Tha Realest’s name is synonamous with ‘Pac biting. Ever since his debut in 1997 on the “Gang Related Soundtrack”, Tha Realest’s style, demeanor, and even tattoos and looks have been 2Pac related. Ironically signed to Deathrow Records for 5 years, Tha Realest made his name known nationally appearing on compilations like “The Chronic 2000” and “Too Gangsta 4 Radio”. However, after being shelved like everyone else on Tha Row, Tha Realest left after his contract expired in late 2001. Serving up the prequel to his national debut “Witness Tha Realest”, Tha Realest offers the mixtape (of the same title), which features renowned artists C-Bo, Kurupt, WC, Roscoe, Dru Down, and Devin The Dude.
1.) Street Lyfe feat. C-Bo, Jewell: A smooth piano loop is laced, as C-Bo serves up one his best verses in a while. Tha Realest follows (although a little off beat) with a good 16, while Jewell sings another beautiful hook. Good track.
2.) Tha Pressure’z Of Man feat. Crooked I: After garnering attention with their successful collaboration ‘Drunk Driving In My Glass House’, Crooked & Tha Realest return with this hard hitting track. Crooked I clearly steals the show, though, with his delivery, and equally impressive lyrics. Great collaboration.
3.) Everyday feat. 6’9: A laid back track, Tha Realest bounces over this smooth instrumental, with introspective lyrics, and deep message. Great track, and could’ve easily been used for his debut. Solid production, a smooth hook, and Tha Realest’s surprisingly deep topics make for a good track.
4.) The Life feat. WC, A-Bo, LBG: CLEARLY the best track on the album. This is the West Coast at it’s best. Featuring Westside legend – WC, Tha Realest serves up his best verse in a long time. After nearly 4 minutes of LBG, A-Bo, and WC tearing it up, Tha Realest comes with a noticable flow, very reminiscent of ‘Pac in his prime. Great track, and without a doubt, the best on the mixtape.
5.) That Don’t Make U My Gurl: East Coast production don’t suit Tha Realest; point blank. Southern beats and West Coast instrumental are what he needs to stick to, and this is a prime example. Over a soulful sample, Tha Realest tries his best to detail his struggle with women getting attached. Not a good look. Skip this one.
6.) R We Really Homiez feat. A-Bo: A-Bo guests again, and doesn’t dissapoint. Similar subject matter for Tha Realest, as they go back and forth over another smooth sample. Fake friends is the subject here, and while Tha Realest’s lyrics could use an upgrade, it still makes for a decent track.
7.) Nigga What: The first real southern-themed track, features Tha Realest in his purest form. While the hook is definatley as generic as it gets, Tha Realest rides the beat perfectly, making for a suprisingly great track. “Quicker then your average, a West Coast savage” is about as good as it gets.
8.) This Dream feat. A-Bo: Another deep track (to balance the mixtape out), features A-Bo once again. This, however, is obviously the deepest song on the entire mixtape. Over a dark instrumental complete with violin chords, Tha Realest pours his heart into this one. Good song.
9.) Ridin feat. LBG, Bonecrusher: This is yet another attempt at an East Coast crossover. While Bonecrusher rides the beat perfectly, and doesn’t dissapoint in the least, Tha Realest shows once again, while his style’s just not suited for NY flavored hip hop. Decent track, for Bonecrusher’s feature alone.
10.) Hoez’z Iz Trouble feat. A-Bo, Gonzoe, Finesse, Dirty Black, WC: A Regime rollcall (minus Yukmouth), features the Bay Area based group trading stories on troubling hoes. Smooth instrumental, plus good features from each artist make for a noteworthy track.
11.) Thug’n In Tha Summatyme: Great, great, West Coast summertime track. Featuring Nate Dogg-soundalike, Boskoe, Tha Realest rides this Westside banger smoothly. Zapp effects are used here, demonstrating Tha Realest can switch up the subject matter, and make a smooth, ride out song. Perfect for the BBQ’s.
12.) Why Iz Tha World So Bad: Despite the fact most of his song titles are a little too much like ‘Pac’s, Tha Realest serves up another above average track. As he questions why the world is so bad, the beat manages to save the song.
13.) ***** U If U Lonely feat. Tha Gotti Boyz: More of an R&B track catering to the ladies that are lonely. Tha Realest doesn’t care, cause he’s gonna ***** you either way. Good song, as I think most listener’s wouldn’t expect a more laid back cut like this.
14) Sumthin Like A Pimp feat. Devin The Dude, Dru Down: Although billed as the first single for “Witness Tha Realest” back in 2005, this song has been shelved for the mixtape, as a long 2 years has gone by. Never the less, this is cleary Dru Down’s song as his macadoshis flavor completes the track, and only features one verse from Tha Realest. Good song for Dru, only.
15.) 2 Live & Die 4 Tha Westside feat. Kurupt, Roscoe: Featuring D.P.G. brothers, Tha Realest ends the mixtape with another track similar to Tupac. In full blown war-mode, Tha Realest, Roscoe, and Kurupt correctly represent their coast to the fullest with this banger. Great way to end the album.
In conclusion, if you can’t get past the fact this guy sounds like Tupac, and you hate him for “biting” or “swagger jacking”, there is no point in even listening to him. But if you appreciate the music he actually makes as an artist (similar to ‘Pac or not), then peep this mixtape, as it is a very good apetizer to what his national debut could be. Hopefully all the years on the independent scene will pay off, and the world will finally be prepared to “Witness Tha Realest”.
Overall Rating: 3.8/5