April 16, 2007

Tha Alkaholiks - 21 & Over (August 24, 1993)


Some may feel that it is socially irresponsible to write a post concerning a rap group calling themselves 'Tha Alkaholiks'. To those few, I say, "eh".

Tha Alkaholiks (a/k/a Tha Liks, updated during an unsuccessful bid at mainstream radio play) are a West Coast-based trio made up of rappers J-Ro and Tash, and DJ/producer/sometime rapper E-Swift. The main focus of their songs together was drinking (really?), girls, and partying. This group perspective came about after their first recorded track together, about living in the aftereffects of the Cold War, fell on deaf, drunken, girl-chasing, partying ears. According to Travis over at Wake Your Daughter Up, they were first known as Everyday Street Poets, which sounds just as uninspired as their music is entertaining.

21 & Over is their debut, supervised by their mentor and sometime collaborator King Tee, who renamed the group (and featured them on his own Tha Triflin' Album), and is responsible for creating the Likwit Crew, a collective of artists that included MTV's own Xzibit among their ranks. They never attained any real commercial success, but their musical output hasn't gone unnoticed. They helped define the West Coast sound, where even the violent misogynistic songs felt comfortable (which is in direct contrast to the East Coast's no-frills, smiles-be-damned philosophy). Also, Tash is severely underrated as a rapper, and ranks among my favorites. 21 & Over may have been built on the drinking gimmick, but these three artists seem to have fun with their music, and their excitement is contagious.

1. LIKWIT (FEAT KING TEE)
The beat is catchy as hell, and, even though this album is fourteen years old, it makes you miss King Tee. What the fuck has he been up to ever since the good Doctor fucked up his Aftermath debut?

2. ONLY WHEN I'M DRUNK
I hadn't heard this CD in a while, so I was shocked to find E-Swift actually rapping, although it's not like he's bad or anything. Utilizes the same sample as Jay-Z's "Ain't No N---a" and countless other rap songs.

3. LAST CALL
Whatever happened to artists having fun with their music? Not everything has to be so goddamn serious.

4. CAN'T TELL ME SHIT
The only track that doesn't feature Tash, which is a fucking shame. It's still good, though.

5. TURN THE PARTY OUT (FEAT LOOTPACK)
Features some jazzy drums and some awkwardly-paced lyrics from the guests.

6. BULLSHIT (FEAT KING TEE)
As entertaining as a song based on a Penn & Teller show can be. (Which is, very.)

7. SODA POP (FEAT FIELD TRIP)
I forgot to mention that this album is Illmatic short, except without annoying ass skits. This is the weakest song here, probably due to the guests, who I've never heard of.

8. MAKE ROOM
The first single, and oddly, it just has the sound of a first single. I realize that review makes no sense, but you'll get it if you hear the song.

9. MARY JANE
The album can't be all about drinking; this is the West Coast, after all.

10. WHO DEM N----S (FEAT THREAT)
Probably the most gangsta track on here, which isn't saying a hell of a lot.

FINAL THOUGHTS: 21 & Over is an excellent debut album by a promising group, and it still holds up today. Even though the subject matter rarely evolves beyond getting drunk or getting with chicks, you never really get a chance to get bored by it, as it's only ten tracks long. It's the perfect length for a hip hop fan who can't understand why all albums released today have to be twenty tracks too long.

BUY OR BURN? Oh, by all means, pick this one up. If you're looking for entertaining music that doesn't make you think, you'll love this shit. If you like listening to headache-inducing shit that forces you to confront your nightmares and takes multiple listens to discern what is being discussed...um, I'm sure you can pick up that Puff Daddy album at the used CD shop.

BEST TRACKS: "Likwit"; "Bullshit"; "Only When I'm Drunk"

-Max

2 comments:

  1. God, this album is 14 years old...man.

    I love this album, a top 10 for me. It's one of those albums I remember the day I bought it, going to the store and picking it up, playing it in my Jimmy with my two 12's, playing it some more in my 'boombox in my room, and playing it in my headphones before going to bed. Ahhhh, shit will never be the same

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  2. Great stab at Puff Daddy!

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