Cormega – The Testament

Cormega - The TestamentBack in 1996, Nas was shaping up a pet project he called “The Firm”–a four-MC, one-producer project which involved Cormega. However, shortly after announcing the album, Cormega was replaced with another Queensbridge native, Nature. After being released, Mega went through more label trouble; Def Jam Records shelved his recorded debut, The Testament, made in 1997. Now, eight years after leaving the label, Mega can finally release the never-publicly-heard album which should have announced his presence in the rap game.


1) Intro

A lethargic piano accompanies Cormega as he recites a verse in the form of spoken-word poetry.

2) 62 Pickup

Mega is in a courtroom, about to hear his sentence; the judge asks him if he’d like to say any words, and he launches into the track. This beat was produced by Cormega himself; mostly a slow, sympathy-inducting piano. Mega’s lyrics are nice, maybe the flow not as developed but overall a good track. (Good)

3) One Love

A reply to the famous One Love track by Nas; Mega ‘writes’ back, ironically showing Nas love. The beat is nice, an aural flute over a thumping drum. Mega’s lyrics are nice; if they’re to be compared to Nas’ on the original One Love, I’d say the track is about as good. (Great)

4) Interlude

Mega lists the ‘greatest’ aspects of life–the greatest victory, defeat, etc.

5) Angel Dust ft. Havoc

Over a slightly gothic, haunting compilation of strings, Mega spits scorching verses about himself and his street tendencies. His lyrics are sick to say the least; Hav comes on for the chorus, lending it that bleak, Mobb Deep-type feel. (Excellent)

6) Dead Man Walking

Over a bleak piano chord, Mega spits a vivid story about going against a street rival. Proof his storytelling skills can rival the best–Nas, for instance. (Great)

7) Montana Diary

Another haunting string track, done masterfully; this sounds like it was orchestrated. Mega’s lyrics over the shuffling drums are some full-out fire; clearly meant to signal the start of a rap titan. (Excellent)

8) Testament

A dark and disjointed piano/accordion(?) track, Cormega once again spits some great, complex lyrics. (Great)

9) Testament

The beat here doesn’t flow as well as the newer version; otherwise, the track is about the same.

10) Every Hood ft. Fatal Hussein

A lighter, more hopeful beat sees Cormega and then-Outlaw Fatal Hussein rhyme about connecting through hoods. Fatal’s kickoff verse is nice; so are Mega’s follow-up lyrics. The hook is okay, but mostly serves to be over quickly so Fatal and Mega can return to trading verses. (Excellent)

11) Coco Butter

Using a muted version of the same sample that AZ would later use for his song “Seems That Way” off of Final Call, Mega rhymes to a woman; he’s not at his best here, but he still manages to hold the track up; the song itself, however, sounds out-of-place on this particular album. (Decent)

12) Killaz Theme ft. Mobb Deep

This sinister, Havoc-produced soft-violin cut sees Prodigy, Cormega and Havoc rhyme some of their best verses respectively, giving it that real dark Queensbridge sound that Mobb Deep manifested at the time. A nostalgic look at what Mobb Deep once was as well as a great song in itself. (Excellent)

13) Love is Love

Using what seems to be same sample used in GZA’s Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth (however used in a very different way), Mega kicks advice to a younger thug and other hoodlums about watching one’s back in the streets. (Good)

14) Dead Man Walking (Remix)

Using a revamped version of the original beat, Mega forsakes the narrative format and kicks it straight to his enemies, Friend or Foe style. (Excellent)


My Rating: 4/5

This album has already come under light fire in regards to Mega’s then-undeveloped flow. However his lyrics are still top-notch, and this solid debut album should serve as a Testament to his improvement since then and his determination to make it in the rap scene. If he’d only been able to release it when it was ready (on a major label such as Def Jam), followed by his next two acclaimed albums, maybe his career would have been a bit different.

My Recommendation: B…U…Y.

Cormega – Legal Hustle

Cormega - Legal HustleIf you’ve heard anything about The Firm, you’ve heard about Cormega, the man who was dropped from the group cuz of his jail time. If a rapper can be in the Firm, and then diss Nas and Nature at the same time and still be talked about, shit..he’s good in my book. I decided to check some of his shit, and, well, he’s *****in ill. Corm has that same kind of laid-back voice as AZ, but his style is more complex and his lines are good shit. The result is one of the best rappers out, kind of a mix between AZ and Royce da 5’9”, and so sick that he’s probably a match Nas himself. The only problem is that his mellow voice, like AZ, really doesn’t allow him to put much emotion or passion into his verses. Still, this doesn’t stop him from being one of the best rappers out right now. Ratings: GRR = Horrible, Boo! = Poor, Meh = Avg., Cool = Good, Yeah! = Great, HELL YEAH = Excellent


1) Intro ft. Doña, Miz

A soft, laid-back piano beat that fits Corm’s voice. Corm delivers Royce-style tight lyrics; then the beat switches to a more aggressive cut that better fits his labelmates Doña and Miz. Doña however is annoying, a woman with decent skills (Eve-level, I’d say) but with a deep, butch voice that just doesn’t work. Miz, at first listen, sounds like Jay-Z, and he’s okay. (Meh)

2) Beautiful Mind 

Using a slightly different version of, but mostly the same piano beat as labelmate Royce’s T.O.D.A.Y., Corm spits the same sullen, sicc style of deep lyrics on various topics. One of the album’s best tracks.


3) Let it Go ft. M.O.P

A kinda hard piano beat somehow manages to suit both Mega and rap duo M.O.P. without making Corm seem too soft. Good competitive track like for a video game soundtrack. (Cool)

4) The Bond ft. Doña 

Doña delivers an actually pretty good verse over this odd but good, echoey, hard-drum beat. Cormega speaks on loyalty. Good collab track. (Cool)

5) Bring it Back 

Over another strange but pretty good, kinda dark beat by Ayatollah), Corm raps a good, uninterrupted 2-minute verse about old MC’s he used to look up to back in the day. (Cool)

6) Hoody ft. Doña 

This is either a very RZA-ish beat I haven’t heard before, or a RZA beat that I have heard, I’m not sure which right now. Corm and Don rhyme to a “crowd,” both coming with the usual–Corm with sickness, Don with so-so verses. However this is one of Cormega’s greatest verses, possibly his best on the album. (Yeah!)

7) Dangerous ft. Vybz Kartel, Unda P. 

Over an aptly dangerous calypso-ish beat, Cormega with good rhymes of course. The reggaeish Vybz delivers a clever, funny verse (Kill Will/Bill Smith just to Kiss Jada…Pinkett) but Una P. comes with the usual Sean Paul type Jamaican jibberish. Good for reggae lovers. (Cool)

8) Tony/Montana ft. Ghost Face Killer

Another one of the best, possibly the best track on the album. The killer and Mega grace a damn soulful beat with great motha*****in rhymes. Tie for Mega’s best verse on the album, and Ghost Face comes with one of his best verses in years. (HELL YEAH!)

9) Personified ft. Doña

A different rendition of Jay-Z’s What More Can I Say, Cormega comes with a real, Nas-style rambling, overlapping verse but with a good, on-point flow like Jay-Z. The letdown here is Don’s poor hook and lacking verse, which kinda dominate this cut. (Meh)

10) Stay Up ft. Kira

A smooth, funkified beat and the woman in the background should have Cormega rapping to a woman, but instead has him rapping complex shit about living in the ghetto and doing whatchu gotta do. The mismatched beat doesn’t stop Corm from dropping some proficient verses. (Cool)

11) Deep Blue Seas ft. Kurupt, Jayo Felony

A bangin, horn-laced cut showcases Kurupt, Jayo and Mega laying great verses. For some reason the high-pitched echoey hook isn’t annoying but I could see it getting old quickly. I really think Royce da 5’9” could have been a great addition to this star-studded song, and as he’s also on Koch it wouldn’t have been hard to negotiate. Oh, well. (Yeah!)

12) More Crime ft. Jacka

My favorite track on this album, very deep with a really soulful beat by Maki. Cormega delivers good verses, and sings the catchy hook pretty well. (HELL YEAH!)

13) Monster’s Ball ft. Banger, Lake, Main O 

A dangerous, deep-piano-laced violin track that has Corm spitting more fire with a good verse from newcomer Banger and decent ones from Nas’ protégé Lake and Main O. (Cool)

14) Redemption ft. AZ

YES! Really good collab track between Cormega and AZ; I’m glad they stayed friends. Both of them with their mellow voices over a laid-back beat makes this really fitting. AZ lays down a really good verse and so does Cormega; one of the best collab tracks and tracks in general on the album. (HELL YEAH!)

15) Respect Me ft. Doña 

Another decent couple of verses from Donny, unfortunately this is her track with no sign or Corm, a waste of a good beat in my opinion. At least this time her hook is pretty good and sets the mood for the dangerous string beat. (Meh)

16) Sugar Ray and Hearns ft. Large Professor 

Cormega and Professor trade verses well here, both giving good rhymes on this laid-back, floaty beat. (Cool)

17) The Machine ft. Doña, Miz

Doña flows really well over this laid-back beat, making her listenable. Miz still sounds a little like Jay-Z, giving more pretty good rhymes but nothing special. Cormega still shines. (Cool)


Rating: 3.5/5

End Result: This was a really good album but still had a few falling points. Mostly a showcase for Cormega’s potential. Mega shows his great skill throughout, when the beats lack originality (taking others’ beats and altering them slightly) and the over-abundant guest appearances (especially from Don) give this a bit of a mixtape feel. I would remove a bunch of Don’s verses and a few others from their songs (Lake, Unda P.) and that’s about it. The only joint that really fails at what it tries to do, is Stay Up, proving Cormega still can’t really drop the type of deep, soul-catching tracks as some other MC’s. However the majority are still good, creative, unspoiled cuts, and Cormega moves away from his usual constant disses towards Nas, which is good.

My Recommendation: GET THIS ALBUM, whether a previous Cormega fan or a newcomer. It really showcases what he can do, and is a step up from his previous Nas-obsessed slump.