Despite common opinion, I'd have to say that Ice-T VI: Return of the Real is where Ice T truly fell off (in quality). Coming fresh off of a four peat of great albums (3 classics), Ice T was experiencing high amounts of critical acclaim up until his fifth album, Home Invasion, which is an underrated album. His political substance dropped slightly, but his potent delivery and sharp flow were still great. Then comes this album. This album is tolerable, but the worst out of his first 6, and arguably his worst album period. Not to say it's bad, but the focused cohesion and consistency of his prior efforts just didn't show here.
Out of this messy album, a standout track would be "I Must Stand", which is Ice giving the listener insight on the troubles of his childhood, over a fitting, cold, chilling instrumental. Angela Rollins provides some good vocals for the track as well. The second great song on here is "Inside of a Gangsta", the title is pretty self-explanatory, him giving the details of the mind of a "gangsta". Ice is excellent on here, and the guests (Teddy, Big Rich, and Mad Rome) do pretty good as well. As far as excellent tracks go, this is where the discussion ends. The fact that there are more mediocre tracks on here than great tracks is a serious problem. "They Want Me Back In", has good lyrics, acceptable storytelling from Ice and his guest Big Rich, but the instrumental on this is just bad. The loop on the beat is extremely aggravating and just sounds bad. "How Does It Feel" is the opposite, good beat, bad lyrics. Acceptable instrumental, nothing spectacular but it does the job, the lyrics on the other hand? Extremely corny, and the host, Big Rich, and Mad Rome each have pathetic "love" raps that just sound bad and are lazy. Speaking of guests, the guests don't help all that much, considering some of the worst tracks have guest features. Hot Dolla, Mr. Wesside, and Powerlord JEL each rap generic, lazy rhymes on "Bouncin' Down the Strezeet" and "Syndicate 4 Ever" (which also features L.P., but he doesn't help matters either). Dre MC (talk about a generic name), Godfather, and Hen-Gee do provide great lyrics on "Dear Homie", but by the end of the album you'll be glad that it's over.
Ice-T VI: Return of the Real is a true disappointment, and should be seen as such. The producers (who I couldn't find any information on) bring nothing to the table. Lyrically there are a few outstanding moments ("The Lane", "Return of the Real"), but the beats hinder the tracks' potential, and the generic guests that flood the album hinder the album's overall potential. I wouldn't recommend this album, but there are a few shining moments.
1. Pimp Anthem: 3/5
2. Where the *** Goes Down?: 3.5/5
3. Bouncin' Down the Strezeet (feat. Hot Dolla, Mr. Wesside & and Powerlord JEL): 2.5/5
4. Return of the Real: 3.5/5
5. I Must Stand (feat. Angela Rollins): 4.5/5
6. A Lotta Niggas (Interlude)
7. Rap Game's Hijacked: 3.5/5
8. How Does it Feel (feat. Big Rich & Mad Rome): 2.5/5
9. The Lane: 3.5/5
10. Rap Is Fake (Interlude)
11. Make the Loot Loop: 3/5
12. Syndicate 4 Ever (feat. Hot Dolla, L.P. & Powerlord JEL): 2.5/5
13. The 5th: 3/5
14. It's Goin' Down (Interlude)
15. They Want Me Back In (feat. Big Rich): 2.5/5
16. Inside of a Gangsta (feat. Teddy, Big Rich & Mad Rome): 4/5
17. Forced to Do Dirt: 3/5
18. Haters (Interlude)
19. Cramp Your Style: 2.5/5
20. Real? (Interlude)
21. Dear Homie (feat. Dre MC, Godfather & Hen-Gee): 3.5/5
I Must Stand
Inside of a Gangsta
Where the *** Goes Down?
Rap Game's Hijacked
Return of the Real
Weakest song: They Want Me Back In
Overall rating: 68/100