Once again, I’m back with another review of a throwback album. I missed the last Thursday I was scheduled to post one but I don’t have an excuse as to why so I won’t make up one. This week I decided to go with “Lifestylez of da Poor & Dangerous” by Big L.
After seeing this particular album included in multiple lists I saw on Twitter of best hip-hop albums of al time, I figured I would see why the hype was about.
I’m glad I did.
Put It On
One thing I will say about this song is that it was a good introductory track and for a number of reasons. I had heard the name Big L before pressing play on this album but I had never heard any of his music. Yet, I was impressed to say the least. Off tops I realized he’s more than likely known for his punchlines and flows.
I chuckled at the line where he goes “I got girls that make that chick ToniBraxton look like Whoopi.” Then the way he says “You think you nice as me? Haha you’s a funny nigga” and switch up the flow? I was shook.
Only thing I didn’t like about this track was the bridge before the second verse. I felt like it was randomly as hell. The hook was simple but got the job done cause that bitch got me hype. The outro was also noteworthy too because one wouldn’t think to give shoutouts at the beginning of an album but it was fitting.
Off rip this was one of my favorite tracks before I heard it in full track because of the DeBarge “Stay With Me” sample. I found myself harmonizing with Ashanti lyrics as soon as that bitch started. A number of artist have used this sample but I like what he did with it. He added the right amount of grittiness to it and I like how he flowed on the track overall. Not too little, not too much.
Besides the sample of course, my favorite moment was definitely the hook. However, the bars “L’s a clever threat who never sweat / comparing yourself to me is like a Benz to Chevrolet” really stood out to me. As far as stating the obvious, the punchline was great. Yet, the double syllable and internal rhyme scheme was tight as hell me to me.
No Endz, No Skinz
Almost every male artist known to man has said something in their music about women only wanting them for their money or fame. However, I like how he took this particular theme and and pretty much made the shit his own. It’s something you hear all the time but the way he made an entire track about it and stated the shit really impressed me.
Half way listening to song it made me realized, has any female artists ever made a similar track flipping the script? I don’t know, I just really liked this tracked to say the least.
8 Iz Enough
This was my least favorite track on the album but it was still nice. I wasn’t a big fan of it because I felt like it was doing too much. It felt like it was a weird cypher type of moment that sounded out of place with the rest of the tracks on the album.
There wasn’t much structure but it’s obviously hard to have structure on a track that has 8 people on it, without it being long as hell. So, other than that, I think it was a good effort. I like how he had the idea of putting his people on with this track, somewhat connecting to how he gave shoutouts at the beginning of his album. I respect it.
Besides L, I think Herb had the best verse though. As far as his delivery and punchlines, his verse stood put the most to me. I may have to peep his music as well.
In addition to the second track, this was another personal favorite. LordFinesse snapped with the production and the number of punchlines on this track was crazy. He said so much shit on this one that deadass made me pause or laugh at loud. The entire first verse is noteworthy but my favorite line would have to be “in the shower’s the only time you get your dick wet.”
This track also made me notice he mentioned AIDS a good number of times on this album too. Maybe because of the time the album was recorded and released but I wonder if there was a legit reason as to why it was mentioned so many times.
Oh, and the outro was hard as hell too — and the chuckled he did at the end was adorable. I don’t know, don’t ask why.
This track has my favorite production on the album as well and the MalcolmX sample on the intro was hard in relation to the lyrical content on this one. Furthermore, this might sound super fucked up but I like how this had a anti-Christ theme throughout it too. I don’t know, I like that dark, Three6Mafia type of shit.
Obviously though, because Big L was an artist in a different lane, he approached the theme differently. Yet, I like what he did with it. Oh, and he mentioned AIDS agains on this track too .. lol.
Besides production alone, this track was another overall favorite for me. The production of course was noteworthy with LordFinesse on it once again but I really fucked with the sound in general on this one. I liked the laid back feel to it but the message on this one was important as well.
The hook stood out the most to be because he literally stated, “you better listen to L rhyme,” more than once and he was really saying some real shit. The flows and punchlines and shit is cool but sometimes you just need to speak directly to the listeners, you feel me? I felt like he did an effective job of doing that.
This track wasn’t a stand out to me but I did think the simplicity of the production and the hook was effective. Although there wasn’t nearly as many artists on this track compared to “8 Iz Enuff,” I will compare this one to it because of the similar structure. This track was definitely a step up.
Choosing who had the best verse on this track was difficult but I will say I was’t feeling a particular person’s verse. Anyone who has been paying attention to and reading my previous TBT posts can do the math. No hating shit, I just didn’t feel his voice was made for the delivery he went for. I don’t know, the track just would have been stronger if you ask me.
Lifestyles of da Poor & Dangerous
Like the MalcolmX intro on “Danger Zone,” I like the sample used for the intro on this track as well. This one actually has a smilier feel and vibe to it as that track as far as the overall sound. However, considering this track is the self-titled in correlation to the album title, I was expecting a bit more from it.
I loved it don’t get me wrong, it just wasn’t a stand out track to me. Although I said this about previous tracks, with this one being a self-titled, I feel like it was missing something. The track itself did have some noteworthy lyrics though.
The bars that trickled from “my moms told me to get a job” was a stand out moment. Then, “I wasn’t poor, I was po’ I couldn’t afford the o-r” and “I told him, ‘give up the dough before you get smoked,’ oh you broke? (gun shots) now you dead broke.” All that shit was hard lol.
A lot of artists tend to say similar shit but sometimes they way someone says it and delivers makes it pop, you know?
I Don’t Understand It
I’ll just start by saying I hate when hip hop heads who are heavy into the era of hip hop this album was released in, diss artists today whose sound isn’t similar. I think having artists who aren’t as lyrical creates a needed balance. However, I do feel and understand where Big L is coming from with the message of this particular track.
A lot of artists who did have a strong lyrical start in the beginning of their careers watered down their content to appeal to radio audience and he addressed these type of niggas as well. so, all in all, I was a fan of this track.
Fed Up wit the Bullshit
This track was on a “fuck the police” type of tip and y’all know I’m all the way here for that type of shit. Like any other artist apart of the culture, I think it’s important to address the prominent issue of police brutality and the attack that has been on our people for years. We all fed up with the bullshit, really.
My favorite moment on this track though was when he said “I’m also fed up with them punk-ass cab drivers who don’t stop / they don’t care if it’s snowin’ / first they slow down, then they see your skin is brown and they keep going.” I felt that shit.
Let ‘Em Have It “L”
Last but not least, this track was the perfect outro on the highest of keys, if you ask me. Everything about it was on point. I love how he was braggadocios on it and the bars and flows matched up. Yet, that was expected. There were so many standout bars on this one though that really made me pause and reflect.
Like, do you ever just hear a bar and wonder, how the hell did that nigga think of that? For example, the bar “I knocked out so many teeth the tooth fairy went bankrupt” had me shook for a good minute. Then the flow switch on verse three before bragging some more? Yeah dawg, I have nothing more to say.
If you couldn’t already tell from my commentary on each track throughout this album, I was a definitely a fan of it. Even the tracks I felt were more on the weak side were still great. There wasn’t a song on this album I completely hated. I could see myself listening to this one front to back without any skips, which is actually a rare thing for me to say and be able to do.
I was even disappointed when I did my research and discovered this is the only album he released before his unfortunate death. Obviously, posthumous albums were released but of course, that’s not the same thing you know? I was definitely impressed by this entire album though and plan to peep the rest of his work.