8Ball Memphis All Stars

8Ball Memphis All Stars
8Ball and his crew of featured artists that roll over 20 deep (aka the Memphis All-Stars) set out to give the uninitiated, and even the initiated, their view from the wrong side of the tracks of the mid-South. The intro, spoken over a blues guitar riff, explains that: "As rough as people think Memphis is, a lot of us couldn't imagine living nowhere else." The wide array of tracks feature topics ranging from the sordid on "Good" and "Dollaz," the illicit ("Stickin2MyFingaz" and "Smoke Somethin") to the introspective ("My Whole Life," "100 %" and "Don't Worry"). It is these latter tracks that are the bread and butter of the album. "Love Spoken," which features El Hakim the Poet, a spoken word artist and 8Ball, may be the best example, with its captivating social commentary, cementing 8Ball as the strongest MC of all the all-stars, including Three-6-Mafia and long-time Cohort MJG. Even though much of the subject matter of this album has come to be what mainstream hip-hop is known for - for all the wrong reasons - this album should not and cannot be discounted. The intention as stated from the outset is to give the listener a clear view of life from the "gutter," raw and uncut. 8Ball has been in the game since 1984 and it shows, for all the right reasons. (Eight Ways)