Review Summary: I GOT FIIIIVE ON IT!
Luniz is a rap group with two members, Yukmouth and Numskull. They started in Oakland back in 1995 with the release of this album, Operation Stackola
, and their one hit wonder song “I Got Five on It” actually sold a million copies on its own! But, if you were hoping for another classic 90’s rap album, you aren’t really gunna get it here, only an inconsistent album by very talented artists that are on par with other West Coast 90’s greats.
The artists clearly had free reign to rap about whatever was of most concern to them, the only problem is, what is most important to them is saying “no no to broke hos”, getting high, and … getting high. And this may be a little ‘out there’, but it seems like all of this was written while they were high. Not in a good way either. Most of the first half of this album just sounds like two stoned guys who had nothing better to do. (On the first half) the beats try to sound funky but kinda just sound like a kid with a keyboard who just discovered the repeat button. But then everything changes for the second half of the album, when the beats capture the 90’s West Coast sounds like 213, Dr. Dre or 2pac. The real problem is after they pour their heart out to their true passion: weed and people like: police and ‘broke hos’ who stop them from smoking weed, they run out of stuff to rap about. They complain about broke people for three entire tracks, and basically rap about Oakland for the rest of the album.
Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, there’s a lot to be said about life in Oakland, and when you reach track 8 the stories are well crafted and interesting, but they really just screwed up the production and flow combination on the early tracks of this album. However, lyrically they are both really slick, and while the beats are frustratingly simple, if you can appreciate the older west coast sound they actually mesh well on songs like “Playa Hata” and “I Got Five On It”. “I Got Five On It” truly is a classic track for what it is. It has excellent low-toned and lackadaisical keys that mesh with the bass perfect for a weed smoking song. Sound wise, the CD only gets better than “I Got Five On It” on the second half of the album: starting with the title track “Operation Stackola”, and continuing with “5150” and “900 Blame a Nigga”, where the productions manage to improve on the 90’s westcoast style, rather than just imitating it, giving the songs a type of futuristic atmosphere that still exists while listening in 2013. After you get past the terrible girl-rapper Nik Nack, the prototype for Nicki Minaj, on the beginning of the track “ So Much Drama”, this song manages to be one of those deep West Coast rap tracks that captures the gloomy spirit of California’s inner cities. Then “Plead Guilty” gives the album a burst of intelligence with a well argued conscious rap about the hypocrisy of America’s drug laws.
The Game and Yukmouth eventually got into a beef, after Yukmouth released “breath” a song and video dissing the The Game. Game responded with a diss track called “I Got A Million On It”. They eventually agreed to come together to make a ‘peace track’ and put the whole episode behind them. Yukmouth released the first half of the track called “Peace” then emailed it to The Game… who then took the track and dissed him on it. This episode kinda summarizes the feel this album has. A contradictory tale of two halfs: The first half is awful, they clearly threw a bunch of filler around their mega-hit “I Got Five On It” and kept their good material for the second half of the album. While the second half is better musically, their lyrics completely contradict what they were just saying just 20 minutes ago… yep… apparently saying ‘no no to broke hoes’ on track 4 was a double negative! Because on track 13 “She’s Just a Freak” they decide to rap about ***ing broke hoes… What a pity. While these are two solid rappers, they have nothing to rap about on the first half of this album besides being broke and dissing people for pretty stupid stuff, IE being broke. It gets multiple times better on the second half of the album, but the listener’s finger probably already hit the skip button before some of the best tracks like “So Much Drama” can be appreciated. Their style is nothing revolutionary to the 90’s West Coast, but it is definitely original and enjoyable west-coast style music during the entire second half of the CD. They are somehow insoluble with their very similar styles on the first half of the album, and it sounds like they were emailing each other these tracks back and forth to finish the CD. But in reality, they were probably in the studio getting stoned together to finish it, putting an end to the myth that two heads are better than one.