As the latest record from the Chi-town trio known as Do Or Die commences, you can’t help but notice one thing: they sound a lot like Houston griot and well known Geto Boy Brad Jordan (Scarface to those that don’t know). But don’t hate on them yet, because that is not a bad thing. If Scarface is known for anything, it’s his impeccable ghetto tales, ferocious lyricism and block bangin’ beats; topped off, of course, with that gruff southern drawl. The only thing missing on D.O.D is the Southern drawl, seeing as how A.K. and his brethren are from the Midwest. The first two tracks are cut from this mode, as does the Malik Yusef assisted “Around Here”, the group’s ode to the hood they come from.
That being said, the guys actually beat a hasty retreat back to their glory days as the disk progresses. With the help of Chicago’s own Syleena Johnson and the lyrical dexterity of sometime collaborator Twista, “If Only You Knew” recalls the street anthem, player pimp status of the groups biggest hit “Po Pimpin’”. Other Chicago sightings abound, as super producer Kanye West shows love not only on the group’s lead single (and its remix featuring DTP’s Shawnna), the Teddy Pendergrass sampled “Higher”, but also serves up the business on “Paid The Price”. And R.Kelly appears on the club banger “Magic Chick”, in what may well be his best, most original performance in a while; even though the title sounds a lot like 50 Cent and Lil’ Kim’s “Magic Stick”.
Although the group does a great job making up for the absences, the only notable hometown folks missing from this collection are Common and local fave Bump J.
But don’t fret serious music fan, Compton’s DJ Quik spruces up the mix with his gangsta brand of early 70’s funk on “Church”; which also features the soulful vocals of Johnny P. And Bounty Killer and Sasha bring the Island vibe to what is probably the albums best cut, “Nawty”. Reggae rhythms and sexy singing from Sasha make this a club trip that makes you wanna get naughty.
Terror Squad’s Remy Ma co-signs the hip “U Already Know.” While “Wa Da Da Dang” featuring newcomer Grind, recalls the Golden years of Boogie Down Productions; “listen to the nine millimeter go bang,” baby!
With production by The Legendary Traxster, and Max Julien (The comedian Goldy) providing interlude relief, this is the best project the Chicago trio has released in years. Hopefully they reap the rewards.Don’t get caught sleeping people, cop you some Midwest pimpin’, and “get your eagle on!”
Oh, you also get a bonus DVD. What more could you ask for?
Editor’s Note: for more information on Do Or Die or the new album, log onto www.thelegionrecords.com or hit up the fan club: Do or Die Fan Club, 207 E. Ohio Street, Ste #363, Chicago IL 60611