Category Archives: REVIEWS

Hip hop album reviews, past and present

Venomous 2000 – Sounds Of The Great Ones (ALBUM REVIEW)

I must first admit that as of late I have been slowly becoming disillusioned with hip hop music. There was once a time when this music was consistently dope, at the forefront and in abundance. When these dark clouds begin to surround me and I start to drift away from the culture, a glimmer of hope drags me back to continue this love affair with hip hop. In walks Jersey native Venomous 2000 and Serbian producer X Trilian with “Sounds Of The Great Ones” and order is once again restored to the hip hop universe!

I love to write album reviews, but before I transcribe my thoughts I first must fully digest the offering. With that being said I listened to ‘Sounds Of The Great Ones’ constantly from when it first dropped a few months back. I don’t believe in flicking through the contents of an album then hurrying out a quick review. This album was no exception. In fact, I probably spent more time absorbing the contents of this album than any of V’s previous work including the most excellent Will To Power.

First off, the album cover art is fresh and the title is fitting. You instantly get a good feeling that the content is going to be dope. The next thing I noticed is the number of awesome guest spots on this album, the older heads will definitely recognise and appreciate some big names from the 90’s and early 2000’s including The Artifacts, Cella Dwellas, Inspectah deck, 9th Prince, Tiye Phoenix, C Rayz Walz and Shabaam Sadeeq.

Venomous opens up with “Know Things,” hard hitting lyrics over a hard hitting beat from Trillian and some ill cuts from UK turntablist DJ TMB. Trillian is not a producer I’m familiar with but after this one I’m already wanting to hear more. A stand out track in my opinion is “Hot Damn” oooooweeeeeee!!! It’s a banger! Venomous, El Da Sensei, Tame One and Tiye Phoenix trade verses over some neck snapping production from Trillian. DJ Trickalome adds the finishing touches with some very nice cuts. Every verse is dope but Tiye Phoenix blows the spot on the track finale showing that she is indeed officially up there with the top femcees in the game.

After listening to “Homecoming” I felt it didn’t fit with the style of the rest of the album. Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed it but it was like I was suddenly listening to a different album. The original “Rock The Bells” was my introduction to Venomous back in 2011 and when I saw “Rock The Bells PT2″ on this track list I was full of anticipation. Just as I hoped, it didn’t disappoint. You won’t hear a better opening verse than the one V2G drops on this, it is flames! The combination of Reks and C Rayz Walz who add their own individual and unique styles heightens the all round listening experience. Again the production from Trillian and cuts from DJ TMB are near perfect.

Things slow down a little bit on “My Grandma Used To Say” A beautifully produced song that I immediately fell in love with. Venomous rides this hypnotic beat perfectly, his therapeutic verses had me reminiscing back to different times in my life. Shabaam Sadeeq and the Cella Dwellas lend a hand on “Products Of Evironment“. All four lyricists flex their mic skills to great effect, weaving in and out of Trilians production with the smoothest of flows. Another thumbs up.

Any comic fans out There? I’m a big fan of MF Doom and all the alias’s he uses on his albums and intros. I must say that I’ve never heard anything quite like “Marvelous” and the reference to so many Marvel characters on one track from venomous which is just exceptional. V shines here and shows just how gifted he is as a writer.

Just when you thought things couldn’t get any better, along comes a Wu-Tang / Venomous combination on “Make Ya Speakers Pop.” This time Inspectah Deck , 9th Prince and NLZ step up to the mic. Trilian has pulled out all the stops on the production here and you can’t help but nod your head to this beat. DJ TMB lays his artistry to the cuts.

I kind of expected a low point towards the end of the album, but that didn’t actually happen, quite the opposite in fact. Over the course of the album I listened to a side of Venomous I’ve not heard before, a more aggressive mc and a more aggressive approach to his flow, an mc with the versatility to stand along side anybody on a track and shine. “Psalms 76” is one of my favourite joints on the album. V spazzes out without drawing breath and spits some heavy bars. I don’t live in the hood or remotely near anywhere dangerous but this had me stomping through the quiet streets of my home town like a Universal soldier. “It’s Over” is a short track acting like a musical outro. Still very dope all round. Conclusion, I’ve spent a lot of time with Venomous 2000’s music overall and he continues to produce albums that go from strength to strength. He always seems to grow and add something different to his arsenal on every joint. V is one of the few that still rides and bleeds for hip hop, something his fanbase will be most appreciative of. V proves time and again he can stand alone or shine alongside some of hip hops elite. The production on this album was top notch throughout. As I said before Trilian is a producer I was unfamiliar with but after listening to this I will definitely be checking for him in the future. The chemistry was almost like these guys had been working together for years. Hats off to DJ TMB and DJ Trickalome for making this album sound complete with all the dope cuts. All in all this is a dope sounding hip hop album that gave me a lot of listening pleasure. 4/5

DFC – Things In Tha Hood (1994)

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DFC were originally known as Da Flint Crew before changing to Da Funk Clan. They first gained acclaim when they teamed up with MC Breed on the co-credited 1991 album, MC Breed & DFC. Fast forward a couple of years and the Flint Michigan boys were ready to serve up something entirely of their own recipe, with their 1994 gangsta funk debut “Things in tha Hood”.

I initially overlooked this album when it first hit the UK stores. Being a US import it carried a hefty price tag and having never heard anything from Da Funk Clan before I wasn’t going to risk £25 on it. It wasn’t until the following year while digging through the sales rack at my local HMV that I finally found a copy at a more reasonable price so I decided to take a chance on it. A decision partly based on the guest producer/artist collaborations, D.O.C, Warren G, MC Breed and particularly MC Eiht and DJ Slip whose “We Come Strapped” album had been virtually glued to the tape deck of my Walkman for months. 

al-breed-t-double-e-dfc1994 was one of the strongest years in West Coast hip hop history, with Spice 1, MC Eiht, Above The Law, Kokane and many more all dropping monster albums. In retrospect Things In Tha Hood had a lot to live up to and although it doesn’t quite compare to these bonafide classics it still has enough going for it to make it somewhat worth checking out.

MC Breed appears on almost half the tracks, with solid energetic upbeat production, especially the George Clinton inspired “Put Your Locs On.” The best tracks are the collaborations, namely “Caps Get Peeled” and “Mo’ Love,” a pair of summertime jams with Compton legend MC Eiht. “Hand’s on My Nine” and the D.O.C’s dark and moody “Digga Bigga Ditch” are solid too. “Roll With The Clan” was also a track that resonated with me and of course the title track “Things In The Hood” with it’s insanely deep bass. A definite one for a hot day in the whip with the top down. All in all the album is fairly solid. Nothing is truly outstanding but nothing is completely awful either, except for maybe the Warren G produced “Pass The Hooter”, in which he also makes an appearance  spitting the very same verse he used on his own album on the track “What’s Next“. The final track “You Can Get The Dick” also sounded a bit sloppy to me too.

DFC cd albumD.F.C. returned in ’97 with “The Whole World’s Rotten” but have remained quiet ever since. Those of us who still remember DFC will no doubt give respect to Alpha Breed and T Double E as early Michigan rap pioneers, but for the most part their musical legacy has been fairly forgettable. I wouldn’t recommend that listeners go too far out of their way to own a copy of Things In Tha Hood but if your a 90’s hip hop collector then this one might be a nice addition.

RATING:

 

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MC Ren – The Villain In Black (1996)

I remember back in 1996 while working at a record shop, I just got news that MC Ren was about to drop his new album, “The Villain In Black”, and as a huge Ren fan, I was ecstatic to say the least. The day it came out I got in my Camaro, (which was fully loaded with the best sound system around), popped in the disc and BOOM! You could hear every word of the songs in crystal clear detail from well outside the car and the second the Bass kicked in for “Bitch Made Nigga Killa”, I knew Ren had out done himself. That bass just held on one key, and everything around the car shook, then when Ren came in with his verse, the bass just goes nuts! That was the moment I knew what Ren was capable of, and for me this album was his pinnacle moment. Don’t get me wrong, it may not contain huge mind blowing cuts like one or two off his previous album “Shock Of The Hour“, but where that album tended to peak and dip, the Villain In Black disc was very consistent from start to finish. The sad thing is, I remember thinking at the time that nobody would ever catch on to it, partly because none of it is radio friendly. But it’s Ren’s unwillingness to conform to industry trends that always made me stay loyal to him. He always gave the fans what they wanted, not what the radio jack offs wanted.  He may have made videos but you rarely got to see them unless like me you paid to watch them. Remember the old music video station called the Box? it was essentially a video jukebox where you called in and ordered what music video you wanted to watch.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_-dOCbMYRY

Upon initial release the Villain In Black enjoyed relative chart success, peaking at #31 on the Billboard 200. But despite this the album didn’t come without it’s critics, mostly on account of Ren’s partial transition from the socio-political tone and darker production of previous albums to a more g-funk sound that was so heavily influential during the mid 90s. But regardless I love the album and with Ruthless Records label mate Cold 187um producing just over half the tracks, how can you go wrong. “Mad Scientist” has probably one of the tightest beats ever done, just an all around tight song. “Live From Compton Saturday Night” is my next favorite joint, followed by “Mind Blown”. Ren brings back Big Hutch and the rest of Above The Law for the final track called “Bring It On”, (not to be confused with the legendary posse cut by the Geto Boys’).

mc ren

Overall there isn’t a track on this entire album that I don’t like. The Villain In Black is probably one of the most unnoticed albums ever made, by one of the most underrated legends of the gangsta rap genre. To me, he will always be a west coast icon regardless, but just like Ren says, “Fuck a legend”.  An all round solid disc, which I cant say enough about. To this day, Ren continues to be the most unsung and in some cases disrespected member of the N.W.A crew, when in all reality, he was the genius, and mastermind behind most of their best shit. So what if he may never have his own branded headphones, at least he stayed true to where he came from and kept it that way. I hope he never changes. Salute to “the Ruthless Villain”

Big Mike – Somethin’ Serious (1994)

After his flawless contribution on the Geto Boys 1993 classic, Till Death Do Us Part, (arguably outshining Scarface in the process), Big Mike went out on his first solo project – Somethin’ Serious.

Big_Mike

A New Orleans native, but Texas bred, Big Mike has one of the most appealing flows I’ve ever heard. He gets flossy on “Havin Thangs” with the late great Pimp C lending one of his most memorable hooks. Gets his ride on in the bouncy “Creepin-Rollin”. Discusses love and hood romance on “Ghetto Love”. Deals with absent fathers on “Daddy’s Gone” with Mr. Scarface, and gets his thug on in “Smoke Em and Choke Em”.

Somethin Serious, also boasts some “serious” beat-smiths, with John Bido, Mike Banks, N.O. Joe, Pee Wee, Simon Cullins, all contributing some of that southern fried funk. Mike even tries his hand at beat making, producing five of the albums cuts himself. All in all, it has classic potential. If you like this one, you need to check out his 1997 follow up album “Still Serious,”. The production on that joint is a little bit better in my opinion. Somethin’ Serious is still a definite must have for your collection, especially for heads on the 3rd and West Coast.

Ice Cube – Death Certificate (1991)

Death Certificate, Ice Cube’s unflinching manifesto of early 90s young black male attitudes, targeting sellouts, uncle toms and even N.W.A. it is a brutal listen at times and not for the close-minded, the timid or the ignorant. His previous solo debut “AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted,” stuck a middle finger to mainstream America, “Death Certificate” moves on to even more relevant issues.

death certificateIce Cube was never as angry as he was on this album, dealing with problems and injustices on every track, he is a man on a mission. Lyrically it’s one of my favorites. He uses metaphors often to explain his views, and emerges as one of hip hop’s best storytellers, spinning yarns of violence and struggles in the ghettos of South Central Los Angeles. This album was very controversial for its profanities and the way that Cube sometimes comes across as racist, sexist, and intolerant, because he tends to call it “like it is,” but he does his best to justify his views.  A lot of the songs are short but get their point across, so there is never a dull moment.

“Death Certificate is not for the weak of heart or mind. but is an infinitely rewarding musical experience”

Musically, there is no way anyone can deny the absolutely mind blowing complexity in the production at work here. the massively underrated Sir Jinx as well as Cube himself craft unbelievable beats obviously heavily influenced by the Bomb Squad production on Ice Cube’s Pic of ice cube audio cd albumfirst record. The amount of texture and depth to these beats, and the inventiveness and precision of the multi-layered samples used, result in some of the finest production ever heard in hip hop. Some of the best bits include the muffled drunken wail of the horns and the funky breakdown on “Black Korea”, the huge snare on “Man’s Best Friend”, the ridiculous vocal sample on “My Summer Vacation”, the bird call scratches on “A Bird In The Hand”. and Ice Cube as a rapper – his turn of phrase, his rhythm and his immense voice – was never and has never been better. Every syllable is ferociously slammed onto the beat like one of those licence plate machines and enunciated with such unbelievable clarity and power.

An absolute classic!!

RATING:

Kurious – A Constipated Monkey (1994)

Kurious’ debut album “A Constipated Monkey” represents another slept on classic album from the golden era. Half-Cuban, half-Puerto Rican, the Bronx-raised rapper was loved by many hip hop heads, at a time when hip-hop focused on a variety of different lyrical styles and funk & jazz based samples. Tracks like “Uptown Shit” and “Walk Like a Duck” have incredible funky bass lines, as Jorge blesses the mic with his smooth jazzy voice.

“Leave Ya With This” is a standout track, which Jorge dedicates to fallen member Subroc of KMD. The heartfelt lyrics and Jorge’s longing to one day return to the essence to see his friend, can make anyone who lost someone relate.

The horn sample on the hook adds to the melancholy track. Of course the classic cut on this album, “I’m Kurious,” makes great use of The Blackbyrds ultra melodic “Mysterious Vibes (yes the same one used by Paris on his amazing “Days Of Old” 2 years earlier). This cut will have you pressing repeat on your CD player.

“Nikole” finds Kurious rapping about a girl who has played him, and although he mentally suffers, he is over it and looks back in retrospect. Finally, “What’s The Real” has a funky beat as Jorge and Hieroglyphics crew member Casual share lyrical verses together! What more could you ask for?

Production wise, The Beatnuts handle most of the albums bulk, with Prime Minister Pete Nice & Daddy Rich, the SD50s (aka the Stimulated Dummies), and Bosco Money of Downtown Science each contributing (as well as the Groove Merchantz on a bonus track). This is an outstanding team of producers that provide a focused sound that lives up to their top billing. The beats are lively and appealing, almost every one boasting a potent horn sample, deep bass and hard drum kicks. Pete Nice and Bobbito Garcia are also credited as two executive producers.

Original Columbia copies do pop up on discogs from time to time at reasonable prices. However, Constipated Monkey was also re-released in 2007 on Amalgam Entertainment.

HIP HOP FACT: The album is also notable for being the debut of MF Grimm (aka Grimm Reaper) on the track “Baby Bust It

Ill Al Skratch – Creep Wit’ Me (RARE 1994 OOP)

What started off as a song by Ill Al Skratch on “Where My Homiez? (Come Around My Way)” soon spawned in to an entire album (of sorts). Released August 2, 1994, Creep Wit’ Me, was an LP that had some appeal with the mainstream as well as the underground heads. They were both smooth, yet rugged! Pimps, but ghetto!

Ill Al Skratch

“Chill With That” and “The Brooklyn Uptown Connection” are tag team efforts that highlight the duo’s chemistry and have a rougher sound. The album also contains 2 solo joints,  Ill’s “Classic Shit” and Al’s “Summertime,” with Al Skratch’s raspy flow being the stand out of the two.

The problem I find with this album is that tracks seem to interlink as if they are remixes of each other, as many songs use similar ear lines and hooks. “I’ll Take Her” featuring Brian McKnight, has a smooth feel and deserves a star all its own but was it really necessary to add yet another remix version? Then we come to “Where My Homiez? (Dub Version) which is basically 6 minutes of pointless instrumental filler.

The production by The LG Experience & Lowrider is decent enough and worthy of recognition but the album overall doesn’t hold enough substance to make it a true classic. Having said that “Wheres My Homiez” will always be a hip hop anthem.

RATING:

Yamin Semali – Monday/Friday (ALBUM REVIEW)

There are so many quality artists that fly under my hip hop radar, which is why I love the Hip Hop Foundation (a little shameless website promotion there). As a self-dubbed hip hop aficionado, I always take pleasure in discovering dope MC’s but with so many out there that don’t get the recognition they deserve, I’ve been put on to a lot of really good MC’s just through my affiliation with this site. One such artist is East Point, Georgia based MC Yamin Semali.

In the same vein that West Coast MC’s such as Digital Underground and Souls Of Mischief stifled the stereotype that all West Coast music was of the “gangsta” variation in the early 90s, Yamin is one of a plethora of Georgia MC’s that provides an alternative for the popular “trap” music that the Peach state has become generally known for in the last decade. Yamin’s style is a nice blend of consciousness and “everyman” music. His third release “Monday-Friday” is a smooth, ride through this MC’s philosophies on life, which includes jewels on everything from straight up knowledge with tracks such as “Prometheus” and “Top Of The 9th” to the temptations men deal with in the opposite sex on “Big Eyes (Ode To Tracee Ross)”. The production here is top notch from Illastrate who provides a cohesive sound that ties the songs together nicely. These beats are as good as any I’ve heard and provide a great backdrop for Yamin’s melodic flow and dope lyricism.

A major point for me is Yamin kept this album streamlined at 12 tracks (one is an instrumental). In today’s A.D.D. world with so many things to grab people’s attention, an album with too many tracks may get overlooked or passed on but here, less is definitely more. I think we’ve just generally gotten past the period of 17 to 20 track albums where 30 to 50% of the album is obvious filler. Give the people the best of the best and the value of an album rises significantly. I really can’t find any qualms with this album. Maybe a bigger track that could stand alone as a single but you know what? Give me a solid album from front to back any day. Dope album,definitely worth checking out.

Rating:

Venomous 2000 – Will To Power (Album Review)

For those who don’t know, Venomous 2000 hails from Jersey and has been dropping gems for some time now. I know this may sound cliché but people be sleeping on V2G but I think that may be about to change with his latest release. Just to give you a little background information I first heard Venomous 2000 a few years back when checking out some new underground hip hop online. The track was “Rock The Bells” and I knew then that V had something special that needed to be heard. I can honestly say from that moment Venomous 2000 was somebody I wanted to hear more of.

The first thing that strikes you, even before you press play, is the album cover itself. You can’t help but notice how much thought and effort has gone into the superb cartoon style cover art which ties in perfectly with the albums theme. Very reminiscent of a time when you bought an album and the first thing you would do is read the inserts and glance over the images on your way home, eager to pop the CD in the deck and put it on blast. The last thing I want to mention is this is a dual case release, no digipak. Hallelujah!!!!

Although my first love is hip hop music, I like listening to a lot of different genres and appreciate music in general and that is why this album is so appealing from the opening track. It is not a typical sounding hip hop album and I love that. It pushes boundaries and has that element of originality that is often missing from today’s hip hop releases. The production is top notch and I think V building in Europe has added a new dimension to his overall sound. There are a large variety of producers that have blessed this project with their beat making skills. Robot Orchestra (Germany), DJ Manipulator (Boston), Rav P (Boston), AlexKidOne (Greece), Marshtini (Norway), Trillian (Serbia), Sizemen (France), Mentplus (Jersey), Chopzilla (Indianapolis), The Soul Plugger (Stockholm, Astronote (France) all feature on this project and are all producers to look out for in the future.

venomous2000 album art

The opening track titled “All You Need” is an uplifting track about self-belief and having all the tools within you to succeed through the hardships. Don’t let people take away your dreams by telling you, you can’t achieve them. A very cool song with a great message. The production is hypnotic and makes you really feel the lyrics.

I reviewed the lead single “Will Power” a few months ago and I still feel the same about it. I consider this to be a future b-boy anthem. The production is fast paced and has hip hop written all over it. It oozes the elements of the culture and ‘DJ End K’ blows the spot with the cuts. Again, the lyrics from V are motivating and uplifting and all walks of life can easily relate.

Venomous 2000 really turns up the heat on “Stormy Nights” and shows a different side by singing a melodic hook which is a refreshing change. The beat is chilled and laid back and the lyrics are fire. You could quite easily place yourself in a dimly lit bar or club on a summer evening taking in a few drinks listening to this track.

“Still keep it street techniques like all my ninja’s do, highly dependable, reaching for my pinnacle, musical orgasms without touching genitals”.

Although near impossible to pick out any low points on this album it is far more easy to pull out the high points and one in particular is “Elemental”. Again, major props on the production as the deep bass beat on this amazing track builds in to a neck-snapping frenzy! This is for the hip hop purists and the culture. Mc’s, DJ’s, B-boys, B-Girls, graff artists, stand up!!! V captures the scene with clever lyrics and punchlines throughout, while DJ End K adds perfect cuts to make this track complete. You can’t forget Bam dropping knowledge about the elements of hip hop on the outro.

Venomous hooks up with Methuzulah and Marie Kanu on “Reflect on Music” one of the few features of the album. A deep track were V and Methuzulah trade verses with meaningful lyrics offering plenty food for thought. Marie Kanu adds the hook with her beautiful yet powerful voice. Another faultless track.

“The People Want More” is a banger from start to finish. It has a lovely guitar sample and slamming drums. DJ End K kills the cuts as he does in all his features. The topic is in the title, make a stand and embrace change, stop talking and do something. You can kind of take V’s lyrics into all kinds of life situations. Venomous 2000 delivers more positive uplifting words, done with skill, style and finesse.

V2G gives an insight on his inner thoughts and emotions and what inspires him when it comes to being a mc, performing, recording tracks and writing rhymes on “Watch the Pen Smoke”. V speaks on his craft and growing rather than blowing up and how important it is to him bringing his best to the table and giving his listeners what they want. “I think about my audience, don’t want to sound defensive. Words get distorted in the centre of my orbit, cuz sometimes I aim to uplift but sound morbid”. V spits flames and rarely pauses to draw breath between bars. The beat is aggressive with a thumping bass line as well as DJ End K’s cuts using some fitting vocal samples. Another thumbs up.

Another stand out track for me is “I’ll See You When I Get There”. The production is smooth and laid back and actually gives me chills every time I hear it. I’m pretty sure the vocal sample at the beginning is Talib Kweli, I may be wrong. The vocal comes in and sets the tone “Our mission, we intercept your transmission bringing exactly what the fans missing” as the beat kicks in perfectly. V’s flow is like butter “hey yo, the youth looking nappy, happy, glad their in my presence, like the teacher, the blast master bringing you the essence.” Awesome.

More happy-feel good lyrics and an all-round nice positive vibe on “Already Gone” featuring some nice female vocals from the Candelarias. Here V hands out more life skills for the listener. Grab life with both hands and don’t waste your time is the message here.

venomous eagle eyeVenomous shares his conscious side on “Now Justice” (NJ) and his concerns with ignorance, struggle, world affairs, media, systems and governments. Venomous demonstrates spiritual beliefs on “Force of The Orisha”. He shares stories of life growing up in New Jersey on “Is Life Fair” “The Great Escape” explains the need to get away from the negativity and stresses of daily life. All of which are as dope as the rest of the album in all categories.
My conclusion, this album has something for everyone and something for everyone to relate too. A well balanced album with dope meaningful lyrics, dope beats and dope cuts. V2G really shines from start to finish and the growth he has shown over the last few years as an artist and particularly on this album is phenomenal. You can tell a lot of hard work, time and effort has gone into the making of this joint and it shows in the quality of all the tracks. Even the intro’s and outro’s are dope. The artwork is cool as already mentioned. I can’t honestly fault this album in any way. The production is super tight and sways from the typical sounding hip hop production in spells which to me is refreshing and original. If you’re into scratching like myself you’ll enjoy DJ End K’s contributions, he displays awesome sounding scratches and cuts on all his features. If you’re looking for an album that pushes boundaries and displays elements of originality while keeping the fundamental elements of a dope sounding hip hop album intact then you will enjoy this release. This album taps into your emotions and makes you really feel its contents, an album that in my opinion will definitely last the test of time.

RATING:



Craig Mack – Project Funk Da World (1994)

Many will probably look at Craig Mack as a one hit wonder for the remix of “Flava In Ya Ear” featuring Notorious BIG, Rampage, LL Cool J, and Busta Rhymes, and for the most part they would be right as Mack’s popularity rapidly declined soon after. I actually prefer the original album cut of Flava in your ear which really highlighted the lyrical prowess that we all knew Craig Mack was capable of. That song has to be one of the most memorable 90’s rap classics in history. Unfortunately after being sold by that track I was disappointed with how the album turned out overall.

 “the biggest irony of Craig’s short lived career at Bad Boy was the line “You Won’t Be Around Next Year….”

To me, Project Funk Da World is one of those albums that you hear many different opinions about. In my opinion most are too hasty in giving it ‘classic album status’ as I feel the album falls way short of this. To be critical of an album containing such a 90’s east coast rap anthem may seem like heresy but I can’t just love it based off one record. Looking back now it’s clear why Project Funk Da World failed to move me in a way I hoped it would. Easy Mo Bee takes care of the majority of production with a few shining moments like Get Down and Judgement Day, but it’s hard not to notice the obvious similarities between tracks as they tend to sound like regurgitation’s of Flava In Ya Ear. Craig himself delivers some decent flows but by the second half of the album it all gets a bit stale.

craig mack mcdonalds ad bad boy promoThe fact that Biggie dropped Ready To Die only a week before didn’t help matters either, as his momentous debut delivered so much more on every level. With Biggie’s joint you had depth and versatility that kept you coming back but Project Funk Da World got old and repetitive all too quickly.  I believe Craig Mack was one of Bad Boy’s better acts, but I felt Bad Boy records was the wrong fit for Craig’s style and image. Puff Daddy’s cheesie McDonalds “Big Mack” promo ads were a gimmick that should have been left well alone. Perhaps the biggest irony of Craig’s short lived career at Bad Boy was the line “You Won’t Be Around Next Year….” from the Flava In Ya Ear track.

Project Funk Da World is currently back in print at the time of writing, and the prices of second hand 1st edition copies on discogs/Amazon etc are reasonable, so if you see it go ahead and pick one up. It may not be on my all time favourites list but it still has enough rugged and raw beats to make it an enjoyable experience.

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