Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Revisiting Magic's "Sky's The Limit"

Leading up to his debut, Magic had a very good track record of guest appearances, such as "Picture Me" (C-Murder's Life Or Death), "What Cha Need" (I Got The Hook Up Soundtrack), "Let's Get Em Pt. 2" (Master P's MP Da Last Don), and his best verse ever on "Throw Them Thangs" with Kane & Abel (Am I My Brother's Keeper). He was intended to be the first artist on C-Murder's start up label TRU Records, which would result in multiple appearances by C on this album (more on TRU Records later). I initially copped this album on 9/19/1998, so with that being said, let's get to it!


Release date- September 15, 1998



1st half


1. Intro
For some reason I always liked this short intro.
 
2. Ghetto Godzilla (Featuring Master P)
Produced By: KLC

I got what Magic was going for on this one, so it was ok. We really didn't need a Master P verse on this one either.
*Good*

3. Did What I Had 2 (Featuring Mystikal)
Produced By: O'Dell

This is the first of many apply titled songs to grace this album. Magic and Mystikal show very good chemistry on this excellent song, one of the album's best.
*Excellent*

4. Depend On Me (Featuring C-Murder)
Produced By: Mo B. Dick

When in doubt, both men make a case that they both can be depended on. C stays on topic with his verse, Magic doesn't (lol). And a word on C's "$50" nickname, if I may, lol. This was a SHORT lived nickname he gave himself, lol. My friend Shaun constantly joked with me about this (he always did that didn't he, lol), and looking back I can see why. $50 was a silly nickname and it's obvious why it was short lived. It of course doesn't have the same ring to it as 50 Cent, for example.
*Good*

5. 9th Ward
Produced By: O'Dell

This is all about where Magic's from and he reps it hard throughout this song. 
*Very good*

6. No Hope (Featuring C-Murder, Sons of Funk and Lady Tru)
Produced By: KLC and O'Dell

Well, this was the first and last appearance of Lady Tru, unless she remained with No Limit but changed her name. Even at this point in 1998, a lot of people were still saying there was no hope in the ghetto. Magic and C make a very good case challenging such claims. This was also the album's first single.
*Excellent*

7. Take It To Da Streets
Produced By: KLC

Magic steps away from the mic, sending physical warning shots to the competition. No guns or weapons, just the fists. Hard song.
*Very good*

8. Ball Til We Fall (Featuring C-Murder)
Produced By: Mark

In addition to still not knowing who Mark was or how he was affiliated with the crew, in a clear mishap, Steady Mobb'n (and I believe Snoop) were listed in the album insert as appearing on this song, but they were nowhere to be found and instead they were on the next song, smh+lol. This is another apply titled song which finds C and Magic ballin out of control.
*Very good*

9. I Got Love 4 Ya (Featuring Snoop Dogg and Steady Mobb'n)
Produced By: O'Dell

Through thick and thin, Magic, Snoop and Steady Mobb'n got love for all family and friends. I liked this one.
*Excellent*

10. I Never
Produced By: KLC

This is quite the apply titled banger right here, which was probably the song that "Depend On Me" should've been.
*Excellent*

11. Money Don't Make Me (Featuring C-Murder and Soulja Slim)
Produced By: Craig B

Make the money, don't let it make you. Very good song.



2nd half



12. Sky's The Limit (Featuring Mia X)
Produced By: MP

There's no comparison to Biggie's song of the same name but Magic's version is good. He and Mia talk about going from nothing to something, not stopping till they reach the top. I recall thinking this at the time and I still feel the same, but it seemed as if Mia X was distant on this song, almost as if this was her song and she didn't quite acknowledge Magic. Strange.
*Very good*

13. No Limit (Featuring Snoop Dogg and C-Murder)
Produced By: Mark

Standard track showing love to the tank, nothing we haven't heard before.
*Good*

14. New Generation (Featuring Fiend and Mac)
Produced By: KLC

When you listen to this song, it seemed as if these three men were the "next generation" on No Limit at the time. Magic lays down a good verse, but Fiend and Mac steal the show.
*Excellent*

15. What I Gotta (Featuring Silkk The Shocker and Mo B. Dick)
Produced By: Craig B

Songs like this have been done before and better, nothing else to add other than Silkk dropping a pretty lame verse.
*Average*

16. Hard Times (Featuring C-Murder)
Produced By: Craig B

"Even thugs get a second chance". Again, we've heard this before. Nothing new but it was fairly decent.
*Good*

17. Life Is A Bitch
Produced By: DJ Daryl

Well damn, things were getting a bit repetitive at this point in the album (notice a trend here). It was good to hear Magic's perspective, but obviously this was nothing we haven't heard before and done better. Let's move on.
*Good*

18. Gimpin (Featuring Mac, Kane & Abel and Big Ed)
Produced By: KLC

Back then and now, I still have no idea what "gimpin" is after listening to this. This was slightly a waste of all involved.
*Average*

19. Special Forces (Featuring Da Commission)
Produced By: Carlos Stephens

Dope collabo with Magic and the crew who would later be known as the Ghetto Commission.
*Very good*

20. When Drama Came (Featuring Snoop Dogg and Fiend)
Produced By: Mark

Another very good song, as they knew how to handle the drama when it came.

21. Mobb 4 Ever (Featuring C-Murder, Fiend, KLC, Gambino Family, Prime Suspects and Tru Survivors)
Produced By: Craig B

Well, this is the first and last appearance of Tru Survivors, and honestly I think there was no such appearance from them on this song. Everyone else, including a verse from producer KLC, delivered good verses, but it falls short of the usual "soldier songs".
*Very good*

22. Chastity (Featuring Lil D)
Produced By: KLC

I liked this song and with Magic planning to marry his fiance Chastity in 99, this was a nice dedication to her. And with that said, I recall reading comments about this song, stating it was bad, terrible, weak, etc. I wonder if those people feel the same considering both are no longer here. They were killed in a bad car accident on March 1, 2013.
*Excellent*



At the end of the day, Magic was a No Limit artist, and whatever plans C-Murder had for TRU Records, they never came to fruition. His debut has aged well in some spots, but not all of them. Things get repetitive in the middle of the album, which was par the course for many No Limit albums, but the rest of the material was mostly very good, about 3.5-4 star worthy. He fairly lived up to the hype of his guest appearances in 1998. Aside from a memorable verse on Snoop's "Down 4 My Ns", Magic wouldn't see this same success again, as subsequent albums "Thuggin' (1999) and two released in 2003, "White Eyes" and "On My Own", received less attention than his debut. Overall, very good album.





R.I.P. Awood "Magic" Johnson (1975-2013)

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