There was a time when Master P was so popular no one would dare drop an album on the same day he did, not even Kanye or 50 Cent. But times have changed and P is far from the best selling rapper he used to be. While it made a few ripples at the time, P's bold statement that he would drop an album with no curse words on the same day 50 Cent dropped "Curtis" was forgotten by the time September 11 rolled around. With little fanfare "Hip Hop History" marks Master P's first venture into clean rap and a new partnership with Wal-Mart. Exclusively sold at the mega-retailer, the CD marks the first time a father and son have collaborated on an entire album, hence the name. The CD also proves that excluding curse words from a record doesn't automatically make a record good or even positive as P and Romeo are up to the same tired thug clichés.
The album opens with "My Life," a ghetto narrative oozing with remorse:
"Raised in the projects, grew up in the bricks
Lend 5 dollars, I bring you back ten
Raised by the trigger man, I ain't talking bout the record
Boys in my hood, man dying every second
Seen my young brother get blast, and lost my mind
Took it to the streets man, learned to nickel and dime
Momma out there watching saying pray for your baby
P doing things, got the young boys crazy
Trying to make it out, I want a second to learn
But everybody wanna be like me gon' get 'em a turn
I ain't playing with the game cuz I taught 'em to trap
When I jumped off the porch, then I taught 'em to rap
Man, they wanna follow, and then they say that I changed
But P trying to live and just survive in the game
Man, my boy kept it real and they still took his life
The same sucka say he down, now he sleeping with his wife"
This is Master P at his best, appealing to the heart of struggling hustlers. Hoodnoiz provides the beat and shows us that Master P always has a knack for finding unknown producers with talent every time he re-ups with a new record label. The good doesn't last long though as most other tracks on the album reek of unoriginality. "Love My Moma" takes the idea and even the cadence on the flow from Tupac. "Rainman" takes the concept from Lil' Wayne while Romeo jacks Lil' Wayne's style for the entire album. Seriously, Romeo steals every voice inflection, word repetition, flow, and cadence that Lil' Wayne has used since "The Carter" on this album. He even coins his own little catch phrase a la Lil' Wayne by screaming "YAYER!" when he feels his rhymes are really dope. P does have a history of repackaging all the best that ever came out of New Orleans, but Romeo's flow-jacking is too much. The not so subtle jacking continues throughout. "Rock It" begs the girls to "work, work, rock it" which could just as well be "pop, lock, drop it." "Dumb Diddy Dumb-Dumb" takes Master P back to his west coast roots, but only because Romeo does a rip off hyphy track. "Sidekick" takes the jacking back down south as P proclaims "if you a gutter boy, wipe me down (wipe me down)." "I'm Fly" lets you know Master P still cares about the kid's – voices, since he gives us little kids on the hook and uses the "Knick Knack Paddy Wack" melody.
Master P has always been a hustler and damn good one. His hustling spirit is the main reason millions of fans consumed No Limit rap in the 1990s. But just like the original No Limit exploited New Orleans rappers for P's benefit, Take A Stand Records is exploiting the current push against curse words and negativity in rap. Just as recently as last year P was happy to peddle gangsta rap through his Guttar Music imprint. When Al Sharpton and the NAACP started a crusade against bitches and hoes, P saw another opportunity to hustle. P's venture into clean music is a failure because it's simply the same tired rap with the same negativity minus curse words. Whether you call her a hoe or not, you're treating her like one if you tell a girl to "work work rock it" and then brag about your ice as if all she cares about is money. You can say that you want kids to become lawyers and doctors all you want, but if your songs promote drug dealing as is the case on "I Got That Work" and you make it a point to declare your street cred on the rest of the album kids aren't going to want to be doctors and lawyers. To his credit, "Hip Hop History" isn't bad for a Master P record. The lack of curse words probably helps his lyrics be a little more creative, though not much. Hoodnoiz's beats are pretty good all around and in line with No Limit's southern bounce. Master P also makes an effort to include some positive songs such as "Hip Hop History" where he runs through a list of Civil Rights Heroes and "Let The Kids Grow." But despite some positive songs, overall this is the same as any Master P album, full of boasts about street cred and anthems about money. If you want some thug music without curse words then this is probably as good as it gets, but don't expect much more.
Music Vibes: 6.5 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 4 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 5 of 10
Originally posted: September 25, 2007