Artist: Junior M.A.F.I.A.Title: Riot MusikRating: 2 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Orisanmi Burton
Ten years after the release of their debut album Conspiracy, Junior M.A.F.I.A. have some B.I.G. shoes to fill. For starters, the late great Christopher Wallace was the motley crews rhyme guru. His charisma on hit singles Get Money and Players Anthem was undeniably the presence that made those songs memorable. Secondly, the octet has thinned down to a trio. Most noticeable is the absence of Lil Kim, the groups star player who basically defected in 96 as her solo career jumped off. Now with Lil Cease in the drivers seat, accompanied by Klepto and Banger, the M.A.F.I.A. re-up with Riot Musik (Mega Media).
The fifteen track LP has a couple of choice cuts that may end up blaring through car stereo speakers. Gaup, the formulaic – albeit catchy – ode to dead presidents is the albums best offering. The laid-back production provided by Sebb is anchored by a mesmerizing baseline which sets this track above the rest. As the opening act, Lil Cease drops sufficient lines like, These little niggas huggin the block with ready rock/ 50 pack of felonies riskin they freedom for gaup. Minnesota, Eddie Cheeba and Trey of Boss Money can also be heard trading tales of monetary pursuit on this one. Die Anyway featuring Jadakiss is Riot Muiks other highlight. The sinister chorus summarizes the theme. You can ball all day but still gonna die any way. Jadas raspy delivery on the second verse steals the show; A lot a niggas in the game is cheating/ Thats between them and God though/ Im just gonna arrange the meeting.
Unfortunately, these two tracks alone are not enough to save Riot Musik from mediocrity. The remainder of the album is sadly sub par. Ultimately, Junior MAFIA has fallen victim to the sophomore slump. What little semblance of chemistry they displayed on Conspiracy has all but vanished. What is left behind sounds like weve heard it all before. For future reference, if your subject matter is limited to money, hoes, cars and clothes, at the very least make it interesting to listen to.