Artist: 8Ball & MJGTitle: Ridin’ HighRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Adam Thomas
How would one explore the Memphis Hip-Hop sound? Well, one of the first acts that come to mind is 8Ball & MJG. They have been dropping their signature sound since 1993 with their debut Comin’ Out Hard. Now after their longest span between albums they are back with Ridin High (Bad Boy). Was it worth the three year wait? That’s debateable, but Ridin High is an album that represents their sound fully and is a solid effort overall.
What represents the 8Ball & MJG sound? The aptly named “Alcohol Pussy Weed,” has it all in the title, as that what adorns the album outside of a few instances. It’s a sound that is redundant, but the Tennessee pair do it particularly well, with their own signature flair. Even so, there are a few standouts on the album that will surely catch your ear. The lead single, “Relax and Take Notes, features Project Pat and a well placed Notorious B.I.G. sample under a driving bass that starts the album out in exciting manner. “Memphis,” featuring Al Kapone, is a song that fits well as a city anthem, as the verses offer a sincere look at their hometown. “Stand Up” is well done song and gives the album a fair sense of closure.
This album can get quite repetitive though, particularly in the middle. “30 Rock,” features features a terrible verse from ad Boy captain Diddy. The lyrics are terrible, even for his standards, as he gets on the mic and sounds like an amateur at best.
If you really enjoy the gritty street sound of 8Ball & MJG, you will enjoy this album. The veteran teams possesses enough lyrical flair and production punch to sway those not too keen on Southern tinged Hip-Hop. Consider Ridin High a trip worth taking.