Review Summary: Once again, an underrated album that needs to get more attention from hip-hop fans.
Do or Die, a hip-hop group from Chicago made up of members AK-47, Belo Zero, and N.A.R.D., seems to be a group that is very similar to the Southern gangsta rap group Dirty. While their styles are pretty different for the most part, they're both groups that don't seem to get a whole lot of recognition and to be quite honest, I have no idea why that is the case. Picture This
is Do or Die's debut album released in 1996.
Being from the Midwest and all, it's pretty apparent that Do or Die is influenced by Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. Like Bone Thugs, Do or Die is very melodic, meaning that they almost sing their lyrics at times. All of the members have pretty fast flows while still being very distinguishable. Which is good, because sometmes rappers with extremely fast styles are hard to understand. Luckily, that isn't the case with the members of Do or Die. Another key factor to this album is this is where Twista, known as Tung Twista in these days, got his start and got a lot of his recognition for his rapid fire flow and as being one of the fastest rappers of all time, specifically on Po Pimp which happens to be my personal favorite track. Lyrics here are mostly revolve around the gangsta themes such as guns, money, and drugs, with Belo Zero saying things such as, "Just bring the weed, we got the drinks you need, and plus we strapped with two protections," and "Let the weed smoke, blaze, but check, until I'm ready to wreck then a mother***er gonna be paid to death because I'm goin' on a paperchase." Just typical gangsta rap lyrics, but with more melody.
The beats on this album are very West Coast inspired and you can tell right from the beginning. A lot of the beats definitely wouldn't sound out of place on a 2Pac, Snoop Dogg, or Dr. Dre album just because of the "g-funk" feeling you get when you hear them. Yeah, this album is from the Midwest scene, but it definitely sounds like it could've come straight out of California, just with a darker vibe. The beats are also very chill and this album would be great for just cruising around on a nice summer day with the windows down and the music blazing out of your speakers. That's the exact vibe you get from this album and it's really a lot of fun to be honest. The production goes along great with how all of the members rap.
Overall, this album is definitely one of the best that I've heard come out of the Midwest. It's up there with E 1999 Eternal
and The Slim Shady LP
(although not as good as The Marshall Mathers LP
) and is definitely an album that I feel is very underrated and appreciated and it's really unfortunate. When people are talking about some of the great hip-hop albums to come out of the 90's Picture This
is never an album that's brought up and that should really change because this deserves plenty of more recognition.