June 12, 2014

Lost Boyz "Legal Drug Money" (The Source, 6/96)

"Last year the Lost Boyz - Mr. Cheeks, Freaky Tah, Pretty Lou and Spigg Nice - sprang on the hip-hop scene with "Lifestyles of the Rich and Shameless" and introduced their signature style to the masses. Lead rhymer Cheeks exhibited tag-team skills with the amped Freaky Tah on a track that featured banging production and a killer chorus on par with the anthemic singles of Naughty By Nature. The group did it again "Jeeps, Lex Coups..." and cemented their format in stone. But their much anticipated debut was lost in Uptown's corporate swirl. Finally, a year and one amicable label transfer later, the crew has the opportunity to hit the masses with a full load, Legal Drug Money."

"Hailing from the south side of Jamaica, Queens, the crew flaunts their ghetto status like a boy scout badge. Cheeks does represent lyrically on cuts like "Keep It Real," but romanticizing the ghetto for capital gain or "real" status is a dangerous - and overplaying - approach. Indeed, from track to track, the Lost Boyz are about smoking weed, hitting shorties, and freestyling - a limited world view that's woefully omnipresent in today's hip-hop nation... However, "Renee" is one of the album's bright spots. It rivals Method Man's "All I Need" in expressing the dynamics of male/female relations for the average B-boy. But this on-point sentimentality is somewhat undermined when, as with the Notorious B.I.G.'s "Me & My Bitch," the adored female in question meets an untimely death. Cheeks makes you feel the loss, but you privately question why ghetto love is so often represented as doomed. Nevertheless, the Lost Boyz long-awaited set will still set heads to nodding - those for which that is enough." - The Source, June 1996; you can check the full review down below...