January 11, 2008

Tha Alkaholiks - Likwidation (August 26, 1997)




Likwidation, the third album by the West Coast party animals Tha Alkaholiks, was released in 1997 by the almighty Loud Records. It was met with mixed reviews, which I suppose makes sense; there are a lot of skits, which can polarize any audience, and the themes are consistent with those of the past two discs, which can get tired with prolonged exposure.

I'm unable to find anything resembling a sales figure for Likwidation (since I'm just not trying hard enough), so it seems that their effort to stretch their boundaries over to the East Coast went unheralded. Nasir Jones, Keith Murray, and LL Cool Todd all appear out of the woodwork, although Keith is the only one deemed worthy enough to rhyme on the album. (More so than Nas?) The beats, of which the majority are provided by group member E-Swift, combine their West Coast laid-back party vibes with East Coast sensibilities; it may just be my imagination, but the drums on Likwidation seem to hit harder than on any of their previous efforts thus far.

But does that make that much of a difference?

1. AA MEETING (INTRO)
Alcoholics Anonymous? I can't believe they didn't visit this theme before. It would seem almost as if it were tailor made for Tha Liks, as it were. Too bad it sucks.

2. LIKWIDATION
Technically sound, but in a pedestrian sort of way. Even Tash, consistently one of my favorite underrated rappers, pretty much phones it in over this Easy Mo Bee instrumental. I have to say, I'm shocked. It also goes on for about one minute too long, but that's just me being an ass.

3. CAPTAIN HOOK
I remember there being a mild controversy surrounding this song upon the album's release because Tash essentially disses the shit out of Theo, a West Coast deejay at a station I'm not familiar with (he also popped up for a year or two as a veejay on MTV), but looking past that, the song is pretty good. I like how J-Ro takes the theme to a completely different level on his cross-country trek of a final verse.

4. NAS SKIT (FEAT NAS)
Kind of self-explanatory.

5. TORE DOWN (FEAT LOOTPACK)
Tash sounds more excited in the outro portion of the song than all of the rappers do at any point while actually rapping over this empty void of a Madlib beat (again, I'm shocked).

6. OFF THE WALL (FEAT KEITH MURRAY)
Must artists always resort to the cliche of "get your back up off the wall"? Just once, I'd love to hear someone switch it up a little, like "Get the wall up off your back!" or "Get that stuffed panda off the wall!" (you know, because it's tacky). A pre-imprisonment Keith Murray sounds decent on a not-completely-terrible beat.

7. KILLIN' IT (FEAT XZIBIT)
A very sweet tribute to King Tee midway through Tash's first verse is all I need to write about here, fuck Xzibit's guest spot!

8. LL COOL J SKIT (FEAT LL COOL J)
See "Nas Skit".

9. FEEL THE REAL
A song about the ladies, if not made specifically for the ladies. The beat is undeserving of the artists's storytelling efforts.

10. HIP HOP DRUNKIES (FEAT OL' DIRTY BASTARD)
Supposedly this is the group's biggest single ever in history. If that's even remotely true, than I call bullshit, because "The Next Level" is a much better song, and I recall hearing that song more often on the radio than this one. But on the other hand, how could you ever deny the infectious energy of Ol' Dirty McGirty? This song rocks.

11. AWW SHIT! (FEAT XZIBIT)

Not bad, but the beat reminds me of Faith Evans's "You Gets No Love", distracted me from the listening experience for a bit.

12. J-RO LATE SKIT
...

13. KEEP IT POURIN'
Incredibly meh.

14. LIKWIT RIDAS (FEAT WHORIDAS)
I know only two things about the Whoridas: jack and shit. And I'm all out of bubble gum.

15. FUNNY STYLE (FEAT KING TEE)
"My crew is blowing up like a Pinto"? Okay, I have to admit, that's pretty funny. King Tee's verse, sadly, is not.

16. COMMERCIAL SKIT
...

17. ALL NIGHT
The second single, which I still like today, even though it sounds a thousand times weaker today than it ever has for me. I also seem to recall a Western-themed video, for some reason.

18. DEBARGE SKIT (FEAT DEBARGE)
See "Nas Skit". Or don't, I don't give a damn.

19. PASS OUT
I love the beat; it's simple, but effective, and it sounds different from every other beat on Likwidation.

20. 20TH CALLER SKIT
...

21. ROCKIN' WITH THE BEST (FEAT PHIL DA AGONY)
Not bad, but not great.

22. CONTENTS UNDA PRESSURE

A really good way to end your third album, especially when the fourth one isn't quite guaranteed for you yet.

FINAL THOUGHTS: While there were no obvious radio singles, Likwidation comes off as Tha Liks's attempt for mainstream success, with a song selection that sounds like they were forcing themselves to have fun the majority of the time. The vibe isn't right, at least when compared to the first two albums. It makes sense that, after the release of this disc, Tash briefly ventured on a solo career before linking back up with the other two Liks. Likwidation reminds me of the old guy at the party that knows he's a little too old to be there, and everyone else knows he's too old to be there, but they allow him to act like a jackass all night because, in the past, some of his antics have been hilariously memorable. I'm not saying that Tha Liks have overstayed their welcome, but maybe it's time to go to different parties.

BUY OR BURN? Sadly, I would have to recommend a burn. The album is too long, and it seems that Tha Liks just mastered the first fifteen songs they recorded, without any air of quality control. The great songs are great, though, and are deserving of your attention.

BEST TRACKS: "Hip Hop Drunkies"; "Killin' It"; "Captain Hook"

-Max

RELATED POSTS:
Tha Alkaholiks - Coast II Coast
Tha Alkaholiks - 21 & Over
Xzibit - At The Speed Of Life

6 comments:

  1. I hated hating this record. Maybe not "hate" I was completely unimpressed with how completely unimpreassive this reord was.
    "I know only two things about the Whoridas: jack and shit. And I'm all out of bubble gum."
    Dats Gangsta!

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  2. this was a blind purchase after i saw you liking the other two Liks releases...not so much.

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  3. I remember you writing about the blind purchase; I think that's why I put it in the pile to begin with.

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  4. the most felonious vocalist in the wide world of showbusinessJanuary 13, 2008

    M for the man
    E executioner
    G get money
    A all my n****s movin up

    Please?

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  5. I think that the AA intro appears in certain versions of the video for Hip Hop Drunkies, actually. Check for it, it's pretty great to see it set to video.

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  6. I don't know about you but I love this album...

    ReplyDelete