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

The Luniz – Bootlegs & B-Sides

The Luniz - Bootlegs & B-Sides1. Scandalous(Feat Suga T) 

We start with an intro with C&H & Richie Rich discussing women, Richie Rich would’ve been perfect for this track. The beat is a nice funky pimp type beat and Yumouth starts off first with a great verse mixed with humor, man Yukmouth is an incredible rapper and this song proves it. Suga T has a decent verse, but I don’t really like her that much unless she’s singing. Numskull has the last verse and man he outshines everyone, Numskull is such a great rapper, he really needs a solo album out and I’m not counting that album with Clee. Yukmouth does a funny chorus making his voice low and sinister talking about ho’s being scandalous then adds a Wizard Of Oz reference to it. Good

2. Doin Dirt(Feat Dru Down)

DOPE! Now this is a track that should have been on Operation Stackola, they use the same beat Brotha Lynch Hung used for his 24 Deep song but they add that Luniz flavor to it. The chorus is so dope, they use samples from “C.R.E.A.M.”. Numskull starts it off with a great verse that only Numskull can do. Yukmouth then with a great verse, oh man this song is crazy! Then DRU DOWN! Dru has such a great verse, his flow here is crazy. Classic song with that Luniz flavor that only they can do. DOPE!

3. Dirty Raps

Beat is on some funky pimp shit, it’s ok but a little annoying. This song is about….well screwing ho’s, funny stuff though as the Luniz can make a dirty song into a humorous track. C&H & Dru Down do the chorus and they just basically talk over it. Yukmouth with a good verse. Yuk & Nukm carried the beat quite well. Good

4. Scope

DOPE! This beat is really weird, I can’t describe it, it’s just odd but very dope. “I know the whole deal on you tramps” is said like 5 times by Yuk in the beginning in this funny ass voice. Numskull starts it off with a funny and dope verse then Yukmouth takes the mic and rips the shit to pieces, man they’re flowing so smooth here, they’re riding this beat well. Numskull raps again and tells a pretty funny story about spilling his Kool Aid. Then Yuk raps again oh man this song is insane, I don’t know why this was never added onto Operation Stackola. DOPE!

5. Just A Freak

Same track as Operation Stackola, I have no clue why this is on here. I don’t really like this track, the beat is slow, the chorus is funny though as they twist the Barney song into something really dirty. Not into this track. Wack

6. Stupid

The outro to Operation Stackola is used as the intro here. Nice funky type song, great Luniz flavor here as Numskull starts it off with the typical dope Nummy Num verse. Yukmouth starts out calm then just rips it. Classic Luniz here. DOPE!

All in all I’m giving this a Good rating leaning towards DOPE!, a very dope collection of songs that never made Operation Stackola, some tracks deserved to be on Operation Stackola. It’s a pretty rare album but I hear they’re re-releasing it and adding some new tracks(!) so if you can find this then definetly cop it, and if not then wait and cop the rumoured re-release.

Luniz – Operation Stackola

Luniz - Operation Stackola01.) “Intro”
Produced by DJ Fuse

02.) “Put The Lead On Ya” (feat. Dru Down) (4.5 out of 5)
Produced by Tone Capone
“Put The Lead On Ya” was a great way to kick-off “Operation Stackola”. Numskull and Yukmouth both spit fire over the grimy production of Tone Capone. Dru Down spits one of his career-best verses on this track. Dru Down and the Luniz have an undeniable chemistry together. I’m lovin’ the Eazy-E sample on this track.

03.) “I Got 5 On It” (5 out of 5)
Produced by Tone Capone
It’s very difficult to describe how outstanding this record is. If you can’t remember where you were the first time you heard this track… then there’s something wrong with you. Numskull and Yukmouth perform what can be argued as their career-best (group) lyrical performance over one of the greatest instrumentals of all-time. To say the least… this track has stood the test of time. More than a classic.

04.) “Broke Ho’s” (5 out of 5)
Produced by Shock G.
Numskull and Yukmouth flawlessly flow over one of Shock G.’s signature piano-driven productions. This is a truely hypnotic production. The VERY SECOND you hear the hook… you’ll NEVER be able to get it out of your head. This is a personal favorite of mine.

05.) “Pimps, Playas, Hustlas” (feat. Dru Down and Richie Rich) (4.5 out of 5)
Produced by N.O. Joe
Dru Down, Numskull, Richie Rich and Yukmouth ALL tear N.O. Joe’s outstanding production to shreds. Dru Down and Richie Rich are the absolute best MC’s that the Luniz could have recuited for this track. The only complaint (and it’s hardly a complaint) I have about this cut is that the hook can become SOMEWHAT annyoing after a while.

06.) “Playa Hata” (5 out of 5)
Produced by E-A-Ski and CMT
When I say that “Playa Hata” by the Luniz is a personal favorite of mine… I mean it! This song would probrobly rank as my second or third favorite song of all-time. If you ask me… the Luniz are easily one of the best group’s in Hip-Hop history. This track is proof of that statement. The production on “Playa Hata” is absolutly PERFECT! Everything about this track is a picture of perfection, from the flow of Numskull and Yukmouth to the hook. It still amazes me how the Luniz (along with E-A-Ski and CMT) were able to perfect Bobby Caldwell’s classic slow-jam.

07.) “Broke Niggaz” (feat. Knucklehead and Eclipse) (4 out of 5)
Produced by DJ Fuse
The highlight of this track is the grimy production of DJ Fuse. Knucklehead and Eclipse both drop nice verses (more-so Knucklehead). Numskull and Yukmouth (as usual) drop outstanding verses.

08.) “Operation Stackola” (4.5 out of 5)
Produced by N.O. Joe
If you ask me… this is THE BEST group lyrical performance in the history of West Coast Hip-Hop. The production of N.O. Joe is outstanding on this track. I’ll probrobly be annoyed in a few months when I read this again and wonder why I didn’t give it a “5”.

09.) “5150” (4.5 out of 5)
Produced by Shock G.
I can’t get enough of the “Shock-Jesus” intro on this track. Numskull and Yukmouth both have a criminally under-rated flow. You gotta love the hook. After listening to this track all you can do is pray that the Luniz and Shock G. will one day re-unite and make music like this again.

10.) “900 Blame A Nigga” (4 out of 5)
Produced by DJ Fuse
Numskull and Yukmouth for the um-teenth time spit fire over an outstanding West Coast production. Eventhough the “redneck’s” on this track are hilarious (and they serve a purpose), it kind-of ruins the flow of this track.

11.) “Yellow Brick Road” (5 out of 5)
Produced by N.O. Joe
The ORIGINAL Ice Cream Man… Yukmouth and his parter in crime, Numskull put-on a classic lyrical performance for the sequel to Dru Down’s 1994 underground classic “Ice Cream Man”. “Ya Mama got a long-ass throat when she drinks milk, by the time it get’s to her throat it’s spoiled!”… CLASSIC! N.O. Joe sure-as-hell LACED the Luniz on this track.

12.) “So Much Drama” (feat. Nik Nack) (3.5 out of 5)
Produced by Terry T
The production (along with Nik Nack’s verse) are very average on this track. The track is improved with the lyrical performances of Numskull and Yukmouth. “So Much Drama” includes the first of MANY disses to Master P (from the Luniz) for jacking Yukmouth’s “Ice Cream Man” alias.

13.) “She’s Just A Freak” (3.5 out of 5)
Produced by Gino Blackwell
The production of Gino Blackwell rates at about a “3.5”. The highlight of “She’s Just A Freak” is the lyrical performance from Yukmouth. Although the hook is absolutly HILARIOUS… it’s rather annoying. Don’t let your lady hear this cut… LOL!

14.) “Plead Guilty” (4.5 out of 5)
Produced by DJ Darryl
This was the best way to end “Operation Stackola”. Numskull and Yukmouth spit FIRE over the outstanding production of DJ Darryl.

15.) “Outro”
Produced by DJ Fuse

CONCLUSION: “Operation Stackola” is an undeniable classic from one of the best group’s to ever enter the West Coast Hip-Hop scene. Everything about this album is top-notch, from the production to the lyrical performances of Numskull and Yukmouth. It’s a damn shame that this album doesn’t recieve as much credit as it deserves. I urge you to go purchase this album!

FINAL RATING: 5 out of 5