern production. Great song none the less, and definatley recommended to the average No Limit fan.

9.) Can I Ball feat. Soulja Slim: A true gem on this classic album, this track features deceased New Orleans legend – Soulja Slim, just after the release of his national debut and incarceration. Mac and Slim trade verses on coming up in the game, and balling while sporting diamonds. Slim’s verse is flawless, as is Mac’s making for an all around classic song.

10.) Money Gets feat. Master P: A dissapointing track, in comparison to the two songs before it. This is nothing more then the same old “keep yo eyes on yo enemiessssss” track, with Master P’s monotonous flow becoming a little too repetitive. Not even Mac can save this song, with his above average verse over the subpar beat.

11.) The Game: A lyrical exercise of some sorts, Mac rocks this KLC produced track with memorable lines (“I’ll transform into Liu Kang and finish ya”), as he roams through the beat with three classic verses. Great song, up and down, although it’s only 3 minutes long.

12.) Callin Me: Unlike “Boss Chick”, this song showcases Mac’s ability to spit game the proper way. Over a soothing instrumental courtesy of Mo B. Dick, Mac explains how the ***** keeps callin him, although he needs to be spending his time in the studio or on the set. One of the better tracks on the album, and out of No Limit’s usual “gangsta” depiction.

13.) Memories feat. C-Murder: This song features two of No Limit’s better artists going back and forth over a pounding piano about their memories growing up in the game. C-Murder’s prescense on the beat alone makes his verse noteworthy, but Mac steals the show by far with a classic verse. Great song, proving that Mac and C-Murder were a deadly combination on the mic.

14.) Meet Me At The Hotel feat. Mr. Serv-On, Magic, Mia X: A more uptempo version of “Callin Me” this song features Mac running game once again. This time Mr. Serv-On, Magic, and Mia X appear for forgettable guest spots. Although this song is good, it’d be better suited for Mac; and Mac alone.

15.) Shell Shocked feat. Fiend: At first listen, the beat will bore you. It’s another unrecognizable BBTP instrumental. However, the Tank Dogg combination on the track is undeniable. At just under 3 minutes, Mac and Fiend deliver very hard verses, making the title track slightly better then most would’ve thought. Good song.

16.) Paranoid feat. Silkk The Shocker: There are two reasons that this song is one of the best on the album. First off, it’s another one of Mac’s storytelling songs, and a very good one at that (Mac, while engaging in gunfire, accidentally shoots his brother). Secondly, while this song says it features Silkk The Shocker, he is only on the hook, giving Mac the time he needs to shine, and get his point across. The chorus lacks unbelievably, but this track is recommended for Mac’s verses and delivery alone.

17.) Nobody Make A Sound feat. 2-4-1, Magic, Fiend: Quite possibly the worst track on a near flawless album. While 5 MC’s are listed to appear on the track, the song is only 2:33 long. 2-4-1 (who thankfully never released an album) are awful, and Mac dissapoints with this subpar verse. Fiend and Magic don’t do much better, making for a terrible song.

18.) Beef: This is another one of Mac’s solo storytelling songs. While he’s depicted young thugs coming up in the game, and the war in the streets, this one is strictly about beef. Here, Mac describes a day at the mall when somebody steps to him. An outstanding hook, backed with an entertaing and upbeat instrumental, make for a track easily up there with the best.

19.) Camoulflage Love feat. Storm: Featuring Mac’s “Psychoward” comrade – Storm, this is a fairly short song, about each other’s urge to *****. “I enter your body just like a shotti/I keep your heart pumpin and thumpin, that Lodi Dodi” just about sums it up. Decent track at best, but won’t stand out, and only features one verse from Mac.

20.) Empire: Another solo song from Mac, features what sounds like 32 bars from No Limit’s premiere lyricist. More of a battle track in some sorts, Mac sends a warning shot to anybody *****ing with the Tank. “So the next nigga talkin ’bout we country and weak…/I hope his mama catch cancer and die in her sleep” ends the track about as aggressivley as possible. Great, great song.

21.) My Brother: The deepest track on the album by far, features Mac ending the album in the best way possible. Telling another story. This one is about his brother. Mac cleverly details that although they’ve had their differences, they’re still thug brothers and praises him while he’s alive, rather then wait ’til he’s dead and gone. All this is done over a smooth, captivating beat. Great song, and my personal favorite on the album.

22.) Shell Shocked (Outro): An acapella chant from Mac in true soldier fashion. Nothing more, nothing less.

After listening to the majority of the tracks, one comes to understand that the game has really lost one of it’s finest lyricists and story tellers. Painting vivid visions of the game, the struggle, and the luxuries, Mac was easily the best artist (in the truest sense of the word) No Limit has ever seen. My advice: Go out and buy this album, pick up “World War III” (which is surprisingly better and more introspective then this album), and pray for Mac.

Overall Rating: 5/5