And you thought the “Backpack Bangers” series was big? C’mon now, we at Bloggerhouse got “crazy visions”! For our next “series” we’re bringing ‘em off the shelf. That’s right folk, the return of the unreleased/shelved album. Dart, Trav and myself will each aim to post at least one “unreleased” LP each per weekday until the well runs dry, and that could be quite some time. Damn, where do we begin? Young Zee, Large Pro, Crustified Dibbs, World Renown, InI, Natural Elements, Kool G…..??
“Life’s A 50/50 Gamble”-Trigger Tha Gambler
Slated Release Date: March,1998 Def Jam
Of course, everyone can recall the anthemic “Broken Language” dealt by the hands Smoothe Da Hustler and his brother (his ace), Trigger Tha Gambler in 1995. The boastful, rapid-fire delivery of both Smoothe and Trigger (“The money stasher/gun blastin’/razor slasher”) coupled with a fierce DR Period (M.O.P., Teflon, Flatlinerz) production formulated a simple equation for underground notoriety, as “Broken Language” quickly escalated to classic status. For Trigger, well-received cameos on Smoothe’s debut LP, “Once Upon A Time In America”, Blahzay Blahzay’s DJ-Premier blessed remix of “Danger”, another remix of Onyx’ “Evil Streets” and even a verse on SWV’s “You’re The One”, only seemed to generate more hype for an actual full-length LP for Trigger, whom many would argue, was/is the more lyrical of the brothers.
Yet, it was the play on Hall & Oats, “My Crew Can’t Go For That” which also featured Trigger alongside the unique vocal stylings of D.V Alias Khrist and Smoothe, that served as my personal anthem to the summer of ’96. In retrospect, as corny as the hook may play nowadays, this jawn BANGED, if only nearly a decade and a half ago (still does, just not to the same extent). Featured on the “Nutty Professor” track, I originally assumed that “My Crew Can’t..” was just a subtle warm-up to a release that would be just right around the corner, Trigger’s official debut. Guess what? Not the case, not even remotely close. A release of Trigger’s first offering, “Life’s A 50/50 Gamble” wouldn’t follow in 1997! That’s right, promo copies were eventually sent out (low quality versions, at that) during the first quarter of 1998, long after the initial buzz generated from “Broken Language”, “Danger Pt. II” and “My Crew Can’t Go For That” had fizzled. To add more salt to the wound, the album was shelved immediately. Atta’ boy, Def Jam! Dickheads….
Yet, listening to “Life’s A 50/50 Gamble” recently I have a gut feeling that the album would have sold quite well had it followed on the heels of Smoothe’s debut in ’96. What’s even more confusing is why in the hell didn’t Profile just go ‘head and pick up Trigger for their roster as well? If that would have been the case, the album may have actually surfaced. However, both Smoothe’s debut and “Life’s A 50/50″ are just a little too close for comfort (hell, Trigger’s debut even featured a “Broken Language Pt. II”) as both albums boasted production from DR Period, so there’s not much a variance as far as the overall “sound” is concerned.
Not to say, that “Life’s A 50/50..” didn’t have a healthy serving of promising moments. On the same token, the album also contained it’s share of noticeable flaws as well. Let’s start with the good, shall we? Cuts such as the aforementioned “Broken Language II” and “My Crew Can’t Go For That” are the unmatched gems to be found on the album, yet it’s tracks such as “Hitman”, “Nickel Plated Nine” and the Keith Murray-assisted “Meetcha Maker” where Trigger sounds most comfortable with his signature, G Rap-esque delivery. The obvious missteps and blatant attempts at mainstream radio play, while may have fared well had they been released during their initial release window, just don’t hold up to well. “Rugged” with it’s slow, uninspired chorus will make you cringe, while “Can You Feel Me” pales in comparison to the hardcore thump of “Welcome To The World”.
If my memory serves me correctly, The Source granted Trigger’s “Life’s A 50/50 Gamble” with 3 (outta’ 5) Mics. For once, they seemed to hit the nail on the head with this one. Even though Trigger’s lyrical display is intriguing and often quite entertaining, “Life’s A 50/50..” is a very uneven album that is still worth a listen, if only for the pure nostalgia factor.