Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Too Legit to Quit
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Pop, Rap & Hip-Hop, R&B
Listen to Samples
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Once again, I can't knock a man for doing his best
Funky Young Genius | Oakland, CA United States | 07/17/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Quite simply put, this is M.C Hammers best album, with a close second being his first album Too Legit to Quit. His second album, the one which blew up so big, "Please Hammer Don't Hurt Em", is actually the album I personally now find TOTALLY unlistenable and corny...this album is where M.C Hammer made another stab at really being a serious artist...while "Let's Get It Started" is really legitamate party rap ( no less so than Moe Dee, much of Kane's music at the time, LL, Run, Kid n Play ), this is the album Hammer made after concieving himself as a "major" artist. In that way it reminds me of what Diddy did last year with "Press Play"...it also reminds me of other hip hop albums like "Apocalypse 91", "Predator", "Wu Tang Forever" in which an artist makes a strong work that's pretty much disregarded by the hip hop community because of the perception of their past work and the attitude that they've "crossed over."
The cold and sad fact about the crabs in a basket mentality pervading hip hop journalism and critique is that any arist who's brilliant and at some time "disses" another artist for becoming commercial, must at some date in his career face that same fate. Ice Cube, who dissed Hammer in "Be True to the Game", was seen as going commercial when he did "We Be Clubbin"...the Wu Tang Clan who dissed several M.C's in an interlude on their Triumph album, find themselves with a dwindling black audience. No matter how gangsta or thug you may be, you're not exempt from the rule of "what goes up must come down", and M.C's become victims of the very same yard sticks of authenticity they promote in their youth...hip hop still hasn't learned to grow up...this is GROWN FOLKS BIZ YA"LL.
At the end of 1991 though, your boy wasn't thinking about that...all I was thinking was that 2 Legit 2 Quit was an album on the scale of which I had never heard from a rapper before.
Hammer leans heavily on live instrumentation on this album. I believe this is the last album in his partnership with Felton Pilate, who was a lead singer and multi instrumentalist with Con Funk Shun. Around this time Hammer actually began to use a multi peice live band in live shows and TV appearances. Actually Hammer innovated a thing that has become more popular in hip hop as of late, and that mainly comes from the Bay Area, which is creating origional tracks for your raps, which is how Steve Stoute and Pharrell operate. Also he was the first rapper I was personally exposed to with a band ( too young for Stetsasnic). The sound on many songs on the album is definetley late 80s/ early 90s R&B/Hip Hop...many drum beats swing like Teddy Riley's New Jack Swing sound, it's full of the Digital Roland and Yamaha Keyboards of the era. The traditional Hammer percussion is also in full effect. Overall it's more varied in tempo and mood than his other albums, less frantic, and the arrangements develop more.
The album is also embelleshed heavily with back ground vocals from the huge stable of singers Hammer had. From a more mature and holistic understanding of black music, you can hear Hammer trying to present a total musical picture, like Earth, Wind & Fire (whose horn section appears on the album), P-Funk, or a Quincy Jones album. Singing, rapping, ballads, social songs (which are in abundance), love...understanding that concept alone puts Hammer ahead of most artist of the last 20 years for me.
The album opener, "This is the Way We Roll" is a very funky cut with alot of nice guitar work from Felton Pilate, very innovative to hear rap at that time with funky guitar. "Brothers Hang On" interpolates the Temptations "Masterpiece" to great effect.
Lyrically Hammer actually improved here. Any one who tells you differently is obiviously a hater or never listened to the man closely. He totally abandons his shouting Run inspired rap style here, and it allows him to say more. His raps take 8 bars and up to deliver here, whereas his rhyme structures tended to be very short. The main theme of the song is community. The majority of the album consists of message songs, even "2 Legit 2 Quit" was a message song in the best black tradition of double entendre. He covers more lyrical ground than he had previously, rapping about being forced to hustle ("Living in a world like this), peace( "Why Can't we live together), enjoying working a job ("Good to Go"), God ("Do Not Pass Me By"), and he has a long spoken word piece called "Street Soldiers" which actually inspired and was the theme song for a very socially relevant talk radio program here in the Bay Area.
Hammers lyrical attitude in discussing social issues is very earnest and comes out of the civil rights movement. It lacks the ambivalence and agression of American culture since then. You know, unlike most rappers, Hammer will come out and say drug dealing is wrong. He also uses a moralistic tactic that M.C's like Ice T used to use, in that whenever he plays a crimminal character in his songs, that character always dies or meets defeat. May seem heavy handed, but it's sorely missed today, who in black music will stand up for the people!!
Overall it's Hammers best lyrical performance and the music is very good and origional with traces of Funk, Hip Hop, House, New Jack Swing and then contemporary R&B ( the Babyface school). The sounds used during that area and the drum programming grate on me a little, especially the keyboard sounds from that era, but the mix of live instruments, keyboards, samples and scratches was an innovative one for that time and should be studied now!
This album probably confused his mainstream fans and further aggravated his purist hip hop detractors. A story that many of his detractors would repeat themselves!!!!! But, that's what you get for standing up for what you believe in...and Hammer does that well here"