Review Summary: One of hip-hop's best lyricists/storytellers taking you on a glorious and equal parts terrifying journey through the underbelly of the gangster life.
Kool G. Rap, the dark horse of the Big 4 (Big Daddy Kane, G. Rap, KRS-One, and Rakim) spent every album since his debut with DJ Polo becoming more and more hardcore, perhaps peaking with 1992's Live and Let Die. Since he went solo after that, he assumed a Don persona and laid the groundwork for a lot of multi-syllabic emcees in the 90's, whether they followed in his criminal rap footsteps or not. G. would make songs reflecting in scalpel sharp detail the criminal underworld and those who occupy it, sometimes giving you the perspective of a street thug who was on the run for making a bad move or from a Don who would blast someone's skeleton out of his or her body for spilling a drink on his fresh suit. Sometimes he would just rap about being a terminator-type psychopath who would kill anyone in his way on his quest for riches, royalty and respect.
A Kool G. Rap song is like a goodie bag, because it seems full of stuff that you could unpack with every listen. This is due to the fact that most of his songs have twice the verbiage as most rappers' songs and the lyrics are extremely dense. Every song feels like it has enough content to make an exciting one-hour X-rated special on television. Take for example "Tequila Sunrise." This is a song about a greedy drug dealer who decides that he isn't going to make the deal with a Mexican kingpin but instead goes on a rampage stealing the money and the drugs. The listener is automatically engaged from beginning to end not knowing what's going to happen next. A Thug's Love Story (broken into three parts) is an epic journey of a low level gangster who decides to succumb to his desires and sleep with the Don's wife, only to suffer the consequences. Lastly, one of my favorite hip-hop songs of all time, "Let the Games Begin" involves G. boasting over other rappers claiming they don't stand a chance against him, whether it be in the streets or in a battle rap. Every song seems to tackle one side of the street life without losing its harsh grittiness and realism.
Even though he departed from his DJ and the production was not handled by the Juice Crew, G. Rap in the 90's was loved enough to have many top-notch producers wanting to provide the backdrop to his insane lyricism. When the lyrics are mean, the beat is even meaner. When the lyrics give you hope that maybe things might improve for whatever persona G. Rap is taking up, the beats follow. Although 4,5,6 maybe more popular due to the Nas feature and Giancana Story might have had more play since it had features like Mobb Deep, this is the best album that the kool genius of rap has ever put together. If you are into true crime, vice, or pretty much anything of the sort, this album is a pinnacle of the reality rap and mafioso rap genres.