Released in 1992 under the Cold Chillin' record label. Kool G. Rap & DJ Polo released their third studio LP Live and Let Die, which successfully followed up their first two albums Road to the Riches and Wanted: Dead or Alive. However, by some hip hop fans, the controversy surrounding their record label, along with their album release was mainly the focus. The record label was taking heat rounds due to G. Rap's label mate Biz Markie sampling a song for his track without legal permission. Long story short, it caused quite a bit of ruckus. The second issue which happened to be the biggest, was the cover art of the album.
The album featured both artist dressed up in dark garments. The two artist are seen holding pieces of raw meat for two rottweilers being chained to two chairs. On top of the chairs are two white undercover cops in nooses. The set up was for the dogs to lunge for the meat, thus, yanking the chairs and causing both cops to be killed instantly, which I still think is funny as all hell up to this very day. But personally, I feel the cops should have been racially diverse because they have all been hell to deal with to my experience.
The problem seemed to be this. Most importantly due to the violence against cops in New York City, in which, I clearly remember the media noting the Larry Davis cop shooting incident in relation to this album, even though, the shooting took place years before this album dropped. Warner Bros. who happened to be backing Cold Chillin' Records simply didn't want to be bothered with it. Thankfully, the album was still released to the hip hop fans anyway and we accepted. Because in all honesty, the community(myself included) was incredibly frustrated with the police departments random madness and bull****. They weren't always "only doing their job". Therefore, it was a treat to hear about them being blown away on record.
Live and Let Die is regarded as a hip hop classic. The production was mainly done by Sir Jinx consisting of jazz, funk, and soul samples, which well compliments G. Raps flow and demanding mic presence. Lyrically, this album is flawless, with G. Rap busting out his multi-syllabic rhyme scheme, with very clever and hilarious punchlines. The first song is heavily influenced with a Mafioso flavor, in which, Kool G. Rap is recognized as the originator of the style. The album opens up with a narration over the Godfather theme, and flawlessly flows into the first gang-related track On The Run. G. Rap puts to work his now legendary storytelling, by painting a picture on stealing valuables from a mob boss. His ability to tell stories with words is phenomenal. The detail of the song could make a fantastic screenplay for a film. Adding to the overall atmosphere, the song replays dialogue from the Untouchables film. In fact, several of these tracks could make a solid movie.
Straight Jacket which happens to be one of my favorites has a nice jazz sound, and sees G. Rap suffering from some type of delusions. His lyrics are very deep here, and I look at this track as a descent into madness. He closes the track with this;
I got two personalities inside sometimes they battle When I look at my picture all I see is scribble scrabble I feel I'm really losin' it, I need to write to Abby The characters on TV try to reach right out and grab me I always hear somebody talkin' bout they gonna do me But I listen again and it's those voices talkin' to me You heard of shadowboxin'? I see mine and then attack it Please doctor, please, put me in a straight jacket
Funny enough, one of his other tracks would happen to be Edge of Sanity. He tells a story about the struggle of being unemployed, with his woman on his a** about getting a job. Unfortunately, his criminal record is holding him back, until the point he has to come up with money by any means necessary. Anyone who has ever been in this situation would definitely feel this. Now, when taking under consideration the album cover, it's obvious G. rap hates cops. Well, he tells another tale on Train Robbery, in which, he gets a chance to go up against the almighty 5-0, as well as robbing the passengers:
Lookin' for who was next And sittin' by the pole was a old a** man wearin' a Rolex I took the s*** and hit the bastard hard Ripped his pants clean off his a** and got the Visa and the Mastercard
Got down on the ground and let the three pound blast lead went dead in his chest Tore him a new a**hole, right through his bulls*** vest But the pig was still breathin' I wanted to finish him off but I said, "f*** it I'm leavin'
The album only continues to impress, and G. Rap proves that his album isn't completely one dimensional. Home Sweet Home, is a gritty street narrative on being the victim of his surroundings, as well as those who are victims to random violence, and just plain getting caught up in hood drama. He also delivers well on several braggadocio tracks. Big Daddy Kane joins him on #1 with a Bullet, and the two rip the track to pieces. He also let us know that he would rather blow someone away before trading fist on Go For Your Guns. Nuff Said is another one where he uses a sped up cadence delivering bomb after bomb on why he's the hardest. I mean good grief, this is straight out of a flamethrower:
Cookin' n****s better than momma's dinner So let the drama enter, I'm sendin' n****s to the trauma center Because I'm rollin' with force Tearin n****s out the frame like they was bit***s I divorced
N****s'll get slayed like a bunch of play pirates F***** with me, y'all rather f*** with the AIDS virus Cause I set em' up wet em' up like sprinkles And put n****s to sleep longer than Rip Van Winkle
I would love to add more, but I hope some of you get the reasons why I dig this album. Operation CB(C*** Blockin') is a funny story on G. Rap trying to get laid, but constantly coming up short due to outside interference, that's worst than what you see in wrestling. The album ends with the bangin' posse cut Two to the Head featuring Ice Cube, Scarface, and Bushwick Bill. All four come strong here, while Scarface drops a line in his verse that would eventually be sampled for Biggie Smalls track Ready To Die.
Outside of the violent content, which is only a flaw for a select few. Live and Let Die is pretty much flawless. Kool G. Rap's delivery is unmatched here, and the album succeeded in what it set out for. The album is hardcore, no holds barred, gangster rap done right. Albums like these are almost non existent these days. Live and Let Die is my favorite G. Rap album, and it's amongst my favorites ever. I highly recommend this to those who miss Hip Hop's golden age.
Track Listing 1-Intro 2-On The Run 3-Live and Let Die 4-Crime Pays 5-Home Sweet Home 6-Train Robbery 7-#1 With a Bullet 8-Operation CB 9-Straight Jacket 10-ILL Street Blues 11-Go For Your Guns 12-Letters 13-Nuff Said 14-Edge of Sanity 15-F*** U Man 16-Still Wanted Dead or Alive 17-Two to the Head feat. Scarface, Bushwick Bill, & Ice Cube
Standout tracks for me: On The Run Straight Jacket Train Robbery Edge of Sanity Two to the Head ILL Street Blues
Honorable Mentions: #1 With a Bullet Go For Your Guns
Pros: -Top notch lyricism, production, everything
Cons: - Not meant for those who are easily offended by violent content
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May 22, 2011
Oct 21, 2013 04:54 PM UTC
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Live And Let Die is the third, and final, studio album by the American hip hop duo Kool G Rap & DJ Polo, released November 24, 1992, on Cold Chillin'. The album features guest appearances from Ice Cube, Big Daddy Kane, Scarface, and Bushwick Bill. The singles "Ill Street Blues," and "On the Run" both received consistent airplay on Yo! MTV Raps, and BET's Rap City upon the album's release. Warner Bros. Records eventually refused to distribute Live and Let Die as part of its deal with Cold Chillin' Records because of the album's lyrical content and cover art. It is not known if a Warner Bros. catalogue number was ever assigned to the release. Live and Let Die remained out of print until it was re-released and remastered with various bonus material in August 2008 by Traffic Entertainment Group, the current owners of the Cold Chillin' catalog. Over the years, several music critics have hailed it as an underground classic, due to Kool G Rap's intricate lyricism, and Sir Jinx's production.