I feel like New York hip-hop has been under-represented on my blog here, especially because, along with astonishingly primitive black metal, it is my favorite thing. O.C. is part of the Diggin' in the Crates crew and Buckwild did a lot of production on this album, so if you're expecting some sort of jazzy, lyrical hip-hop, then your head is in the right place. Congratulations.
This isn't quite Illmatic or Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, but what is other than The Infamous or Ready to Die? This is squarely on that second tier, though, which is really saying a lot. But hold on, who wants to read my writing about categories, especially when I was going to ridicule people who like "hip-hop" but not "rap." I'm over it though, smooth brains can do what they will. That shit just isn't my dad.
O.C. is unapologetically more intelligent than his peers, and he has quiver full of little poison arrows for fake thugs and sell-outs:
What's-her-face told me you shot this kid last week in the park/That's a lie, you was in church with your moms
I'd rather be broke and have a whole lot of respect/It's the principal of it, I get a rush when I bust some dope lines oral, that maybe somebody'll quote/That's what I consider real, in this field of music
He also gets all high school existential for a minute, wondering why life is so damn short and all. Hint: it prob has something to do with the values of some fundamental constants.
This whole album is rooted in reality, and O.C. steers well wide of melodrama and irritating polemicism. Instead, the universal themes of struggle to earn your own place, proving haters wrong, existential melancholy, and alpha male bravado shine through. That's right, even if you live in the hills of New Guinea, you will relate to this record. You already slept on it once in 94, don't fuck up again.