Cormega :: Special Edition :: Legal Hustle Inc.
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

If you've been following RapReviews for a while now, you know that Cormega's standing has been steadily improving over the years. While retired writer Mr. S was a little hard on "The Realness," by "The True Meaning" Cormega had clearly arrived and surpassed the shadow of Nas that had loomed over his career since being kicked out of The Firm. Regardless of what the critics might think either way, Cormega clearly had a diehard following who stuck with him through the lean years in the late 1990's when he couldn't get an album in stores while Def Jam kept shitting on him, and these two albums rewarded their patience.

Cormega is clearly on a roll at this point. He successfully released his album/compilation "Legal Hustle" on Koch Records this year, and just half a year later is following up that success with "Special Edition" on his own imprint named after that album, Legal Hustle Inc. "Special Edition" is not exactly a new release, but it is one hell of an opportunity for those who Rip Van Winkled on his skills to finally wake-up. Priced like a single CD, "Special Edition" is actually two full albums in one package - the aforementioned classics "The Realness" and "The True Meaning."

If you've already been a Cormega fan for a while your natural inclination might be to say, "That's all good for the new jacks, but why should I cop it? I'll just own the same shit I already do all over again. I'm not paying for it twice." 'Mega clearly recognized this would be a problem, and went out of his way to give his fans a little something more. On the first disc "The Realness" Cormega has filled the unused 29 minutes of his original release with Enhanced CD content previewing his forthcoming documentary "Who Am I." You're already sitting at a computer reading this shit right? Well you can pop that bad boy in your CD-ROM driev and watch it. On the second disc "The True Meaning" it gets even better. While originally the album clocked in a little shorter than "The Realness" did, it now comes with a whopping seven bonus tracks not featured on the original CD. The original version of "Killaz Theme" with Mobb Deep is here, as well as their banging and hard to find duet "Angel Dust." You can peep a smooth remix of "The Saga," his fly hook-up with Jonell on "All I Need is You," and watch him prove that there's "No Equivalent" as he raps with Ayatollah and Tragedy Khadafi.

There's really no way to go wrong with "Special Edition." Two discs for the price of one, which is a lot of material for those who are late to brush up on 'Mega, and a lot of bonus shit those already in the know can enjoy. Best of all since the money is going directly into Cormega's pockets, it's funding the eventual release of his long lost classic "The Testament," recorded during his Def Jam days but never actually seen in stores except as bootlegs. For a man described as a "rapper's rapper" and a thug poet combining the best parts of Tupac Shakur and Kool G. Rap, "Special Edition" really showcases just how he earned that reputation. If you don't own either "The Realness" or "The True Meaning" you owe it to yourself to cop this shit.

Music Vibes: 9 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 9 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 9 of 10

Originally posted: November 30, 2004