Tha Liks :: X.O. Experience
Label: Loud Records
Author: Mr. S
Tha Liks are going commercial. They changed their
name to be more media friendly. They released a
single that was (gasp!) produced by the Neptunes and
even had Pharell singing the hook. There are
rumblings that E-Swift completely changed the sound of
his production. I am here to dispel all these
bullshit rumors. Tha Liks are old school. They're not gangstas.
They're not hustlers. They're not pimps. They're
MCs. Plain and simple. In a day when everyone has to
be the hardest, the richest, or the biggest baller,
Tha Liks are still just out to have a good time, drop
some humorous lyrics, and get the party started.
I've heard claims that E-Swift's production on this
album mimicked Rocwilders. That's simply untrue.
While I do acknowledge that "Bar Code" and "L I K S"
have some Rocwilder-esque background effects, the
beats themselves are pure E-Swift. As far as I'm
concerned, there's only three tracks on the album that
sound like they could be Rocwilders: the two he
produced, and one produced by DJ Twinz.
The album gets off to a tremendous start. A funny as
intro is followed by the absolute banger "Bar Code",
which features Xzibit. Damn, this IS the way to start
a party. The beat is bananas, Xzibit rips his verse
to shreds, while Tash and J-Ro both come through dope.
J-Ro's drunken boasts may have been the tightest on
"I drink a lot of ale, smoke a lot of L's a day
I got kegs in my room and bales of hay
25 bowls' powder in my ashtray
Some like it slow some live the fast way
All the ladies know I'm wild and nas-tay
I life the Rap Life like my nigga Tash say
I down the whole brew, never halfway
Back and forth to the bar in the Likwit Cafe"
Speaking of bangers, this is followed by one of equal
if not greater value, the Rocwilder-produced "Run
Wild". This is supposed to be the next single, and I
can't argue with that call. The fast paced beat is
pure Rocwilder, at his finest, and the back and forth
Run-DMC rhyme style is very well executed. Tash once
again destroys his first verse, drawing the listener
in from the very beginning:
"Niggas, bitches, back again to get it crackin
Smoked a blunt, drunk a brew, turned around and look what happened
(What ya workin with?) I'm on some party clique
Weed smoking drunk, ODB-Bob Marley shit
(We got that shit!) Some ladies come and get it
Custom fitted flows for all the hoes who fuckin with it
(Liks coming thick!) But where the party at?
You know how we act once we buzzed of that cognac"
The next song explains what each letter in "L I K S"
stands for, over a typical E-Swift style banger with a
horn loop. This is one of the several songs in which
Tash, widely acknowledged as the groups best lyricist,
gets outshined by his Alkie brethren. E-Swift makes
one of his welcome appearances on the mic in this cut,
and does not disappoint:
"L: Lush, lewd
Leaning on the edge of the bar, loud, rowdy and rude
Longevity, lots of energy, legendary
Likwit crew niggas for life, large followings
I: Illustrious, impressive
In your rap section, not imperfection
International, inner city nigga
I'm the truth, in the isolation booth
Idolize my group"
Busta Rhymes comes through on "Bullyfoot", and while
it's not as good as his guest spots usually are, his
verse is still above average. The beat, produced by
DJ Scratch, produced the video-game sounding beat.
The only weak cut on the album is "My Dear" featuring
Defari. Damn this song is the definition of mediocre.
It samples the same Pharcyde song that Joe jacked for
the "Stutter" remix, and it's not much better. The
verses are probably the weakest of the album, and
Defari's is way below standard.
Thankfully they rebound with the filthy "Da Da Da Da",
in which Tash proclaims:
"Ayo, the Alkies set the trends that the whole world follow
Fuck a CD, fuck a tape, we should sell this shit in bottles
Are you a role model? Nah, CaTash'll steal your beat box
I drink, cuss, and smoke and smack niggas with cheap shots"
Classic Alkie material.
The 40 Oz. Quartet (Part One) is one of the true
highlights of the album. The beat is simply a
baseline and a sound of people blowing on bottle
openings, as J-Ro drops a beligerent verse, with gems
like "They tried to send me to AA, I said 'Eh eh / Not
today-day, I just bought a bottle of Tangueray-ray'."
Rocwilder drops by for his second track, "The
Sickness", which features Butch Cassidy on the hook.
Pretty typical Rocwilder beat, nothing spectacular,
but a solid cut. One of the best tracks though is "Going
Crazy". The beat is E-Swift at his finest, and the
drunken chorus is tight as hell. Tash is ill as hell
on here, and J-Ro isn't at his best but still has some
good one liners.
The track on here that truly deviated from the typical
Liks style is the lead single, "Best U Can". Of
course you've all heard it. The thought of Tha Liks
over a Neptunes beat and Neptune-sung hook made most
fans cringe at the very thought, but honestly, this
song is tight minus the corny hook. But you can't
argue with the reasoning behind this song, and it
worked: Tha Liks had the #1 rap single on LA radio
stations and the #2 rap single on New York radio, so
obviously they're getting their name out to the
public, which is what this track was designed to do.
Tash's version of the "40 Oz. Quartet" isn't quite as
entertaining as J-Ro's, but is still a worthwhile
listen, except for the corny ending.
"Anotha Round" utilizes an ill guitar rif, however,
the verses are not Tha Liks best work. Still, this
song is entertaining as hell, and is a sure-fire party starter.
The founder of the Likwit Crew, King Tee himself
pops up on "The Bubble". This is one of the true
highlight tracks, as Tash comes through with some of
his trademark punchlines:
"Homegirl, we Likwit niggas
Take the time to get to blow us
tell your friends come kick it with us
All jokes aside, we slide slippers
Money falling out my pocket like I robbed nine strippers"
Xzibit comes through again on "151", but this time
he's only on the hook. DJ Twinz' production sounds a
lot like Rocwilder's on this one, but it is still
dope as hell. Xzibit's chorus is classic drinking
song material, Tha Liks are once again on point with
the rhymes. As usual, Tash steals the show: "So for
the next 20 seasons Tha Liks is gettin even / While we
drop, drop, drop... drop it like it's freezin / Party
down for now reason, I play hoop with the spins / I
even celebrate the loss when the other team wins"
The final track is a fitting ending, with perhaps
E-Swift's best (or at least his most innovative) beat
on the album, "Promote Violins". The guitar rif and
frantic violins provide an interesting backdrop for
Tash and J-Ro, as well has guest star Kurupt, who
actually drops a decent verse (a rarity these days, it
seems). But the song is done in by a WEAK ass hook.
Still, the rest of the song is sick.
Tha Liks are still basically the same in structure:
Tash is the lead man on the mic, with J-Ro doing a
solid job as the backup and occassionally stepping to
the forefront. E-Swift provides most of the
production and picks up the mic once in a while,
normally dropping a good verse. Their lyrics are
still purely based upon the topics of being an ill MC,
drinking, smoking, and getting laid.
This album has a very different feel this time around:
E-Swift's production is still dope, but it's much
less murky nowadays. He also produced less tracks
than usual (9 tracks out of 15). And Tash didn't come
with as many punchlines as he normally does.
Bottom line: as long as you don't come in expecting
"21 and Over" or "Coast II Coast", you're not gonna be
disappointed with this album. It's truly a breath of
fresh air; in a day when it seems like everyone's
gotta be a bad mothafucka, a flossy hustler, or a
political activist to be taken seriously in rap, Tha
Liks remember that's still okay to just make songs
about having a good time.
Buy this shit, bump it in the ride, pop it in at
parties, whatever. You can listen to it from start to
finish (just skip "My Dear"), and be entertained by
it. And hey, they may not sound like they used to,
but at least take solice in this, old Alkaholiks fans:
it's a hell of a lot better than Likwidation was.
Music Vibes: 8 of 10
Lyric Vibes: 8 of 10
TOTAL Vibes: 8 of 10
Originally posted: July 24, 2001