Reader Review by David Lopez
If The Testament was released in the mid 1990’s , it would undoubtedly be mentioned in the same breath as Nas’s “Illmatic”, Raekwon’s “Only Built for Cuban Linx”, and Biggie’s “Ready to Die”.
Instead Cormega‘s opus is dropping close to a decade after the fact, and can now be considered a throwback to a golden era when emcees were more concerned with making quality albums and less focused on creating commercial singles to sell records.
Like a pair of old Air Jordan’s that symbolizes an era that is special to you, Mega Montana delivers a retro album that brings you back to a period when New York lyricists towered above the rest of the rappers in the Hip Hop world.
He reveals the strong initial stages which led to the solid body of work he would later release on his albums The Realness and The True Meaning. This is Mega’s prequel, if only more rappers could deliver some of their best work ten years into their careers.
On the title track “The Testament,” he asserts his thug wit over drums and piano loops:
“So don’t ever question this, poetry I manifest in this, graffiti filled testament.”
The RNS produced “One Love,” is a response to Nas’ letter to friends in prison on his classic debut Illmatic. On the Nas’s rendition he poses the question:
“What up with Cormega, did you see him are ya’ll together?
Cormega responds just as vividly on his version:
“Dear Nas, What up son? It’s Mega, I got your letter, me and my cousin Ogi are here together.”
“Killaz Theme,” produced by Havoc features menacing violin strums and head nodding bass twangs that complement the gloomy lyrics from both members of Mobb Deep. Mega holds his own on the track:
“Scarface persona, I acquired a taste for drama, and I embrace it, spray shit, you banned from the projects your love here ancient.”
He offers compassionate counsel to youth based on his own experiences on the melodic “Love is Love,”:
“If you can’t beat a case run, because when upstate your friends won’t remember you son, when you out of sight your out of mind and take my advice I did a lot of time.”
And lives up to his Tony Montana persona on “Dead Man Walking,” on the cut Mega vehemently tracks down his attacker until he is no longer. He adds to the theme on “Montana Diary,” where he reveals his plans of making money and having power.
“Cocoa Butter” is his smooth acknowledgment to females, as he declares his fondness and appreciation for them over a piano back drop.
“Your ebony eyes are heavenly, your like a pearl handle smooth but yet deadly.”
Most of The Testament is a pleasure to listen to, however the over thugged “Angel Dust” produced by Sha Money might have been cool to listen to back in 1995, but today sounds out of date as does the sappy chorus of “Every Hood.”
Though the Hip Hop world will be forever grateful to have found the hidden treasure known as The Testament, they might have found it 10 years too late to truly appreciate Cormega’s account.