8Ball & MJG crept in the
underground for a long time, but their impact spread throughout the South.
After their influential Suave House days,
the duo moved on up to the major mainstream world, by signing with Bad Boy in ’02. Now christened “Living Legends,” they have a lot to
prove on Ridin’ High.
The album kicks off with the ferocious “Relax and Take Notes,” which
features The Notorious B.I.G.‘s
classic lines chopped throughout the chorus. With the beat banging’ in the
background, the duo take time to speak on their love for dough: “Spend [money] like I never saw a day of pain
and sufferin’/Look at my face. You can tell I seen both of them.”
The album boasts no shortage of bangin’ beats. “Ridin’ High” and “Turn Up
the Bump” all showcase the pulsating rhythms that play throughout the album.
Unfortunately, there is a serious redundancy of beats as there is little
versatility in mood over the album’s 19 tracks. One track just begins to bleed
into the next, and not in a good cohesive way. Interludes have rarely been
useful. Here, 8ball & MJG are interrupted twice. Worse
yet, they are interrupted by boring, useless interludes with little humor to
8Ball & MJG also add a bit of
redundancy in their topic choice. Pimpin’ has always been their forte, and this
album is no exception. While that offers little growth on the artistic side, it
does offer more of what fans are used to so I don’t fault them for it much.
Still, the pimp talk can be overdone and it is. Sadly, it’s not even well done
here. It gets downright embarrassing to hear “Hickory Dickory Dock” this time
around: “Here a girl, there a girl/Everywhere
I go, a girl”
One can’t truly get more elementary than “Old McDonald’s Farm.” Songs like “Alcohol,”
“Pussy and Weed,” “Running out of Bud” are more examples of this
monotony. Still, they do manage to flip the script with “Stand Up,” which
is a great way to end the album.
No, they won’t wow you with rhymes. They won’t give you much in terms of
lyrics, actually. But if you simply want to enjoy some good old 8Ball & MJG, some bangin’ beats and
some pimp game, go ahead and ride high with the Memphis duo.