Friday, November 2, 2012

Lost Boyz - Legal Drug Money

In addition to many other albums released in 1996, this debut from the Lost Boyz holds such a STRONG nostalgic vibe with me, and to this day when I listen to it, of course I'm instantly back in 1996. Mr. Cheeks was at his best on this release, along with his charismatic side kick/hype man, the late Freaky Tah, DJ Spigg Nice, and Pretty Lou, both of whom famously always played the background. Add in the very good production from names such as Pete Rock, Mr. Sex, and Easy Mo Bee, you have the makings of a damn good album. Lets take a look back.

1. Intro (We get a somewhat brief introduction by Mr. Cheeks, bringing in himself and the other three members of the group.)

2. The Yearn (This Pete Rock produced banger was also on the "America Is Dying Slowly" compilation that was released in 1996, and that one featured a verse from Rock towards the end. Although this joint could pass for a party anthem, listen closely and you'll find a message referencing the importance of safe sex. 4 out of 5)

3. Music Makes Me High (Well, that title just about says it all, and it's a dope song. My mom even liked this one! 4.5 out of 5)

4. Jeeps, Lex Coups, Bimaz, & Benz (Initially released in 1995, this is a classic and one of my favorite tracks from Easy Mo Bee. Mr. Cheeks is awesome on the mic, the chorus is memorable, plus a slammin track, well, that's a classic in my book. 5 out of 5)

5. Lifestyles of the Rich & Shameless (Another Easy Mo Bee produced banger, in which Cheeks does an effective job talking about the life and struggles of essentially the middle class where he's from. Great song. 5 out of 5)

6. Renee (We get a FIFTH straight banger/classic in the form of this song, and it may be Cheeks' finest moment on the mic. You have a tight beat provided by Mr. Sex, along with excellent storytelling by Cheeks, as he gives us the beginning, middle, and unfortunate end of his relationship with Renee. This received constant replays on radio and TV at the time, and it deserved it. Still holds up to this day. 5 out of 5)

7. All Right (This song was ok, but nothing too special. 3 out of 5)

8. Legal Drug Money (After an interview with former Rap City host Big Lez, we go into this somewhat hardcore title track, featuring an almost show stealing verse from Freaky Tah. Although they're making music, they consider it their "hustle", therefore, the money they're getting is legal. Understandable. 4 out of 5)

9. Get Up (This was another very good party anthem in a series of them, and the video displayed this too. The accompanying remix, which wasn't on this album, was much better in my opinion. 4 out of 5)

10. Is This Da Part (Using a small sample from Loose Ends' classic record "Slow Down", this is another decent song here. Cheeks' first verse always makes me laugh. 3.5 out of 5)

11. Straight from da Ghetto (Another fairly decent song, again, covering where they come from. 3 out of 5)

12. Keep It Real (It's not great, it's not wack, but somewhere right in the middle. Overall, forgettable. 2.5 out of 5)

13. Channel Zero (Now, I like this one a lot. Cheeks talks about important issues that the African American community was facing at the time, but either those issues are underreported or have no attention at all, hence the title "channel zero". 4.5 out of 5)

14. Da Game (This song is one of my top 5 favorites on this album. Nice beat and Cheeks flows so well over it. 4.5 out of 5)

15. 1,2,3 (Had this song cut out about 3 minutes or so, it would've been better, but as it stands, it's probably one of the weaker songs on the album. I didn't care for the hook or Dwarf The Black Prince's beat. 2 out of 5)

16. Lifestyles of the Rich & Shameless (Remix) (Well, it would've been a mistake to close this very good album out with "1,2,3", so we get this remix, complete with an updated hook of sorts. And of course it doesn't hold a candle to the original version, but it's still decent. 3 out of 5)

Rating- 4.5 stars. Almost classic.

5 favorite songs- Lifestyles of the Rich & Shameless, Da Game, Renee, Jeeps, Lex Coups, Bimaz, & Benz, and Music Makes Me High

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