November 24, 2021

Kool G Rap & DJ Polo "Live and Let Die" (November 24, 1992)

A strong case could be made for Live and Let Die as Kool G Rap & DJ Polo's crowning achievement. Who can really say for sure if the controversy surrounding the cover artwork--which shows the duo feeding steaks to a pair of rottweilers, in front of two noose-necked white men--clouded a proper consensus? With across-the-board stellar production help from Sir Jinx and Trackmasterz, G Rap (who also produces) thrives on his no-holds-barred narratives that peaked with Wanted: Dead or Alive's "Streets of New York," but most everything on this album comes close to eclipsing that song. "Ill Street Blues" is practically a sequel to it, and it manages to use more swanky piano vamps and horn blurts without making for a desperate attempt at capitalizing on a past glory. Few tales of growing up in a life of crime hit harder than the title track, in which G Rap displays the traits--unforced frankness, that unmistakable voice, and a flow that drags you involuntarily along--that made him a legend. The album is one story after another that draws you in without fail, and they come at you from several angles. Whether pulling off a train heist, venting sexual frustration, analyzing his psychosis, or lording over the streets, G Rap is a pro at holding a captive audience. All die-hard East Coast rap fans, especially followers of the Notorious B.I.G., owe it to themselves to get real familiar with this album and the two that predated it. If you were to take this duo's best five songs away from them, they'd still be on the top duos rap music has ever seen. - Old School Rap and Hip-Hop. The book surely made their case very strong for Kool G Rap as one of the G.O.A.T.!

And yes, "Ill Street Blues" was easily one of my favorite cuts of 1992.