Ill Street Blues

Kool G.Rap & D.J. Polo "Live And Let Die" ****1/2 out of 5

This is one of my favorite hip hop albums and a very intriguing one at that.  Some past reviews of the album have described it as a east coast version of "Amerikkkas Most Wanted".  Like Ice Cube coming to the east coast for Amerikkkas, Kool G. Rap went to the west coast and had Cube alum Sir Jinx produce "Live and Let Die".   He pretty much used the same formula Cube did to keep things fresh.  He switched up the formula and used west coast production ideas. The cover art caused major delays with the album.  The cover depicts Kool G. Rap and D.J. Polo with masks on dangling raw meat in front of rottwilers, who are chained to chairs that have narcotic officers with nooses standing on them.  The album remained out of print untill 2008 because of this and the lyrical content.  Kool G.Rap is a classic rapper because of his use of multisyllabic rhymes and it is evident throughout this album.  This is also one of the traits that makes Kool G.Rap one of my favorite rappers of all time.  The singles from this album were "Ill Street Blues" and "On The Run".  "Ill Street Blues" makes great use of the sample "Get Out Of My Life Woman" by Joe Williams from the Blue Note label. You can also hear "Are You My Woman" by The Chi Lites which Beyonce used for "Crazy In Love" in the song "#1 With A Bullet". One of my favorite aspects of this album as well as most of the hip hop albums from the 80s-mid 90's is that there is only one producer.  Having only one producer seems to make an album more consistant and I think multiple producers is something that makes me lose interest in most hip hop albums today.  A lot of todays hip hop albums seem to go all over the place and make me lose interest.  Ice Cube, Big Daddy Kane, Scarface and Buswick Bill are the guest stars on the album and all make quality performances.  Kool G.Rap is also credited as the first rapper to use mafia references in his raps which is pretty interesting since most rappers today make that reference on a regular basis.  A deluxe 2 disc edition of the album was released in 2008 and includes all the 12 inch versions and remixes.  The remix of "On The Run" is better than the original so it's inclusion is great.  Like Rakim and Big Daddy Kane, Kool G. Rap is a legend who definitely deserves more recongnition then he has.  "Live and Let Die" along with "Road To The Riches" and "Wanted Dead Or Alive" are all required listening for classic hip hop heads.