One of the culture’s legendary lyricists, Kool G Rap, has decided to make the 1970’s an inspiration for his new album, a gem that Hip Hop heads should not sleep on. Riches, Royalty & Respect is G. Rap’s reintroduction to a game that owes a lot to his work and it is his first release since 2008’s EP, Half a Klip. With this album, G. Rap proves that he can still rhyme circles around emcees, weave rhyme patterns together and boast with the best of them.
Unlike athleticism in the NBA, age doesn’t always mean a deterioration of skills in Hip Hop. G. Rap can still hang, using his patented multisyllabic style to perfection throughout, flashing this skill frequently. “She feels the player’s flavor/ the shoes are suede or gator,” he brags on “Ya Chic Chose Me.” “She knows I play with paper and you can’t pay the waiter.” Lyrically, G. Rap also shows his sharp lyricism on “Sad,” one of the album’s most interesting, heartfelt cuts over a Lee Moses sample. “Pages of My Life” also shows more of this introspection. “I had a baby sister that died young,” he shares. “She went to sleep when the grim reaper was cradle rockin’/ Over my right shoulder here, I got an angel watchin’.” Here, G. Rap shows why veteran emcees should still have an integral voice in our culture.
Of course, the right beats are important in backing every emcee. For his support, G. Rap went for mostly lesser-known producers (with some exceptions like Alchemist and Marley Marl) who had a similar vision. Taking off with the throwback theme in place, each producer drops a soulful sample laden track, a Memory Lane for all who take this album for a spin. “In Too Deep,” “The Meaning to Your Love,” “Sad,” “Pages of My Life,” and “Da Real Thing” all showcase this nostalgic vibe properly. By providing the soulful instrumentals, it allows G. Rap to do what he does best with no distractions.
Taking his vintage style and flipping it in 2011 is quite a feat, one G. Rap does with ease. It is that seemingly effortless greatness that has followed him for years and it is why he’s been one of the game’s most influential figures. On Riches, Royalty & Respect’s drive down Memory Lane, G. Rap proves that along with riches, this culture’s royalty deserve our respect.