RUTHLESS FOR LIFE
A Solid Album For MC Ren Good Beats
Some Strong Cuts.. Side A Is Off The Hook
Hasn't Broke Any New Ground Lyrically
He Needs To Shed The Ruthless Villain Image
Mc Ren has not been able to really return the glory days of old when his baritone voice and menacing rhymes were part of an arsenal called NWA.. His last couple of albums suffered from lack of promotion and waning interest in Compton rappers and more specifically the whole NWA ordeal.. Folks attention over the last few years have been on Death Row, Suge Knight etc.. and whatever gangsta tales were spun by Mc Ren and company seemed to pale in the real life drama that was taken place elsewhere in the industry..
It's important to note that.. because that was a substantial part of NWA's success.. Their tales of street life in Compton and Cali was a first time experinec for many.. Nowadays with the death of 2Pac and Biggie and all that sort of drama it's been hard to feel menaced by Ren..
Now how does all this tie into his album.. Well, for one it meant that Ren would have to reinvent himself as an artist.. he would have to come up with more then the NWA legacy and him being from Compton as reason for folks go checkin' for him..It was hoped that with improved production.. and Ren honing his already sharp skillz that he would return in a blaze of glory on his new album 'Ruthless For Life'..
To be honest Ren delivers a strong album.. Side A is espcially compelling..where every song bumps and bumps hard.. Tracks like 'Nigga Called Ren' which was produced by Ant Banks is boomin', The Isley Brother inspired 'Voyage To Compton' which is an interpolation of the Isley Brother classic 'Voyage To Atlantis'..is the ultimate hip hop cool out song. 'Must Be High' which talk about groupies and industry parasites is another smash..And my favorite 'Who In The Fuck' hits hard as it features Suave House's Eight Ball & MJG.
The album loses some of it's momentum on the b side.. which is too bad.. because Ren needs an absolute stellar performance to become present in everyone's mind again. 'Shot Caller' and 'CPT All Day' are two that really stand out.. The rest.. you can take or leave..
What MC Ren is gonna battle with his shedding the outdated Comptom image.. He will forver be the Ruthless Villain.. I'm just not so sure if he wants to keep reminding people.. I personally think it takes away from Ren's talents.. The kid is a dope emcee..However, he's gonna get stigmatized for carrying around some baggage from a day that has come and gone..The other thing that Ren has missed is an opportunity to show how much he has grown.. He's a pretty sharp brother who now builds with the Nation Of Islam.. he's married and has a few kids..It's hard to take him seriously as a Villain when he's on a whole other level in his personal life.. I want Ren to come up and take his place in the spotlight.. He deserves it.. But right now he's falling victim to what has befallen so many other artists..Lack Of Artist Development.. That's reflected in his album in terms of his lyrics and subject matter.. I give Ren a B on this album.. and that's only because the A side is slammin'..and well worth the listen.