September 21, 2020

Terror Squad "Terror Squad" (Vibe, 1999)

"It's hard not to root for Fat Joe. The Bronx, New Yorker spent years as an underground rap underdog before discovering a fellow borinqueno heavy-weight. With verbal skills as massive as his body, Joe's find, Big Pun, debuted in 1998 with the platinum-selling Capital Punishment (Loud). Riding the wave of momentum supplied by his protege, Joe finally struck gold with his third try, Don Cartagena (Atlantic, 1998). Now as his crew, Terror Squad (Joe, Pun, Cuban Link, Prospect, Triple Seis, and Armageddon) release their self-titled full-length, the MC/entrepreneur is once again banking on his eye for talent to pay dividends. Big Pun, rapping and singing, shines over the tasty violins and face-pounding drums of "Whatcha Gonna Do?" Bolstered by a creepy, hollow-sounding piano, "Bring It On" features Fat Joe going for dolo in vintage form: "Come at us if you're ready for war / Whoever you are / Leave you dead in your hall / Leaking red on the floor." Unfortunately, such stellar moments are few. By mid-album, many of the tracks start sounding the same -- a betrayal of the lesser-known Terror Squadians' distinctive flows and charismatic Latin linguistics. Let's hope Joe and his compatriots change production teams before coming out with solo efforts. If not, we'll be calling them the Not-So-Scary Crew." - Vibe (November, 1999). Rest In Peace, Big Pun.

Do you agree or disagree with Elliott Wilson's review in Vibe?