Widely credited with repping the south before the south was
cool, Eightball and MJG have been in the game for a very,
very long time. The duo was the first rap act anywhere near Memphis to go
platinum, but were huge in the dirty dirty long before that.

Both have gone solo before. MJG is
traditionally the more political of the two; Eightball generally sticks to the script. This is certainly true of
Bomb except that this “solo album” is
probably best described on a compilation disc. Newcomers Devius, Mac-E, Gu1ta Mac and Loco (the lone female in the bunch) essentially spend the album
going back and forth about weed, drank, hoes and the like. Oh, and if you
thought that the “Gang” in M Gang
was just for show, “Clear It Out” features a hook that exhorts all Vicelords,
Gangster Disciples, Bloods, and Crips to hit the floor and well, clear it out. “Time2hitdaclub,”
“Swervin,” and “Purple Stuff” all hit, and if you’re on your way out the door
on a Friday night the stellar production will certainly come in handy.

Meanwhile, Eightball plays the
godfather role, putting in his two cents when the kids start to act up. The
exception is the title track (produced by Montana
Trax
), where Eightball rhymes
solo: “Picture this, pretty women shaking
dealing what the huur/ make a stack and go and get a babysitter for the
churren/ split it up and then burn baby burn/ pimpin don’t touch mine if I
don’t touch yourn…

Then, he displays a little bit of maturity:

I’m a beast with the pen/ known for
bringing the pain/ I’m like Lil Wayne/
pimpin I was young in the game/ now I’m grown mane/ big trucks, busses and
planes/ ATL strippers hate me cause I don’t make it rain/ only thang I’ma do is
put a blunt to a flame/ so lay it out when you see me bitch you know why I came

So, the good news is that when he does drop-in, he brings the same controlled
energy characteristic of Eightball & MJG albums of the past. Speaking
of MJG, he does show up on two
tracks (“This Ain’t That” and “Yo Bitch”). While both are highlights on this
collection, neither stacks up to classic Eightball
& MJG
tracks from any of their 58 real albums.

The question then, is when do you become too old to rap about going to the
club, drinking (dranking) purple stuff, smoking weed and fucking hoes? For Eightball, the answer is “never”. Then
again, his gift of portraying life on the ugly side of American society has to
be acknowledged. That gift is never more evident than on “The Greatest”
featuring Juvenile. Eightball gets down-right artistic: “I’ma poet I was blessed to keep the lights
on/ faithful to my craft, more than just fight songs/ I write alone/ dreaming
of the right song/ write about life and hoes that I done piped on/ write about
dreams that crumble like cornbread/ write about my nigga laying in the ground
dead/ we party hard smoke and drink away the bad thoughts/ we hustle hard and
try harder not to get caught/ a black man trying to eat like a white man/ live
right and live a white man lifespan/ we come from nothing less than zero to a
hundred grand/ my childhood hero had a pistol in his hand.

In any case, what Bomb does show is Eightball‘s clear business mind; it’s
certainly not by accident that M Gang
gets major shine. Light Up the Bomb
is Eightball‘s second album as CEO
of his own label (8 Ways Entertainment);
this time around he effectively combines his unquestioned street credibility,
universal respect in the industry, and pimp charisma with homegrown talent and
production. The end product is a relatively banging get-gone tribute to the
Memphis side of things.

Like fellow legends Bun B and Pimp C, Eightball & MJG are clearly better off together. In fact, this
album is not unlike Pimp C‘s
solo-release Pimpalation in that they
both offer an alternative view of one-half of a bona-fide combo. Like a burger
without the fries, Ball is good by
himself; but much better with something on the side.