Artist: M.O.P.Title: M.O.P. Salutes the St. MarxmenRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Bill “Low-Key” Heinzelman
Whether you love or hate G-Unit, you have to be happy for M.O.P. For over a decade Billy Danze and Lil’ Fame have repped hardcore Hip-Hop to the death, only to be shunned by the mainstream. With their upcoming G-Unit debut, the duo hopes that all changes. For the meantime, M.O.P. offers their second installment in their St. Marxmen series to hold fans over. M.O.P. Salutes The St. Marxmen (Family First/Koch Records) features old and new material that follows the typical Mash Out Posse formula.
“Muddy Waters” finds Danze and Fame reminiscing about street soldiers lost in the struggle, as well as contemplating their own situation, as Danze states, “I was driving an eighty thousand dollar car before I got with Dash/But I won’t lie and say this ain’t about the cash.” The 9th Wonder produced “Instigator” continues to display vivid street tales, as 9th provides a harder beat than usually expected, while M.O.P. spits their usual fire on the mic. The only DJ Premier produced track, “Pop Shots Remix,” is a successful collaboration with the late great ODB. As always, it gets no better than Primo and M.O.P. The mixtape favorite, “Big Boy Game,” is also included, even though 50 Cent is notably absent. You didn’t think 50 would be on a Koch album – did you?
While Salutes The St. Marxmen will please diehard M.O.P. fans, the production isn’t as fulfilling as previous releases. Wyclef lends his guitar and vocals to the poorly executed “Hip Hop Cops,” which sends a strong message, but lacks the necessary pizzazz behind the boards. Similarly, the choppy guitar riff of “Party Like A Rockstar” makes it hard for Danze and Fame to build up any momentum, therefore, ending in a bland effort.
Nevertheless, M.O.P. Salutes The St. Marxmen is another solid outing that should tide fans over until the duo’s long awaited G-Unit release. Salute!