My opinion on B.G. has changed vastly over the last 10 years. When he was part of the Hot Boys I saw him like I saw Turk and Wayne – filler material before the next Juvenile verse. After the "Chopper City in the Ghetto" album hit I had a little more respect for B.G. but really didn't care for him as a solo artist. It wasn't until the man split from Cash Money Records and released the massively satisfying "Living Legend" that I finally saw the man as a talented solo artist. I played out both disks included in "Living Legend" and even got into all of B.G.'s little homies, including his brother Hakim. Though I've gone back into B.G.'s extensive discography and kept my ear open every time he's dropped since I haven't encountered another B.G. album I feel reaches the level of "Living Legend." "Living Legend" was by no stretch a perfect or classic album, but the combination of being dropped from his label and battling addiction made for a particularly gritty and compelling album. Since then, B.G. has kicked his addiction and escaped the desperate and paranoid mindset that dominated his life back then. I would never want B.G. to get back into hard times, but I will say the hit single making B.G. is slightly less appealing than the underground B.G. found on "Living Legend." I mention B.G.'s evolution as an artist because ultimately his rise back into the limelight has had an effect on his little homies. Hakim, Gar, and Sniper have evolved since "Living Legend" and now go by the name of the "Chopper City Boyz." The Chopper City Boyz have become a little bigger than little homies since then as their debut album sold exceptionally well for an independent release. For that reason, Hakim, Gar and Sniper are also a little more confident and a little less desperate than they were back in 2003.
"Block Music" is their latest retail mixtape and is a collaboration with Flame Entertainment. Flame Entertainment's role here is to provide distribution and production from in-house producer Carlos Stephens who made his name as C-Los during his No Limit days. Stephens provides a few beats, but surprisingly the bulk of the production is credited to the mysterious Chopper City Music. The mystery doesn't end there as there are four mysterious tracks on this mixtape that don't even feature B.G. or the Chopper City Boyz. Ghetto Commission of No Limit fame is signed to Flame Entertainment and featured on three tracks of their own while fellow Flame Entertainment rapper Skip gets a solo track. Skip is better known for his days with Juvenile's UTP and the hit song "Nolia Clap." It's odd that all of the tracks featuring Flame Entertainment rappers are produced by C-Los or Skip while all of the Chopper City Boyz's tracks are produced by Choppper City Music. The circumstances make you wonder whether this is unreleased Chopper City Boyz music being licensed to try and promote Flame Entertainment and their roster. Somewhat reputable labels have done much worse (Real Talk Entertainment comes to mind), but the oddities do detract from how excited one can be about this release.
Despite the suspicious circumstances surrounding this mixtape, I must say that for the most part the music provided by the Chopper City Boyz is in line with what we've come to expect from B.G. post "Living Legend." While B.G. can get away with lazy and generic lyricism due to his voice, Gar, Hakizzle, and Sniper don't have that luxury. For that reason the B.G. tracks are much more appealing than anything else on this CD. That isn't to say the other members haven't improved. Gar in particular provides two appealing songs. "On Deck" is hype street/club track where Gar rips the mic with a lot of energy. The song follows the New Orleans tradition of repeating the same phrase at the end of each line, but for some reason NO artists are good at that type of track. Gar's other dope track comes with "One Day At A Time" where he showcases his storytelling skills:
"Here's how the story goes, oldest daughter of four
Who never had a daddy, but whose momma played his role
Went to the best of schools and had the best of everything
But still was rebelling and wanting to do her own thing
Ran away at sixteen and never came back
But then she came back with her stomach all fat
And her momma smoking crack, she took advantage of her
Left the baby with her brothers, sisters, and her mother
And now its years later and her momma shook the rocks
Her son thirteen and she in a paradox
And now she snorting same, her and her new man
Looking like skin and bones, can't go around her fam
She in and out of jail, living out hotels
Lost everything in Katrina, she like "oh well"
It's a God given sign, it's an every day grind
Just put it all behind and take it one day at a time"
Sniper and Hakizzle get much less time to shine, but still do a decent job with the time they are given. Sniper's sole track is the uplifting and smooth "Holding On" which sounds like Nelly meets Cash Money in a good way. Hakizzle's only solo is "Rock Star" which is little more than a mixtape freestyle, but allows Hakizzle to show off his lyrical swagger. The man doesn't possess the flow or charisma of his brother, but tries to make up for it with more focused lyrics.
It's hard to judge this release. Everything about it points to it being sub-par. It is a mixtape featuring artists from Chopper City Records yet it is being released by Flame Entertainment. Despite this "collaboration," there are only two tracks that feature both Flame and Chopper City artists. Even though one can't help but feel that you aren't getting the best of either record label, there are still some tracks that are sure to appeal to fans of B.G. and the Chopper City Boyz. I also have to admit that I don't mind hearing Ghetto Commission and Skip still making music. Overall, I have to say that if you are a fan of any of the artists involved then this isn't a bad pick up. It certainly isn't the best of anyone involved and is more of a sampler of different rappers, but it has enough appealing music to be worth a listen.
Music Vibes: 5 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 5 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 5 of 10
Originally posted: June 17, 2008