8Ball & MJG - Ten Toes Down

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Albeit a disappointment, Ten Toes Down retains nostalgia value and places Ball & G among a select number of 20-year veterans that are able to stay remotely close to relevant.

After signing with Diddy in 2002, many hoped that the Bad Boy mogul would garner 8Ball & MJG the long overdue exposure and record sales that they rightfully deserved. Despite taking their career in an arguably unfavorable direction, the Orange Mound duo did receive their third gold plaque for an album (Living Legends) that, at the time, included their best chart-performing single to date (“You Don’t Want No Drama”). While the deal served its purpose, 'Ball & G left desiring guidance from a label with a more southern perspective, ideally one that has a core audience that grew up listening to the two. With T.I. himself owing his youthful spitfire to MJG’s punctual flow, a joint venture with Grand Hustle seemingly appeared to be an appropriate fit.


As discussed in their HipHopDX interview, there is an evident “B.C.” and “A.D.” divide among fans, separating their legendary Suave House days from those after. B.C., 8Ball & MJG’s sound was synonymous with their go-to producer T-Mix’s authentically slow, heavy Southern beats, which incorporated warm elements of Soul and late ‘70s and early ‘80s Funk. A.D., the duo’s beats have been increasingly synthetic and at times mismatched, pairing the Orange Mound natives with the likes of Swizz Beatz and even Gorilla Zoe.

Rather than using samples like previous efforts, Ten Toes Down opts for organic live instrumentation, including string guitars, horns, deejay scratches, and keyboards. However, much of the production continues to lack inspiration and polish, including poorly arranged sound effects and keys on “Fuck U Mean” and the downright hollow, overly simplistic “Bring It Back.” Meanwhile, other tracks like David Banner’s Blues-spirited “I Don’t Give A Fuck” is sadly, just too upbeat for 8Ball & MJG. Fortunately, some of Ten Toes Down’s more redeeming production comes from the Gospel-influenced “Billy (Truth Be Told)” and former No Limit producer Mo B. Dick’s down-tempo, The Isley Brothers-inspired “Right Now.”

In addition to Grand Hustle’s roster and regular collaborators, Ten Toes Down recruits Texans Bun B and Slim Thug as well as Soulja Boy. Aside from T.I.’s subliminal diss on “What They Do” and David Banner’s exceptional verse on “We Come From,” many of the collaborations seem forced and even unnatural, particularly on the A.D. end of the spectrum. Although it is comforting to see the UGK connection remain alive, B.C. advocates have long desired for rekindled relationships with more-established southern artists like Outkast and Goodie Mob and even west coast gangsta rap artists like E-40 and Too Short.

Throughout their career, there have been very few topics where 8Ball & MJG’s storytelling has excelled: cartoon-like crime situations, raunchy, yet humorous, pimp escapades, sincere inspirational talks, and introspective tales that reflect on their careers. Approaching 40 years old, Ball & G’s raunchier, rowdier days are long behind them. Although Drumma Boy is able to show glimpses of their more aggressive past on “Ten Toes Down” and even “It’s Goin’ Down,” the tracks that provide the most sustenance for B.C. fans are those reflective tracks concentrated toward the album’s end like “Life Goes On” and “Still Will Remain.”

Lacking evolution by continually conceding to major labels’ cookie-cutter templates, Ten Toes Down comes as a disappointment, especially for those from the B.C. era. Were T.I. not incarcerated for half of their Grand Hustle tenure, the question lingers about the potential for follow-up improvement. Nevertheless, the album retains nostalgia value and places Ball & G among a select number of 20-year veterans that are able to stay remotely close to relevant.

28 Comments

  • the mid man

    they need to get back to the basics and stop the tom foolery.

  • the mid man

    they need to get back to the basics and stop the tom foolery.

  • the mid man

    one of the worst albums i ever heard form them.

  • Atl2Trill

    This an okay album overall. My fav songs right now are I don't give a fuck, Where we from, and bring it back. Hopefully Killer Mike's grand hustle debut is fye.

  • Down South Bred

    I think the album was okay. The best song by far for the genre is Right Now. Mo B Dick was large part of No Limits success. This beat suited Ball & G lyrical style. If all the songs were like this they would have one of the best bangers of the year.

  • junMaf*ckn

    "Life Goes On" is my shit right now...

  • rickreserve

    i havent heard there new album yet but i hope its good.judge the music for yourself and then have a opinion and listen to what they speak of its a different style that people was never ready for in the first place.when then came out in thelate 80s early 90s they was on the grind.i glad there still here livin and blessed there not to many people that can say that they are real supporters of not only just a artist but in the movement period.i give it up for ball and mjg i say live on my brothers rap or no rap to all the brothers and sisters out there follow year dreams one love

  • abbas g

    hot album go haed

  • HoohaTheTruth

    I love ball and g but this cd SUCKS DICK. Theres like 2-3 decent tracks. I dont know what they were thinking with this shit. 2010 is a disappointment so far. Too Short's "Still blowin"? dude how can legends like these release such garbage? E-40 still brings it though. EVERY artist in the hip hop game needs to step back and take a long hard look at where they fit and what they contribute to the art before we lose our hip hop. Grown people dont want to listen to soulja boy and waka flaka. This shit is getting stupid and I'm tired of it. Sit down and write something other than cat in the hat rhymes, PLEASE.

  • eugene

    solid album..i cant believe people dont like this album

  • kom1986

    best album this year

  • buckeyewu

    I like the album but it's not their best. I hate to say it but I don't ever think they will duplicate On Top Of The World. I give this one a 4 because I'm a fan. For non fans, I see a 3.5 at best only because they have some really commercial beats. 15 years ago I would have never thought that Bone, 8Ball/MJG, Too Short, Devin, and Scarface would have dropped in 2010. Hip Hops not dead, the fan base is.

  • Monroe

    DRUmma makes some hard ass beats. First song is tight. Fuck you mean is hard as fuck and ten toes down is tight..Spotlight is tight and so is the one with slim thugga motha fucka...Hard cd. I been jammen it since Tuesday when I bought it.

  • Justin KN.com

    Big step up from the Bad Boy releases, good to see Ball & G back.

  • C-ARSON

    STEP YO GAME UP GRAND HUSTLE. B.o.B. NOW THIS. IS T.I. TAKING ALL THE BETTER BEATS OR WHAT?

    • wtharri2

      i hope you realize that b.o.b's beats are of his own creation or at least if they are not his, he picks them and works with them...

  • Sasori

    Being a Ball and G fan from way back when i really hoped that this union with Grand Hustle would bring back that authentic sound. Sadly thats not the case. I guess i'll save my money for something else...

  • these guys are straight garbage

    THERE IS NO VALUE IN THIS ALBUM LIKE A LITTLE BROTHER ALBUM, SAVE YOUR DOUGH ON THIS ONE FOLKS, THESE GUYS FUCKIN SUCK...MAYBE IF THEY HAD CONTENT WITH INTERESTING MEDAPHOARS AND A DJ PREMIER PRODUCED ALBUM THEY WOULD BE OK

    • Harry The Hat

      Your opinion is null and void, son.

    • Macca187

      You type in all caps and you don't know how to spell 'metaphors'. Your opinion is invalid. DJ Premier? The dude's my favourite producer but he wouldn't suit these two at all... this is Southern shit, not Premo's style.

    • C-ARSON

      dj premier? the fuck u talking bout? THIS IS 8BALL & MJG FUCKFACE. YOUR AN IDIOT!

  • Gods_Son23

    An okay album. Starts off a lil slow but improves and features some good, if nothing outstanding songs.

  • WTF-MAN

    WORST ALBUMS OF THE YEAR SO FAR ARE: 1. TruthLive "Patience" 2. 8Ball and MJG "10 Toes Down" NEXT UP DRAKE AND NICKI MINAJ

  • Harry The Hat

    Between BG and 8Ball & MJG, TI and Grand Hustle sure cheated fans on what made them seem like a big dynasty. I'm glad this came up before Young Leyland or whatever his name is, but damn... if they do this to Killer Mike, Ima be real angry.

  • Cash Mo

    Not Feeling it at all, bought this album last week tried so hard to like it but its kinda wack. Been a Ball & G fan from way back but this shit didn't go down well at all. The stuff the released on BAD BOY was much better, and thats saying something (BAD BOY RECORDS that just makes me laugh). Only got a couple of hot joints! I wasted my 10 bucks!

  • TELL THE WORLD MY NAME

    Ball & G follower since back in the day, but they are really starting to show their age on this album. It has a nice track here & there, but its definitely not worth your time or money.

  • kush nap

    i seen 8 ball order a full chicken, spaghetti, shrimp, steak and lobster at once. im tellin yall all that boy do is eat smoke and fuck bad bitches. mjg and ball some legends, but they didnt bring it like that. all good though i respect the cherry on top they already solidified.