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Eric's "Top 100" Tuesdays (83-85)

by Eric on July 31, 2007

83. M.O.P.-Firing Squad

Is it possible to have a soft spot for M.O.P.?? Or what about….”M.O.P. has always been a sentimental favorite of mine”? The two just don’t mix do they? Surprisingly, of the first three albums that have made my “Top 100″, my favorite M.O.P. album (“Warriorz“) won’t even make the cut due to the fact that I really don’t plan on posting any album’s from 2000- forward. With M.O.P.’s second disc “Firing Squad” came the announcement of the group’s affiliation with the legendary Dj Premier who also produced the better half of “Firing Squad” and handled the mixing of the album. The inclusion of Preemo is recognizable on “Firing Squad” the second you press play…that is once you bypass the “Intro” followed by the “Firing Squad (skit)”. By the way, don’t ever start an album off with an “Intro” followed by a “Skit”…talk about wasting two tracks!! Okay, so after bypassing the B.S. your nearly knocked on your ass with Preemo’s production that is consecutively found on “Firing Squad”, “New Jack City” and the ridiculous, Kool G Rap assisted “Stick To Ya’ Gunz“. “Stick To Ya’ Gunz” was my introduction to “Firing Squad” after hearing it on various mixtapes that one of my co-workers used to bring back from Philly after visiting with his Mom. Man, “Stick To Ya’ Gunz” was killin‘ it… the time of it’s release I can remember bumpin‘ it along with O.G.C’s “No Fear” & Paula Perry’s “Paula’s Jam” for about a month straight in early 1996. Damn, I want to think that this shit dropped in 1995, but Discogs proves me wrong yet again. Also, “Firing Squad” found Teflon filling the role of Phife to A.T.C.Q. and Milo to L.O.N.S. or even better yet Big Noyd to Mobb Deep or Consequence on Tribe’s “Beats, Rhymes & Life”, serving as the group’s unofficial third member while appearing on both “Firing Squad” and “New Jack City”. Lil Fame & Billy Danz have always brought the ruckus and then some……could you ever imagine this duo makin‘ a song about the honeys? Damn, that would come outta’ left field huh? Something that caught my eye, Ali Dee (the whiteboy who released “Bring It On” on EMI in 93′) produced “Dead & Gone”, while Jaz (not that Jaz, who does an excellent interview over at Wake Your Daughter Up”…rather Jaz of the Jay-Z fame or should I say Jay-Z of the Jaz fame???) is listed on the album insert production credits as Big Jaz. Nevertheless, a very solid sophomore effort from the most famous “ruckus bringers” in Hip Hop. Sh*t, did I post this album in my “sophomore success Saturdays” post already?? Oh well, here it is again, Enjoy!…-Eric

84. Big L-Lifestylez Ov Da Poor & Dangerous

“Big L Rest In Peace!….DUN, da,dun,dun,dun…uh, uh, uh, uh”! Funny thing, I’ve seen Big L’s debut “Lifestylez Ov Da Poor & Dangerous” labeled as CLASSIC…..just as I’ve seen Big Pun’s debut, Dilla’s “Donuts” and basically everything in Pac’s discography tagged the same as well. No disrespect to Hip Hop’s fallen soldiers, but if these artists were still crankin‘ out albums today…..well, would the aforementioned releases be indeed considered as CLASSICS? I highly doubt it, but what is most evident with “Lifestylez Ov Da Poor & Dangerous” is an extremely impressive rookie effort from a very talented lyricist with endless possibilities who’s untimely death has left alot of us fiendin‘ for more from the “Most Valuable Poet on the M-I-C”. Also, it doesn’t hurt to have the bulk (9/10) of your album produced by the infamous Diggin‘ In The Crates crew. Hmmmm, where shall I begin?? If I can recall “Put It On” feat. Kid Capri was actually the first single and video that Big L dropped. I also considered “Put It On” as the album’s shining moment, so in my opinion it was an obvious “good choice” for a first single….too bad it just never really garnered any type of national exposure, but it did make a few waves on the East Coast. Big L has always been one of my favorite artists lyrically, as well as he was to many others in the industry….remember the so called “bidding war” on L right before the time of his passing. Rumor even has it that L was close to inking a deal with Rocafellahmmm, that would have been an interesting turn of events. Anyway, the horns courtesy of Lord Finesse make “Fed Up With The Bullshit” another notable highlight of “Lifestyles….” along with the Showbiz produced “No Endz No Skinz” which provides a nice change of pace from Big L while at the same time showcases his well rounded lyrical abilities. Something else of note, it’s pretty intriguing to hear a pubescent Camron on the posse cut “8 Iz Enuff” and even more interesting is Jay-Z’s appearance on “Da Graveyard” which is another posse cut that solidifies the fact that Jay-Z has come full circle as a lyricist….what I mean, Jay-Z is what he is now as what he was then (uhh, does that make any sense?)…”Glimpes of briallance intertwined with corniness”. In closing, if you’ve never peeped Big L’s beware…after listening yo

u’ll be left wondering what the future really had in store from this lyrical dynamo…R.I.P…..-Eric

85. Akinyele-Vagina Diner

Am I the only one who remembers The Source hyping Akinyele as “Hip Hop’s next saving grace” back in 1993? Yeah right, like Hip Hop was in desperate need of any “saving” back in those days….my,my,my! Not soon after his appearance on what would become the legendary “Live At The BBQ” (which appeared on Main Source’s CLASSIC debut), Akinyele set forth to stake his claim as part of the “resurrection crew” (Black Moon, Wu, ATCQ, etc), in a valiant attempt to bring back “that ol‘ New York Rap” back to NYC…while it was currently chillin‘ in the West Coast thanks to Dr. Dre’s “The Chronic”. Released on Interscope Records with production in it’s entirety by the now legendary Large Professor, Akinyele scored a wonderful debut when compared to most of the freshman releases we’re subjected to nowadays. Although, “Vagina Diner” did fall short of our expectations in 93′. Still, over the years this album has never failed me, packed with an overabundance of metaphors and boasts, Akinyele would have fared very well in today’s underground “battle” circuit where mostly everything is based on an overreliance of punchlines and braggadocio. While Akiniyele is far from a herb lyrically, the constant metaphors do wear thin by album’s end. So how did “Vagina Diner” end up on this list? Simple enough…..Large Professor!! The beats on this album are pure Golden Age boom-bap brought to you by the only notable member of the now defunct Main Source. The album begins with a less than stellar Extra P production with “WorldWide“, of course Large Pro’s “less than stellar” beats far surpassed that of 90% of his peers even then (read: it was no “Looking At The Front Door”, but still decent). Quickly, things turn around with the irresistible “head nod” found courtesy of “Outta State”, which also finds Aktapuss “ready to make papes somewhere other than his place of residence”. For some peculiar reason, the album’s most disturbing track “I Luh Her” has always been the centerpiece of “Vagina Diner” for me. On “I Luh Her”, Akinyele’s disturbing (well..not at the time but nowadays rappin‘ about “killin‘ babies with coat hangers wouldn’t go over with the public too well) lyrics are virtually subdued by Large Pro’s masterful production yet again. Overall, “Vagina Diner” has always been a fun, lighthearted listen…I mean, c’mon…..Who else would make a song about hating to work out as Aknell did with “Exercixe“??? Plus, other than Main Source’s “Breaking Atoms” and Large Pro’s “The Lp” & “First Class” where else are you gonna’ find an album with beats produced 100% by the legendary Extra P?….-Eric

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Jaz August 1, 2007 at 8:07 am

oh you are to kind Eric, thank you, I enjoyed that interview and Travis is that dude and come on man, what an honour it’s WYDU.

As for this post, there are a few tracks on Firing Squad I skip, but man “New Jack City” and “Stick To ya Gunz” are classics, I still get chills from those, as I do with all of Big L’s album, his voice his flow and those strictly New York beats are so dope…It’ weird how that cover doesn’t look dated either…now Ak…I always like the dude and there are some great tracks on this, but I have very little respect for his “I Used To Luh Her” track and it put me off him, that song is just dumb and ignorant.

Lastly, I don’t want to ever here MOP’s album on G Unit and it always surprised they signed to them.

Thanks again E.R.I.C.

Dan Love August 1, 2007 at 10:27 am

Very nice selections Eric, I love the Big L album full stop and Ak’s album largely for the beats. I’ve always resisted MOP a bit, finging their style too ‘hardcore for the sake of it’, but I’m gonna give this a further listen on your recommendation.

List is on it’s way… it ain’t easy.


Dart Adams August 2, 2007 at 5:06 pm

I love all three of these albums you selected. I went to Tower Records and bought Akinyele’s “Vagina Diner” tape for $6.99 and from the second I popped that tape in my Walkman I knew I was listening to a classic. I remember the Source hype (and Dream Hampton’s scathing editorial about “I Luh Huh” and “No Exit”) as well.

Imagine me boxing in/
a ring all day going *ffff* *fff* losing oxygen/

Akinyele “Exercise”


BRANDONIAN 'the talking head August 2, 2007 at 8:06 pm

Yo.. I heard “I luh her ” a while back when i picked up large pros greatists hits..and damn that track is just too much man.

turtle August 3, 2007 at 7:41 pm

I kind of missed out on MOP other than a few singles (How about some hardcore). I should check out the album. As far as Ak, I used to luh, I luh her. Even though he says all this fucked up shit, he concludes he still loves her.

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