For the last half decade, the P.A. crew from Atlanta have been recognized as some of the top producers from down south, working with notable artists like GooDie MoB, Youngbloodz, OutKast, and Jim Crow. Through the years, their greatest attribute has been versatility: everything from the laid back, funky, guitar-laced "85" with Youngbloodz and Big Boi, to the fast paced, hardcore style on Jim Crow's "I Know, You Know". P.A. has been able to employ many different styles and be able to do it successfully, which is something that very few producers can claim.
The members of P.A. (Big Reese, Mello Capone, and KP), who rarely pop up for vocals on the tracks that they produce for other artists' albums, are on every track here, which is not a bad thing. Are they spectacular MCs? No. But they never embarass themselves, which is more than a lot of producers can say. In fact, they're better than a lot of so-called rappers out there who DON'T produce.
The first cut, the title track, includes a rock-style guitar loop in addition to the usual drums and synths. P.A. gives a somewhat sarcastic take exploitation used mainstream rap: "Sex , drugs, money, violence: My Life, Your Entertainment". The majority of the album is made up of lyrics that cover these topics, but they examine the positive and negatives of the hustler lifestyle, rather than simply glorifying it.
The first truly good track on the album is "They Come Thru" featuring Jim Crow. The beat is uptempo, guaranteed to get any club crunk and bump in any trunk. The only weakness is the repetetive chorus that doesn't sound very inspired, but its a small flaw; the verses are all tight and the beat has incredible head nodding value.
"Sundown", featuring EightBall, is actually not produced by P.A. (Craig Love takes credit for this one), but this track is pure butter. It is difficult to imagine anything smoother than the funky grooves heard here, EightBall provides one of his usual dope player verses, and P.A. is not showed up, providing some nice lines themselves. Overall, its an excellent song.
The heavy metal style of the first track return on "Playaz Do", and it works well. The subject matter is, as you could tell from the title, nothing innovative or special, and neither are the lyrics, but at the same time, they have some sharp lines thrown in there, and the music makes you slowly bob your head.
A traditional dirty south beat surfaces on the next track, "Problems", featuring Khujo and Slick Ricky Wade (who sounds strangely like Lil Wayne). This (the type of beat) is suprising, seeing that the song has more "conscious" subject matter than most that pop up on this album, attacking society's values with lines like "Got a problem with the IRS, cause I owe em dough / Had a problem with a few niggas, we straightened it though / Got a problem with rich folks that hate rich folks / Got a problem with broke folks whos trying to get no dough".
The track with the most "star power" on here is "Dope Stories (Remix)", which features Noreaga, Pimp C, and Big Gipp. The beat is typical hardcore, Dirty South style in its general construction, but it is nonetheless catchy. The only weak part about "Dope Stories" is Noreaga's verse, in which he sounds out of place, partially because of his inability to flow to this type of beat, partially because of his wack lines, about half of which don't even rhyme, and the ones that do are pretty stupid sounding anyway.
The Youngbloodz pop up on the aptly titled "Something 2 Ride 2", which is a truly a song to bump while you're rolling. Every verse is well written, and no one can flow better to this type of laid back beat than Youngbloodz' Sean Paul, who pulls you in to kick the song off. The artists differentiate themselves from many so-called hardcore rappers from New York: "Cristal and Dom Perignon sipping? Hell naw / Colt 45, corner yeah drink it, damn, dog". This song probably won't be a nation wide hit, but it'll be bumped for the rest of the summer from Texas to Florida, that much is a fact.
Closing things off is "My Time 2 Go", featuring Cee-Lo, who sings the hook and drops a verse too. Guitar soaked production (coming from Craig Love) melts with some of the deepest lyrics on the album, which talks about getting the most out of life while you're here, as well as questioning the value of the aformentioned parts of P.A.'s life, our entertainment: sex, drugs, money, and violence. This song is a true gem, that should be appreciated by any fan of hip hop.
Once again, P.A. has proven their versatility as producers. Whether it be southern bounce, hardcore tracks, or funky grooves, they can do it all. They are also no slouches on the microphone. This album touched on all parts of the hustler lifestyle: the glorification of violence, the player/baller side, the struggle, the questioning of the lifestyle. Though this album will probably be largely slept on, it has material that will be appreciated both by the fans of Trick Daddy and the Cash Money Millionaires, as well as those of OutKast, Youngbloodz, and GooDie MoB, if they take the time to pick it up.
Music Vibes: 9 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 8 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 8.5 of 10
Originally posted: August 7, 2000