Doesn't Live Up To It's Potential
Hip Hop Headz Won't Miss This One

The Firm features an allstar line up of Nas Escobar, AZ, Foxy Brown and Nature..Collectively they put out an album that doesn't quite reach their potential... Yes all of them can flow... no doubt.. I'm not gonna front on that tip.. The beats are ok...There are some remakes like Firm Biz which borrows from Teena Marie's 'Square Biz'.. 'Fuck Somebody Else' borrows from the classic jam 'You Gonna Make Me Love Somebody Else' which I believe was done by Taste Of Honey... Another track, Hardcore takes from the classic 'Encore' by Cheryl Lynn and finally we have 'Five Minutes Of Flush' which takes from the Whodini classic 'Five Minutes Of Funk'... This is just a sign of the times within hip hop to remake classic songs... I'm not quite sure if it was done to ideally obtain some commercial appeal considering that a couple of the songs are kinda raunchy...However, it's a mark against this all star cast.. you just expect things to be musically taken to a whole different level..I mean The Firm is nested on the record label of one of hip hop's most celebrated and respected producers.. Dr Dre.. This allstar cast has access to everyone from DJ Premier to the Trackmasters... yet nothing really innovative was done... What a shame...

Conceptually The Firm falls short in a major way... Basically they modeled themselves after the played out Godfather/ Mafia Theme... Going back to the beats for a second... The 'original' type beats have an old Italy type sound... If folks think back to Nas's last lp you may recall a song called Affirmative Action in which the beat was on old Italian/Mafia style cello being played over a slamming hip hop beat... Well on this Firm album you get to hear variations of that same sound... That in itself isn't so bad.. What these guys trying to pass themselves off as some untouchable..underground, suit wearing, cigar smoking.. mob types.. I ain't convinced... It ain't original... and it falls short of the mark.. I'm sick of brothas trying to be some old mafia Italian gangstas.. How many jewels can you rob? How much money can you stash? When are brothas gonna stopped being stressed and tire from running from the FBI... ? I'm certain that Nas, AZ and company aren't no goodie two shoes...However, they are far from these underworld crime figures that they try to potray.. Yes, I know it's just a record and these guys are trying to be entertaining etc... I just think they should've came with the thunder and took hip hop to the next level... So many folks have gone this route before them.. and done a more convincing job.. ie Eric B & Rakim and Kool G Rap are two that immediately come to mind...

So in conclusion, I'll give The Firm props for being a talented bunch... but they lose major points for not taking hip hop to the next level... They have the talent, the resources and the responsibility to move things along... The Firm.. The Album.. The Failure...

Reviewed By Davey D


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