Wednesday, July 30, 2014

AMiL`s "A.M.I.L. (ALL MoNeY iS LeGaL)"...

 Gotta love that No Limit Record~lookin` add.....LoL, anyway let`s get it in shall we???


I hope all is well with y`all, today I will be dusting off an album that was released in the year 2000 on Columbia/ Roc-A-Fella Records by female emcee Amil titled "A.M.I.L. (All Money Is Legal)". I`m sure most of y`all slept on her solo album because well ya never knew that she dropped one.....LoL, after all there wasn`t a whole lot of promo done for it. For those of you that aren`t up on the First Lady Of The Roc a.k.a. The Dynasty`s Princess, Amil I`ll drop a lil` info` for y`all. The first time that I heard Amil rap was on the Jay-Z song "Can I Get A..." which also featured Ja Rule (tryin` to look like 2Pac rockin` the backwards~tied bandana on his head with no shirt on in the music video). After that she was featured on another Jay-Z (Jaz-O is featured as well) track titled "Jigga What, Jigga Who" rappin` the hook...

After that it was on & poppin` for her as she was officially a member of the Roc-A-Fella team, but let`s rewind just a lil` bit so we can get a better idea of Amil`s roots shall we? Before she linked up with Jay & the Roc-A-Fella crew she was actually a member of an all female rap group call Major Coins (or Coinz I`ve seen it spelled both ways) which also included members Liz Leite & Monique. I`m not sure if they ever released anything officially, but Jay-Z who was recording his 3rd studio album "Vol. 2...Hard Knock Life" at the time (1997-1998) took some interest in the group because he was searching for a female rapper to spice up his song "Can I Get A...". Originally the spot was gon` be filled by Amil`s partner in rhyme Liz Leite, but once Jigga heard Amil freestyle he felt that she was better suited for the song. Liz Leite did make it on Jay-Z`s "Vol. 2..." album though, she`s featured on the song "It`s Like That". Shortly after Amil made her appearances on the album Major Coins disbanded, was it because of jealousy? I`m not sure, but either way once her group was done she decided to take up a solo career & join Jay-Z at Roc-A-Fella...

She began to pay her dues while being a part of the 1999 Hard Knock Life Tour & then once that was over she hit the studio & started to collab` with plenty of artists such as label mates Beanie Sigel, Memphis Bleek & Jay-Z as well as Mariah Carey, Solé, Tamar Braxton & LL Cool J. After working on "The Dynasty: Roc La Familia" album things were put in motion for Amil to start working on her self titled debut solo album. The album features production from L.E.S., Tone & Poke a.k.a. Trackmasters, EZ Elpee, Just Blaze, Rockwilder, Tyfife, Lofey, K-Rob, Omen & Jon-John. Guest appearances on the album include; Beyoncé, R&B singer Carl Thomas as well label mates Jay-Z, Beanie Sigel & Memphis Bleek. I believe that the album  had only one single which is the Beyoncé assisted "I Got That", an independent women anthem that lets all the fellas know that some females can make it out on their own without the reliance of a man. Some of y`all listeners may recognize that the beat shares the same sample that was freaked for Biggie`s "Friend Of Mine"...

The album`s opening cut "Smile 4 Me" is a great way to spark things off, Amil`s spittin` about her personal Life struggles. It`s nice to hear her start things out on a personal level instead of say an over sexualized tip. I`ve already touched on "I Got That" so I won`t spend any more time on it except to say that I can`t really get into it. I can dig the overall message, but the song itself just isn`t all that good to me. "Get Down" is another joint that I`m not really much of a fan of, it`s not a completely wack song but you can tell that they created this one for the commercialized loving folks. "Ya`ll Dead Wrong" is a joint that has Amil letting the doubters know that she`s not to be messed with, definitely a braggadocio track. The Jay-Z assisted "Heard It All Before" makes for an entertaining listen, it`s a woman vs. man joint. Basically; a playette & a player exchanging game amongst each other, which includes plenty of lies & truth bending....LoL

"Quarrels" features Carl Thomas on the hook, Amil spits some more deep type lyrics. I`m not much of a fan of it`s hook, but Amil`s rhymes aren`t too shabby at all. "Girlfriend" definitely is geared towards radio~play with it`s catchy beat & simplistic chorus. It`ll get your head nodding, but lyrically no new ground is broken. Amil basically lets ya know that she`ll snitch to ya` girlfriend if you`re tryin` to holla at her.....LoL, the album`s title track "A.M.I.L. (All Money Is Legal)" has a nice beat backin` it, but again Amil pretty much fails to impress me with her rhymes on this one. The second Jay-Z collabo` on the album "That`s Right" isn`t nearly as DoPe as the first. It`s more of a braggin` fest with a simplistic hook & a generic beat that`s supplied by Just Blaze. Honestly it sounds like a throwaway beat that was rejected from a Ruff Ryder compilation...LoL

"Anyday" is a DoPe track produced by K-Rob with a well placed sample that complements the rest of the song along with Amil`s deep emotional lyrics. With it`s darker sounds produced by Lofey "Raw" keeps the momentum of good tracks flowin`, sure Amillion is on that braggin` ish again but she manages to make it sound much more believable on this song. "No 1 Can Compare" may have a weak beat behind it, but Amil still manages to keep it interesting (except for the hook that is) by spittin` some heart~felt emotional lyrics over the Omen produced track. The album closes out with the bonus track "4 Da Fam", a Roc-A-Fella collabo` that features Memphis Bleek, Beanie Sigel & Jay-Z. It`s not too bad of a song & I can see why they added it to the end of the album. They wanted to keep the Roc`s buzz going, just in case you weren`t too impressed by Amil`s solo outing they wanted to remind you that they still have some other artists that`s sure to grab your attention. Beanie Sigel steals the show with his verse on here, my opinion of course...

One thing that you may notice is that Amil definitely shines the most when she gets a little more personal on the mic & leaves the sex rhymes & braggin` ish alone. Sure at times she can pull of the X~rated raps & the braggadocio type stuff, but most times she fails. I know that it may seem like I`m being a lil` harsh with my opinion of the album, but hey it is what it is! I like what I like & when I don`t like something I let it be known. This album may appeal more to other peeps, but overall I was really only DiGG`n about half of it. Standout joints for me are; "Smile 4 Me", "Heard It All Before", "Anyday", "Raw" & "4 Da Fam". "No 1 Can Compare" isn`t that bad of a tune either... 

Now for those of you that are curious as to what happened to her after the album, from what I have read she just started to lose interest in the Rap game. She stopped caring about recording music & was more focused on taking care of her son. So with no love left for rappin` she didn`t leave her label any other choice but to drop her. She now lives in North Carolina, (who knows maybe someday I`ll bump into her.....LoL) fourteen years later though she`s still working on music & is actually putting together a mixtape titled "A Moment In Life", it may be out now I`m not sure though. She was interviewed by billboard back in March & said that it was gon` come out late Spring early Summer, so it should be released but y`all know how release dates change. You can peep the billboard interview here if you interested. So there ya have it y`all, go `head & peep the album...

Label: Columbia Records/ Roc-A-Fella Records
Released: 2000

1. Smile 4 Me
2. I Got That {ft. Beyoncé}
3. Get Down
4. Ya`ll Dead Wrong
5. Heard It All {ft. Jay-Z}
6. Quarrels {ft. Carl Thomas}
7. Girlfriend
8. All Money Is Legal (A.M.I.L.)
9. That`s Right {ft. Jay-Z}
10. Anyday
11. Raw
12. No 1 Can Compare
13. 4 Da Fam [Bonus Track] {ft. Beanie Sigel, Jay-Z & Memphis Bleek}

Here`s another interview that Amil did with back in 2007 if you`re interested in reading it...

^Interesting interview if you have a half hour to spare check it out...


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

VaRiouS ARTiSTs: "The LaWHouSe ExPeRieNCe VoL. 1"...

What`s up  y`all? Hope all is well! Today I`m dustin` off a compilation album that was released back in 1997 to share with y`all, this joint was put together by producer/songwriter Laylaw. For those of you that aren`t familiar with his work he has done ish for Above The Law, N.W.A., Eazy-E, Kokane ("Addictive Hip Hop Muzick"), Michel`le (wrote most of her self-titled debut album), Ice Cube, 2Pac ("Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z.", "California Love [Rmx]") & E-40 to name a few. It`s safe to say that he`s been puttin` in that work on the West Coast for a long while & has worked with plenty of talented artists. I`ve always thought that he was an unofficial member of Above The Law, but apparently that`s not the case at all....LoL, anyway he released this West Coast compilation (only folks that weren`t reppin` the West on there are Eightball & MJG) on his very own label Lawhouse Records. I think if I`m not mistaken that this comp` is the only project that was released thru Lawhouse Records, that is until he decides to drop "Lawhouse Greatest Hitz" which is supposed to be a 3-Disc Box Set. It`s said to feature both released & unreleased music from Ice Cube, 2Pac, DJ Quik, E-40, Above The Law, Eazy-E, MC Ren, Nas, Flo-Rida, Pharcyde, Luniz, Michel’le, Stanley Clarke & George Duke amongst others...

As a youngster I remember seeing this on the shelves at the records stores & wanted to cop it, especially since the featured artists were some of the best from the West, but back then with limited funds I chose to  skip out on it because the price tag was just not all that attractive at $21.99.....LoL, especially when I was able to grab a newer release for $12-15. Fast~forward 17-18 years later I was able to cop this joint for a whole $4.25 so I did (guess it paid off to wait.....hehe~heh!) Anyways let`s get to the music now shall we? Now right off the top I have to be honest & say that the Intro, Skits, Interlude & Outro are nothing short of just album filler. Sure there are some aspects of the Phat Freddie skits that are a lil` comical, but really if you don`t hear them you aren`t missing out on anything. Once you get passed that there`s really only 1 joint on this compilation that I didn`t really care for much; L.V.`s "I Just Wanna Play". L.V.`s joint isn`t wack I just find that it`s a lil` out of place since it`s the only R&B flavored joint on this comp`...

The rest of the artists on this compilation deliver some pretty decent joints overall, nothing super spectacular but also nothing that`s crazy wack either. Standout tracks for me are the Ras Kass & Xzibit collabo` "Arch Angels", Ice Cube`s "Legal Paper", Kausion`s "Lil` Sumpin`", Phalos` "Phalosmode", K-Dee`s "World Wide" & Da Pharcyde`s "Westcyde 242". Above The Law`s former DJ, Go Mack`s "One Way In" isn`t too shabby either. In conclusion I wouldn`t say that this album`s to die for, but if you`re a fan of the late 1990`s West Coast sound you should give it a listen. So there ya have it y`all now go `head & check it out for ya`self...

If you`re interested in reading a lil` more about Laylaw & his begins in the Rap world you should peep this interview that he did with Hip Hop DX back in 2011. He talks about his early days, working with Dre, working with Eazy & Ruthless Records, as well as working with 2Pac amongst other interesting ish...

Label: Street Life Records/ Lawhouse Records
Released: 1997

1. Entrance [Intro] {Coolio & Kokane}
2. Arch Angels {Ras Kass ft. Xzibit}
3. Give It Up {W.C.}
4. Legal Paper {Ice Cube}
5. Spank That Ass [Skit] {Phat Freddie}
6. Your Hustle Ain`t On {Ice-T}
7. One Way In {Go Mack}
8. Lil` Sumpin` {Kausion}
9. Drank Break [Skit] {Barney Rubble}
10. Live Yo` Life {The Luniz ft. Dru Down}
11. You Might Get Stuck {Above The Law}
12. Phalosmode {Phalos}
13. Housin` [Interlude] {Eightball & M.J.G.}
14. World Wide {K-Dee}
15. Westcyde 242 {Da Pharcyde}
16. I Just Wanna Play {L.V.}
17. Phat Chance [Skit] {Phat Freddie}
18. Exit [Outro] {Kokane}

R.i.P. KMG...

Friday, July 11, 2014

Sunday, July 06, 2014

CiZZLe`s "No DRaWs"...

Today I`m going to share with y`all an album that I had picked up more so because I was curious as to how it would sound. No one put me on to it, I just came across it by accident really. Found it at a used CD store for a whole $4 so I figured why not grab it. The album in question is titled "No Draws" by Cizzle (a.k.a. Big Cizzle) & it was released back in 2002 thru K`Otic Records. Now I know most of y`all are asking ya`selves who the fuck is Cizzle? Don`t worry you`re probably not the only one.....LoL, I was asking myself the same question while in the store looking at the album cover because the dude on it really looked like Guerilla Black. You know that emcee from Compton, California that sounds a lot like Biggie???

 Turns out that Cizzle a.k.a. Big Cizzle is what Black used to go by a few years before he released "Guerilla City" in 2004. Another interesting fact is that "No Draws" is pretty much just a re~release of the 2001 album "Ya Neva` Seen It Com`n" that he put out under the alias of Big Cizzle, but it came out on Bungalo Records. The only difference between the two of them is the order of the songs & the fact that "I Spit Dat Shit" is added to "No Draws" so it has one more song than "Ya Neva` Seen It Com`n". While rappin` under this 'Cizzle' moniker it`s safe to say that he sounds a lot like Mystikal & even DMX (peep "Ay-Yo") on a track or two. It kind of makes me wonder whether it`s intentional or not because I mean it`s just a lil` too much of a coincidence that he sounds a lot like two well known emcees...

I`ll tell ya one thing though, I definitely like him more when he`s Guerilla Black......LoL, I honestly couldn`t really get into this album under Cizzle because most of the tracks are nothing special & come off to me as just some ol` generic songs that have been done already by plenty of other artists. There`s a few songs that aren`t too shabby like; "Wear`N No Draws", "I Spit Dat Shit", "Lighter `N Da Air" (even if the Reggae vibes seem a lil` forced), "Come On" & "Bitch 4 Me". The rest of the album didn`t hold my attention much, not that it`s completely wack or anything, it`s mostly because it sounds like stuff that I have already heard. It just fails to grab hold of my ears & make me want to listen.....LoL, so there ya have it feel free to check it out if you`re curious...

Label: K`Otic Records
Released: 2002

1. T Cizzle
2. Get This Money
3. Wear`N No Draws
4. Tongue Rings
5. No He Didn`t, No She Didn`t
6. Party On The Coast
7. I Spit Dat Shit
8. Lighter `N Da Air
9. Werk Dem Hips
10. Get`N Freaky Wit` U
11. Come On
12. Ay-Yo
13. Mama`s Papa`s
14. Dime Piece
15. Bitch 4 Me
16. Girl U Nasty