[a]Noreaga[/a]’s a self-confessed ‘gangsta rapper’. But please don’t let that put you off this record. On his second solo album without partner Capone, we find him on the streets of his native Queens, hustling, dealing, landing in jail, becoming a rapper and making a million.
It’s a brilliant, if grim, tale of his life so far, retold with blunt honesty in his harsh Noo Yawk drawl. And while he doesn’t have the lyrical skills of a Raekwon or a Nas, he still sounds fresh, and most importantly, REAL.
, [/I][a]Noreaga[/a] raps on ‘Goin’ Legit’, a celebration of success over ghetto adversity. It’s the real-life gangsta antidote to the fantasy murder rap that hip-hop businessmen like Master-P are currently churning out in droves. See, [a]Noreaga[/a]’s moved on – the music is at turns funky, symphonic and creepy, not a million miles away from RZA‘s Shaolin Island but still far enough to stand on its own.
Hardcore rap fans will love this album, but the more casual listener will be glad to know that ‘Melvin Flynt…’ is worth the admission price alone for the thumping Missy Elliott duet ‘Wethuggedout’. With manic beats by Ruff Ryders‘ Swizz and Missy screaming her lungs out, [a]Noreaga[/a] demonstrates you don’t HAVE to boast about cap smoking over a lazy Funkadelic sample to be a gangsta.