An American chart-topping LP, ‘The Last Don’ is Percy ‘Master P’ Miller’s fifth album and looks set to become his biggest seller. And, if the 28-year-old rapper and label boss is to be believed, it’ll be his final record.
Largely unknown in Britain, the No Limit crew – Miller, his brothers C-Murder and Slikk The Shocker, female rapper Mia X and more – have become rap’s first family in the US. Since the death of Tupac Shakur and the gradual demise of the Death Row label, rap’s commercial heartland has been crying out for a standard bearer. And while the music’s underground has been going back to its roots, the No Limit soldiers have been cleaning up in the lucrative post-gangsta sector. P’s signing of Death Row renegade Snoop Doggy Dogg – featured here and sounding leaner and more menacing than at any time since his ’93 debut – brings things full circle.
The label’s string of gold and platinum albums stick to a reliable formula: slinky synths, smooth drum programming and lyrics that concentrate on honour, solidarity and the codes of the street. A potent, if generally uninspired brew, but one with a ready-made fan base. And of its type, ‘The Last Don’ isn’t bad: generic, certainly, and often banal and sexist, but there are flashes of intelligence, wit and insight in the calculated whole.
So Miller probably finds it all too easy. He’s hanging up his mic to concentrate on the other stuff -; a book, a film and running his very successful independent label. Respect, it would appear, is most definitely due.