Mr. Criminal, real name Roberto Garcia, is a gangsta rapper hailing from Los Angeles, California known for his immense output of music over the years and his close affiliation with friend and frequent collaborator Mr. Capone-E. Stay On The Streets
is an album split 3:1 between the two primary sounds within G-Funk: hardcore and smooth.
“Welcome To California” and “California Blows My Mind” represent the two different sides. The former exhibits the predominant hardcore side with Criminal speaking on the harsh gang life in Southern California he’s been involved in for years on top of a powerful instrumental comprised of a piercing synthesizer line, a frightening piano riff, an intense drum pattern, and a booming bass line with additional sound effects of hydraulics. The latter, however, is a total contrast displaying the smooth side with Criminal detailing why he has so much love and pride for the Golden State on top a feel-good instrumental constructed with a groovy synth lead, a light drum beat, and a bubbly bass line with additional beeping sound effects.
The rest of the album follows the template of these two styles. For every “Welcome To California,” you also have “I'm Lowriden',” “Hi Power Roll Call” and Layzie Bone collaboration “From The 216 To The 213” following a similar recipe and for every “California Blows My Mind” you also have “Nothin‘ Like Cali Rollin',” “Come And Ride With Me,” and Bizzy Bone collaboration “We Ride” doing the same.
Mr. Criminal’s flow is typically more quick-paced and aggressive such as on the Lil Cuete collaboration “My Definition Of A Rider” and the Spider Loc collaboration “Stop Bitchin’ but he also tones it down on songs such as “The Streets Miss You” and “Get Your Blaze On” with it always fitting into the mood of the particular track. His subject matter revolves around topics of immense California pride, struggles of the gang life, love, and loyalty and camaraderie in friendships, with common additional elements of Chicano lingo and Spanish words and phrases mixed in seamlessly with the predominant language of English.
Because of the previously stated similarities in tracks both musically and lyrically, the album can sometimes feel repetitive. It is superb for distributing into playlists, though, and still stands almost as strong as an album experience. Whether you enjoy your West Coast Hip Hop intense or laid-back, Stay On The Streets
has plenty for you to enjoy.