Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Kool G Rap & DJ Polo - Live and Let Die 2xLP


Traffic (2012, Reissue)

Every Wednesday, in honor of Ed Lover Dance Day from Yo! MTV Raps, I take a break from rock and roll to write a little bit about hip hop. In the late 80s and early 90s hip hop ruled my musical life. During this often called 'Golden Era' I discovered so much incredible music. As I am slowly replacing the CDs I've had for thirty plus years with vinyl copies, I'm going to talk about some albums that had a really important impact on me during some very formative years.

Live and Let Die was the third and final Kool G Rap & DJ Polo release.  It originally came out in 1992, but I never had it back then.  Like with all of Kool G's records, they just didn't enter my world for whatever reason.  I feel like I have some memory of "Ill Street Blues," but only the name of the song, I don't remember hearing it back then on Yo! MTV Raps or anything.

Of the three albums the group released, this one is probably my least favorite, even though if you just look at if from it's technical execution, it's the strongest and most fully realized of the group.  I think I just like the roughness of Road to the Riches the best and tend to go back to that one the most often, but you can't argue how well done Live and Let Die is.

The bulk of the production on the album was handled by Ice Cube cohort Sir Jinx.  As such, it has a similar vibe to Death Certificate and The Predator, which were recorded around the same time.  There's an early, pre-Chronic west coast feel, with super low end bass lines and a laid back tempo.  That gives Kool G Rap the breathing room to really go all out with his lyrics, which lean much harder into the mafiosa gangter style that was starting to show itself more fully on Wanted: Dead or Alive.

Throughout the album, Kool G shows why he was one of the best during the earlier portion of the golden era.  He's not Rakim or KRS-One, but he's definitely at the level right below that as far as lyrics of that early time period go.  Again, no denying that this a great albu, but for whatever reason, I tend to gravitate towards their first album if I feel like spinning some Kool G Rap & DJ Polo.

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