Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Lost Boyz - Legal Drug Money [Repost]

Release date: June 4, 1996

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, I'm instantly back in 1996, no surprise there. 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 played the background most of the time, but still contributing in a meaningful way. 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 
Produced By: Pete Rock
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 
Produced By: Mr. Sexxx and Charles Suitt


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 (My mom still likes this song to this day. 5 out of 5)

4. Jeeps, Lex Coups, Bimaz, & Benz
Produced By: Easy Mo Bee


Initially released in 1995, this is a classic and one of my favorite tracks from the underrated 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 (This is another classic that my mom still likes to this day, plus it features what I consider Cheeks' finest lyrical performance.)

5. Lifestyles of the Rich & Shameless 
Produced By: Easy Mo Bee


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

6. Renee 
Produced By: Mr. Sexxx

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. Sexxx, 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 (It's definitely Cheeks' finest moment on the mic in terms of storytelling.)

7. All Right 
Produced By: Big Dex.

This song was ok, but nothing too special. 3 out of 5

8. Legal Drug Money 
Produced By: Big Dex
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 
Produced By: Easy Mo Bee

Using a small interpolation courtesy of Loose Ends' classic record "Slow Down," this is another decent song here. Cheeks' first verse is hilarious but accurate. 3.5 out of 5

11. Straight from da Ghetto 
Produced By: Big Dex and "Buttnaked" Tim Dawg
Another fairly decent song, again, covering where they come from. 3 out of 5

12. Keep It Real 
Produced By: Big Dex
It's not great, it's not wack, but somewhere right in the middle. Overall, forgettable. 2.5 out of 5 (3 out of 5 for this, remove the forgettable view.)

13. Channel Zero 
Produced By: Big Dex
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 under-reported or had no attention at all, hence the title "channel zero." 4.5 out of 5

14. Da Game  
Produced By: Big Dex

This song is one of my top 5 favorites on this album. Nice beat and Cheeks flows so well over it. 4 out of 5

15. 1,2,3
Produced By: Dwarf The Black Prince 

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 beat. 2 out of 5

16. Lifestyles of the Rich & Shameless (Remix) 
Produced By: Mr. Sexxx
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. 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. (My rating remains the same, definitely could've been a 5 star effort. And remember the days when an album had more than one hit single and all of them were in rotation at the same time?)

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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