Cormega The Testament

Cormega The Testament
Better late than never, Cormega’s shelved and much bootlegged debut The Testament is finally seeing the light of day when it should have dropped back in 1997. Listening to this album it’s immediately clear why the execs at Def Jam didn’t want to put out this album from the former Nas associate. At a time when Def Jam was prepping the world for DMX, Cormega wasn’t interested in delivering hits. Instead his lyrical eloquence, gut-wrenchingly tangible honesty and Queensbridge grit devoid of any calculated commercial appeal comes to the fore. On this raw debut, Cormega unapologetically portrays himself as a product of his environment on the Hill Street Blues jack "62 Pickup” and the malevolent revenge tale "Dead Man Walking.” Foregoing glorifying his life as a hustler, Mega delivers vivid reportage over dramatically elegiac and foreboding soundscapes, with noticeably less insight and introspection than he delivered on his subsequent albums The Realness and The True Meaning. "One Love,” the answer track to Nas’ classic Illmatic song of the same name also dates the proceedings given their rather public beef that followed, but the album has surprisingly stood the test of time well. Had it been granted a timely release, The Testament may well have ranked favourably with other ’90s East Coast opuses. It certainly deserves, however belatedly, to be added to that canon. (Fusion III)