March 23, 2008

Cormega - The True Meaning (June 11, 2002)


Corey "Cormega" Feldman has the act of revenge to thank for his career as a solo rap artist. Why, if it weren't for Mega being forced out of both his Def Jam contract and his rap supergroup The Firm (thanks to former frenemy Nasir Jones), we may have never heard the focused rants of an angry young man, upset that his friend abandoned him but pressing on anyway; instead, we may have only heard The Testament, his shelved Def Jam debut album, which probably would have cemented his place in hip hop as a Nas stan, a rapper who can obviously string words together that rhyme, but sounds extraordinarily ordinary while doing it.

If The Testament were actually released to the finicky public, he wouldn't have sold enough copies to please Def Jam presidents and accountants (from what I remember leaking from the album, there were no obvious radio singles, except maybe a collaboration with fellow Firm member Foxy Brown, which just sounded sad), which would have resulted in him getting dropped from the label anyway, except he would have been branded as a failure this go round, which would have made it harder for him to secure an indie label home, because even if he was lucky enough to sign to a label and record an album, the Def Jam debacle just proved that he has no fanbase, and Cormega would be forced to support himself financially by working with a catering service that specializes in high-society parties, forced to wear both tails and a monocle, as that was in the poorly-thought-out job description, until that one fateful night when the breathtakingly beautiful Cassandra Leone walks into his life, and onto his flan, and after a torrid lovemaking session involving a battery, some lard, and the entire population of Somalia, he finds himself roped into protecting the President's nineteen-year-old niece from a constant hail of gunfire, causing his past alcoholic behavior to bubble to the surface, to such a degree that he finds himself taking a swig from his flask while dealing with five reanimated corpses who are battling him for the Rutherford files in the very graveyard where his Aunt Esther pretended to be buried for tax purposes, and while beating one of the decomposing bodies to re-death with his/her own arm, has a flashback regarding the secret location of a childhood treasure chest that he and his best friend Parker buried in the backyard of Suzie Korman's house when they were twelve years old, a house which was chosen specifically because every night at nine-o'clock Suzie would undress for bed in front of the window without pulling the blinds, and when he is finally able to kick his alcoholism, marry, divorce, and re-marry Cassandra, and destroy the Baroni Foundation once and for all, he goes back to Suzie's house (and finds that she still changes in front of her window, but as forty years have passed, it is a lot less titillating now) and digs up the hidden treasure, only to find that the sinister CarboMan has gotten to it first, and has left a note and photos proving that he has kidnapped Cassandre and if he ever wants to see her alive, he will have to retrieve the microfiche that is hidden in the peak of the tallest pyramid in Egypt, which inexplicably requires him to travel into the past by walking backward directly into a tornado, and ultimately finding that the leader of the revolution for the creation of the edatate virus is none other than himself, thanks to a paradox that is explained with one line of dialogue.

No, instead Cormega was dropped before anyone really had the chance to hear his music, and the controversy surrounding his departure from Def Jam bade it an impossibility for him not to be set up with distribution deals almost immediately. His debut album, The Realness, put up Jordan numbers (meaning he only sold twenty-three copies), but every person that bought the album went on to create a music blog hailing Cormega as their new champion, so when The True Meaning, the follow-up, was released less than one year later, he was rewarded with critical acclaim, and even received an award from The Source, which is kinda like being told "You rock!" by a two-year-old that just learned the phrase and has been repeating it nonstop all day, but it's still nice to be acknowledged.

Things happen for a reason, kids.

1. INTROSPECTIVE
Get it? "Intro"-spective? Clever one, this Cormega. Thankfully it's an actual verse and not another self-important skit.

2. VERBAL GRAFFITI
The beats sound on par with The Realness. I'll leave it to you as to whether that's a good thing or not. Lyrically, I'm thinking that Cormega at least wrote these verses during the sessions for The Realness, since he sounds like he's on about the same level as he was before.

3. LIVE YA LIFE
What the fuck? Was Cormega going for radio airplay? We don't need no hooks! (I apologize if I offended my two readers by quoting Shaq, but I'm trying to make a point.)

4. AIN'T GONE CHANGE (ACAPELLA)
I'm still not a fan of acapella rap album interludes. I'm probably not gone change, either.

5. THE TRUE MEANING
Ostensibly the source material for the title of this very album. While lyrically pleasant, the beat, provided by frequent Smoothe Da Hustler collaborator DR Period, and the sampled hook both sound like ass.

6. A THIN LINE
If this had appeared on The Realness, I'm sure that everyone would have thought he was talking about Nas. I'm pretty sure Nas wasn't a snitch (as far as I know: I'm not writing his biography or anything), so banish those thoughts from your mind and just listen to the song itself. This aggressive Cormega sounds much better (to me) than the reflective one. Am I the only one that feels this way?

7. THE LEGACY
Who knew that some guy that was shouted out on Nas's "One Love" would end up actually being a pretty good rapper? He's not at Nas levels just yet, and I doubt he will get there anytime soon, but he clearly has something to say, and an effective way of saying it.

8. LOVE IN, LOVE OUT
Okay, now this song is obviously about Nas. Hell, I wouldn't be surprised to find out later that, by playing the song backward, there were hidden messages disclosing Nas's global coordinates, social security number, and MySpace password. It's interesting to hear Cormega's side of the story. Although the hook is too wordy and awkward, the beat and lyrics pretty much rock. Thanks, producer-whose-day-job-is-being-a-mixtape-DJ J-Love!

9. THE COME UP (FEAT LARGE PROFESSOR)
Large Professor, who also supplied the beat, is the only guest rapper to appear on The True Meaning. Although he's not the best rapper either, I prefer LP to Mega on this track, if only because, up until this point, I hadn't heard Large Professor rhyme in quite a while, so it gives me a nostalgic feeling. Also, major shout-out to Extra P, who is the only person on Earth to have input on both The True Meaning and Stillmatic. Well played, sir.

10. BUILT FOR THIS
Not really feeling the beat for this one.

11. SOUL FOOD
Now this beat I like. J. Waxx Garfield, who has done beats for the majority of Bad Boy's roster (at the time, not today; I highly doubt he's building instrumentals for Danity Kane to destroy) and Gza/Genius's "Knock Knock", from his Legend Of The Liquid Sword album which I've been meaning to write about for the past month or so, supplies the backdrop for a monologue concerning Mega and a lady friend who is in an abusive relationship with another man. As to why it's called "Soul Food", I must have missed it when I listened to the track the past two times, but that's okay.

12. TAKE THESE JEWELS
A lot of these songs are less than three minutes long, which is perfect for someone with a short attention span. This isn't bad.

13. ENDANGERED SPECIES
I love this beat, and Mega is a fucking monster here. Proof positive that the aggressive Mega is the better rhyme-spitter than his better, somber half.

14. THERAPY
A really boring way to end an album.

FINAL THOUGHTS: The sophomore album is usually the moment of truth for musicians, especially rappers, whose fanbase is by its very nature wishy-washy. By sounding like a natural continuation of The Realness, The True Meaning proves that Mega can roll with the big boys in hip hop. He even tries to broaden his appeal just a tiny bit, with mixed results. The True Meaning went on to sell only a handful of copies, but Cormega is playing to his audience, so I'm sure he's satisfied.

BUY OR BURN? Since this disc is essentially The Realness Part 2, I would recommend a burn, especially since you can't actually buy it anywhere (except maybe used). Cormega himself actually re-released his first two albums in 2004 and titled it Special Edition, and included several bonus tracks that were floating around on the Interweb, and since it is essentially two albums for the price of one, you should buy that instead. I hear that folks that actually bought Special Edition were provided with instructions on how to download an exclusive bonus track that featured Mega and 2Pac rhyming together, but since that collaboration never leaked, I don't know how true that is.

BEST TRACKS: "The Come Up"; "Love In, Love Out"; "Soul Food"; "Endangered Species"

-Max

RELATED POSTS:
Cormega - The Realness

23 comments:

  1. GOOD REVIEW MAX

    HOPEFULLY WE SEE A REVIEW OF "LEGAL HUSTLE"; WHICH IS A STRONG CD; PEACE

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  2. the most felonious vocalist in the wide world of showbusinessMarch 23, 2008

    Thank you for reviewing this album. I will soon compose an overly long soliloquy proclaiming Cormega to be your favorite rapper's favorite drug dealer's favorite rapper.

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  3. The Realness and The True Meaning are both straight fire.

    Legal Hustle is straight trash and should never be spoken of.

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  4. And the song itself "The True Meaning" is tremendous.

    Check the video out here.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DEC7FCyMIMo

    Max you've been a little off past couple of reviews, feelin' ok?

    (possibly just being over-protective of Queens artists)

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  5. Mega ia a beast, far from a Nas Stan. Both The Tru Meaning & The Realness are the definition of true underground rap. "Built For This" was the 1st (and only, I think) single & even had a video clip. I have an affinity for that track because that's what got me back into Mega (No Homo). Various rappers have jacked Mega for beats but none have matched Him as a lyricist. Find the torrent & DL His whole catalog.

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  6. SuckMyNuttzMarch 25, 2008

    Fuck you Max! I've tried to put up with your bullshit reviews, but I'm done! You're fucking worse than the Source when Benzino and David Mayes were running that bitch! Max you cunt! Your reviews are bullshit like the source giving Lil' Kim Naked Truth album 5 mics and only giving Smif N Wessun's Dah Shinin' 3 mics. Fuck you, you non reviewing ass cunt ass homo ass eating salad tossing BITCH!!!!!

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  7. I'm not sure what the last comment has to do with a Cormega review where I essentially say that 'The True Meaning' isn't worth a purchase by itself, but 'Special Edition' should be picked up. It's not like I trashed the album like I did Mobb Deep's 'Infamy' or any Curtis Jackson CD. Thanks for reading and commenting, since it obviously took some time to write up that highly colorful diatribe.

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  8. your second paragraph is smash mang, can a nigg option the screen rights to that? DYT

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  9. the most felonious vocalist in the wide world of showbusinessMarch 31, 2008

    “You know how we did on The Infamous album, right? Aight, we gonna do it again, son.” Cormega has digested this jewel from Havoc and proceeds to bless the listener with the captivating rawness he unleashed on The Realness. The main departure from his debut is that this album only has one track directed at Nas. This album represents Mega’s efforts to further establish his own identity rather than going the Kanye route and deciding that everything I’m not made me everything I am. On the first disc his main concerns were to separate himself from Nas and to champion his familiarity with yayo (no Tony). He was wildly successful with the latter but came up short with the former goal. Some people felt that he came off sounding like a woman scorned or had a Nas obsession second only to Shawn Carter. This agenda is gone on The True Meaning but the realness remains.
    INTROSPECTIVE
    A song that serves the purpose of an intro without resorting to simulated sex or poorly voiced stereotypical characters. Cormega reminds us that his appeal does not rest on his standing in the industry but rather his status as a soldier in Queensbridge projects. This is to assure the listener that he will not be affected by the staggering success of his debut album. “Picture me rollin/ but don’t look at me differently on the strength that I’m holdin/ this is Mega you never heard my chain got stolen/ I pitch like Randy Johnson/ dudes needed work I assist like Magic Johnson/ before rap my name was ringing in the projects.” The beat is kind of generic and despite mentioning that his brown eyes mirror pure ferocity, Mega lacks the ferocity he brought to the opening track of The Realness.
    VERBAL GRAFFITI
    This is ferocious. The beat is ominous, foreboding, and any other word used to make symbolic weather observations. We’re talking cloudy with a 90% chance of thunderstorms here. Tornado warnings are in effect and grapefruit sized hailstones are descending from the heavens. Mega uses the uptempo flow he showcased on the Mobb Deep collaborations Killaz Theme and What’s Ya Poison. He also spits what can be considered his career mission statement: “Either I be the most underrated lyrical drug related n**** who gun be blazin in the projects or prosperous drug blocks is subject to conquest.” As for the comment by Max that these verses were probably written during the sessions for The Realness, many of Cormega’s rhymes were written a while before either of his first two albums came out. For those of us who cyberstalked him for the five years between Affirmative Action and the release of The Realness, the fact that he can recycle years old material is a testament (get it?) to the timeless nature of the lyrical stylings of the babyfaced crime emperor. Verbal Graffiti? One of the very best songs Mega has ever made, everyone should check it out.
    LIVE YA LIFE
    This is definitely my least favorite song on this album. It’s basically Mega following the formula he used for The Saga from The Realness but this time with a chick singing on the hook. A chick singing on the hook! On a Cormega album. This is the only song that I skip when I listen to The Realness and The True Meaning. The lyrics to the song are the kind that give mainstream music critics boners because they’re shocked to find out that Black people have feelings and don’t REALLY like living in the hood.
    AIN”T GONE CHANGE
    The acapella track, which Cormega apparently considers a necessary ingredient on any solo album. He drops a jewel on here with “Does freedom have a meaning if you’re trapped in your ways”, but the acapella track on The Realness shits all over this and any other acapella track I’ve ever heard. Then again, that track was 5 years in the making so it’s kind of hard to fuck with that.
    THE TRUE MEANING
    This is the shit right here. I don’t even care about the chick on the hook because she’s basically screaming more than singing and it kind of sounds like a sample. The rhymes are outstanding except for when he advises the listener to be cautionous. That is not a word and it certainly doesn’t qualify as cool slang. Overall, you can hear the desperation invested into Cormega’s words here as he recounts his days as a slinger of drugs.
    A THIN LINE
    Corey McKay does not tolerate snitches which should be well established by now. This track is aimed at anyone who has ever cooperated with the police. It is also my first and only exposure to a rapper using the term “give me five.” Astonishingly, he pulls it off. ”There’s no need to explain, you not my man/ Every time you give me five I wash my hand/ What n**** M-E-G-A, bitch/ tell the D.A. bricks/ I move in three days not including the grind/ What polluted your mind/ was it alluded time/ My words are exalted yours ruin lives/ You’re a disgrace to your race, I’m true to my mines/ all my n****s doin time/ no, before I side with the law/ I’d rather ride with the four/ to deprive you of your coward existence/ You’d probably send your momma to prison to beat a sentence.”
    THE LEGACY
    Pretty much Glory Days (The Realness) part two. Mega Montana gives some shine to a long list of drug dealers including Puerto Rican Juan. Not to be confused with Irish Juan. That dude’s a bitch. Good beat but since I was pretty much convinced that my name was not going to be mentioned this isn’t a great song.
    LOVE IN, LOVE OUT
    The realest song the realest rapper has ever made. Really. Instead of asserting his superiority of Nas on the basis of how many drugs he’s sold (50 metric tons a month) or how many gats he’s busted (thousands), Cormega makes a claim to being a better person.
    “I was never jealous of you, in fact I was proud of you/ I smiled when I heard you on Live From The Barbeque/ I respect you as an artist though I’m no longer fond of you/ I gave you love from the heart unlike the people surrounding you.” That shit is powerful.
    THE COME UP feat. Large Professor
    Ultra relaxed beat and a good verse from Mega. Large Professor sounds okay, but it’s the 21st Century and one syllable rhymes are out. I don’t care when you started this shit, step your rap game up.
    BUILT FOR THIS
    Mega just talks a lot of shit here. This is your basic “I’m iller than you song.” I definitely enjoy this song but it doesn’t really deserve the video treatment that it received. There are much better candidates on this album. Namely, Verbal Graffiti.
    SOUL FOOD
    Great beat, great lyrics. Mega had a similar song on Hi-Teknology where he talked about a woman. The Queensbridge Kingpin has a deft touch when it comes to explaining his relations with the females. Go figure.
    TAKE THESE JEWELS
    This song features 50 percent recycled lyrics. If you’ve ever heard Screwball’s debut (?) album or Mega’s own Hustler/Rapper than you are familiar with this song. This is basically Keeping It Real For Dummies, the audiobook.
    ENDANGERED SPECIES
    The babyfaced crime emperor shreds this shit to pieces. The marriage of violent imagery and a savage beat makes for a killer track. This is on the Introduction To Cormega compilations that I give out every Christmas.
    THERAPY
    Some would consider this a boring way to end an album. I consider it Cormega flexing his muscles as an emcee. This seems like Corey’s attempt to make you see past the endless trail of bodies and shorted out digi’s and recognize him for the quality rapper that he is. Still, he can’t help but mention “rookies on the force having wet dreams of knocking me.” I’m extremely grateful that he did mention that.

    All in all, this album is a strong example of why Cormega inspires the kind of fierce loyalty that causes people to make homophobic taunts towards anyone with a critical word to say about him. I obviously agree with Max that Special Edition is the way to go; it’s simple mathematics. However, this would definitely be well worth your money if Corey had never decided to take over the industry by ruthlessly cutting prices. I say that fully aware that there are no used Cormega cd's available for purchase. The only documented example of a non-retailer actually selling a Cormega album was back in ’03 when a crackhead was really short on money and his dealer would settle for nothing less. This situation served as a serious wake up call to the crackhead who immediately cleaned up his life and is now the C.E.O. of a Fortune 500 company and a prominent poster on legalhustle.net.


    Oh yeah...Max is a cunt who eats homo shit.

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  10. Well, at least you tied it all together with that final sentence.

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  11. the most felonious vocalist in the wide world of showbusinessMay 02, 2008

    I was listening to Big Noyd's Episodes Of A Hustla the other day and I noticed that J-Love stole the entire beat from the Stretch Armstrong Remix of Usual Suspect for Love In, Love Out on Cormega's The True Meaning. So ends the most QB-centric comment in this blog's storied history. If you ain't feeling that then you haven't sold enough drugs.

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  12. the most felonious vocalist in the wide world of showbusinessMay 27, 2008

    As for the Cormega and Tupac song, there was a song on a J-Love (who else?) mixtape with those two from which I have never heard the lyrics anywhere else. It's called Ride and it's vintage Mega. I'm not sure if that's the song from the Special Edition promotion. In a major upset, I didn't buy Special Edition because I already owned The Realness and The True Meaning and had the bonus tracks as well. I actually had never heard of the Tupac song promotion until I read it in your review. Another major upset.

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  13. The FunkologistMay 28, 2008

    First of all: props on your site. This was also a decent review but I gotta add that both Mega solo albums sold like 150.000 copies - which is actually pretty nice for an independent release. One

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  14. Yo your out of your element with a shitty review like this. Who the fuck are you? You basically saying this album is trash when it provides a lot of knowledge. I think your reviews suck and you just an old ass hip hop groupie that never made it. Fuck you and your wack reviews...

    this might not be a 5 mic album but its def nice, and def worth coppin shit head, burn....burn ya life

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  15. just to clarify, cormega was out before nas, so really isn't only known for being mentioned in "one love". he was murdering mics back in 91 on "set it off" with poet and hot day (PHD). copied from another site, cos i couldn't be arsed writing them...
    [Cormega:]
    Mega is scientist, metaphor analyst
    Predator, I set it off like a terrorist
    I accelerate like a four wheeler
    And Hot Day supplies the bass like a drug dealer
    I'm a architect and I spark the set
    Like the Jamaican Posse flipping and marked for death
    You're not ready for prime time, whenever I rhyme
    I'm superior deteriorating your brain area
    Busting your interior and exterior
    Ripping the area like a pit terrier
    I'm insane, Mega inflicts pain
    I set it off like soldier in Fort Maine
    Mutilate, assassinate and flip
    My technology is like a microchip
    Mega mic prototype
    I kill static like Illmatic Ice
    My device has long clip of infrared light
    My brain's evil like the antichrist when I'm hyped
    I leave the xxxxxxx mics smoking like bass pipes
    Your crew gets bumrushed
    My sound waves kick down the door like TNT in a drugbust
    Cormega can never be imitated
    Motivators fear the poetry I generated
    When women get intimitated, I hit it
    I get mega pussy, like in abortion clinic
    It's mandatory, I'm self-explanatory
    Don't front on me shorty, your man is working for me
    When in effect I pull Tec and get wreck
    Then step 'cause I'm Goodfella exec
    Generator when strap rap activator
    Terminator similar to Schwarzenegger
    I deceive and disarm MC's
    Living in suspended animation, your brain cells freeze
    My mind designed like 'Nam
    And I'm a let all proegees step off when I set it off

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  16. Best Review ever!

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  17. Love that mega intro-paragraph, haha.

    Just received this in the mail today; The Realness is on its way. I know I could have saved by just getting Special Edition, but I have an obsession with having original releases. Plus double-disc albums turn me off.

    Felonius should make a 'Mega-related blog. It'd be interesting to say the least. I'd enjoy reading it though.

    Really good album.

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  18. Special edition was well worth it

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  19. I think cormega's newest album is definitely worth a review! It's a great album with pretty good production from established producers, and of course, the vintage New York sound(or should i say, QB?) that Cormega brings to the table!

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  20. That first paragraph ranks up there among the best things I've ever read on the internet. Kudos.

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  21. Wow some of these comments are truly detestable. Anyway, half of this album is incredible, but the other half is very mediocre. The Realness is much more consistent, but again, the one half of this album is GREAT. Buy it.

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  22. You know this review is old when there is a Myspace reference.

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  23. i bought "The Realness" back when it was released - in a megastore in Germany.. how can there be only 23 copies sold when i was able to buy this at such a mainstream place over here? A year later, i bought "The True Meaning" at the same store, still went ahead and bought "Special Edition" at a different place somewhat later, as well as Legal Hustle [i do think it's dope, yet different... while others here say its whack]. Also, yes, im completely aware that im like 8 years late to the party. 1

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