Friday, November 25, 2016

Revisiting Lost Boyz's "Love, Peace and Nappiness"

One year after the release of their debut "Legal Drug Money", which I also reviewed on the blog, the Lost Boyz returned with their sophomore album, "Love, Peace & Nappiness." Being that this was released as the summer of '97 approached (STILL my best summer EVER, lol), you know there's some nostalgia involved, which leads to a small story.

I've told this on the blog before, but my cousin and Andre and I used to have these "friendly competitions" with each other to see who would get certain albums first. This Lost Boyz album was one of them and just when I thought I won this particular round, I hook up with him one weekend in August, and he already has the CD, lol (I copped mine from either Circuit City or Target). Yes, the memories. I haven't bumped this one in a while, so this should make for a very good revisit. Let's head back to '97 shall we!!

Release date: June 17, 1997

1. "Intro"
The Mr. Cheeks led intro, or as he said, "a one time interlude, not a song", almost as a callback to the intro from "Legal Drug Money", takes us right into.....

2. "Summer Time"
Produced by "Buttnaked" Tim Dawg and Terrence Dudley

The timing worked really well on this one. Not only was it sequenced as the first song after the intro, but considering the album's release date, the summer was literally on the way. You can tell Cheeks and the late Freaky Tah were influenced directly by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince's classic of the same name, only instead of accounts of how the summer time goes in Philly, this particular version highlights the summer time fun in Jamaica, Queens. Very good song.
*4 out of 5*

3. "Me & My Crazy World"
Produced by DJ Ron G
Background Vocals by Robert "Storm" Jordan

This apply titled song, the album's lead single, finds Cheeks in a situation that some men can probably relate to: "he's involved wit two chicks and doesn't know which one to pick." He has an intimate and emotional vibe with the first chick, the next chick lives out of state and he basically has the same vibe with her too. Cheeks realizes that "he can't live wit chicks cause they're too demanding." Well, lol, if you have the type of mindstate, a relationship is not going to work with one woman much less two, also realizing that "good things must come to an end." The cool thing is that towards the end of the song, he says "he'll always be that friend and isn't going anywhere." Very good song and watching this video again, the crew always looked like they were having so much fun during the making of their videos and this goes back to all of the videos they made for the first album. I also noticed Tah's son in the street with them while they were dancing (all smiles). My nostalgia is obviously guiding this rating, which is a "5 out of 5."

4. "Beasts From The East"
Featuring A+, Redman and Canibus
Produced by Bink Dawg

Without a doubt, this is the best song on the album and to this day it's still remembered as a dope posse cut. Cheeks links up with three MCs who were in different stages of their careers at this point. A+ dropped his debut album the previous year, "The Latch-Key Child", but never really had any momentum behind him, Redman was fresh off the release of his third album, "Muddy Waters", with "Whateva Man" and "It's Like That (That's How It Is)" enjoying respectable exposure, and Canibus, the standout on this song, was clearly making a name for himself and his knack for dope, show stealing verses would only grow from here. The underrated Bink Dawg comes through with a slammin' track backed by a nice sample courtesy of "One Loving Night" by Bob James. DOPE stuff here.
*5 out of 5*

5. "Love, Peace and Nappiness"
Produced by Mr. Sexxx

This was apparently the album's second single, but compared to "Me & My Crazy World", it didn't receive the same amount of radio and videoplay, seemingly exiting radio and TV as quickly as it appeared. Featuring a SLIGHTLY re-worked instrumental of Slick Rick's "Hey Young World" (also can be taken as a homage to Rick and that classic), I've always liked this one, a full embodiment of the LB fam just living life to the fullest as much as they could. Truly a "feel good" song.
*4 out of 5*

6. "Black Hoodies (Interlude)"

7. "So Love"
Produced by Ike Lee III

Sam Jones' "So Love" is nicely interpolated for this "lovely" joint for the ladies (not too soft for the fellas though). Cheeks shows nothing but love all around throughout all three verses.
*3.5 out of 5*

8. "My Crew"
Featuring A+ and Canibus
Produced by Easy Mo Bee

I remember really liking this one almost as much as "Beasts From The East." The Group Home crew and the surrounding areas are represented to the fullest here and yes, this song does come with another show stealing verse from Canibus, albeit challenged by A+.
*4 out of 5*

9. "What's Wrong"
Produced by "Buttnaked" Tim Dawg and Terrence Dudley

Cheeks can't seem to shake the negative vibes ("on and off stage it's all the same"), even though his intentions are good, leading him to ask, "what's wrong with the way I live?" He could've went a little more deeper here, but overall this is a decent song.
*3 out of 5*

10. "Certain Things We Do"
Produced by DJ Ron G

Smoking, drinking, partying all night, doing shows, sex, making money, evenings at the bar, you name it, this all takes place in days of the lives of the LB fam.
*3 out of 5*

11. "Games"
Produced by Mr. Sexxx
Additional Vocals by Luv Bug Starski

Cheeks takes some time out to "sit back, spark and listen, start his reminiscing." In addition to thinking back to family and friends lost, Cheeks reflects on his past, from his early years "when Mom dukes held it down for mad years" to his junior high period , fully embracing the teenage life, all the way up to "18 years of age gettin' green on the scene" on the road to "becoming official LBz." Very good song and as you know I tend to love songs where there's reflection involved, especially on the past.
*4 out of 5*

12. "Get Your Hustle On"
Freaky Tah
Produced by Gleen S.O.N. Faide, DJ Rob Alphonse and iPitoi Jones

Going into this album, I asked myself, "I wonder if Tah will get a solo song on this", and that question was answered with this appropriately titled song which finds Tah stressing, is his unique way, the importance of hustling. All things considered, he did a good job on his first solo spot. I bumped this one a lot back in the day too, especially when I first copped the album.
*3.5 out of 5*

13. "Tight Situations"
Additional Vocals by Queens Most Wanted
Produced by Bink Dawg

Much like he did on the classic "Renee", Cheeks flexes his storytelling muscles in this "tight situation, facin' life and death decisions." Cheeks is on the hunt, all in the span of a single day, for a chick that set him up and it all comes to a climax, if you will, at "12am the next day, the best day." 
*4.5 out of 5*

14. "Day 1"
Produced by Bink Dawg

 Cheeks shows mad love to his LB fam and the extended Group Home crew, been down since day one, no doubt. It seemed like they were also going for the "live show" type feel for this one.
*4 out of 5*

15. "Why"
Produced by Glenn S.O.N. Faide and Charles Suitt

Cheeks and Tah ask MANY questions during this entire song, lol, with the word "why" continuously at the beginning. An idea like this may look/sound good on paper, but in actual execution it can be all over the place.
*2.5 out of 5*

16. "From My Family to Yours (Dedication)"
Featuring Queens Most Wanted
Produced by Bink Dawg

This "message to the ghetto" closes the album in a heartfelt way. It serves as a not only a dedication from one family to another, but a classy tribute to the late Notorious BIG and 2Pac (the loss of those two men STILL sends shockwaves through the hip hop community to this very day).
*4 out of 5*

I largely feel the same way about this album like I did back in the summer of '97: it's a very good album, but nowhere near close to the level of "Legal Drug Money." And man, what a difference a year makes. In '96, not only did the aforementioned "Legal Drug Money" hit stores, but think about this: "The Yearn", "Music Makes Me High", "Lifestyles of the Rich & Shameless", "Renee", "Jeeps, Lex Coups, Bimaz & Benz" AND "Get Up" were ALL in rotation in some form, whether it was the radio and/or TV, and yes, it was clearly not unheard of to not only see an artist have multiple songs in rotation, but all being done BEFORE the album drops. That's remarkable. So, even though "Me & My Crazy World", (which peaked at #5 on the Billboard "Hot Rap Singles" chart) and the title track were moderate hits, they lacked the staying power of classics like "Jeeps, Lex Coups, Bimaz & Benz" and "Renee", just to name two, and with Uptown Records not being the most stable record label at this point, the promotion, or lack thereof, didn't help matters either. Even with all this being said, the album still hit #2 on the Billboard's "Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums" chart and achieved Certified Gold status on September 17th of 1997. Overall, I'm going with a solid 3.5 star rating for "Love, Peace And Nappiness" and that's even with the ever so present nostalgia factor. Give it a listen if you haven't bumped it in a long time.

**RIP Freaky Tah**

No comments:

Post a Comment