Friday, November 17, 2017
LIFESTYL, "Deep In the Game" (1997)
The cover of Deep In the Game is a contrast between wild riches and wild poverty. The rapper's faces--well, half of each rapper's face--are pushed to the sides, allowing us to view a busy overpass and a body of water which is either composed of large $100 bills, or in which large $100 bills are floating. I would have loved to have seen some diving gear, maybe a boat, something to suggest the entrepreneurial spirit of these two young men.
Lifestyl broke up after the cousins were sent to prison on drug trafficking charges. (As far as I know, both men are now free--in fact, one is currently the CEO of Salty Water Records, the label that released Lifestyl's music.) So you can't tell me they weren't about that submergence life.
"Cutthroat Island"--'Cause they sure as fuck weren't about that art life. I don't know which rapper is which--not racist, although Latinos saying the n-word might be--but the first guy at least plays with his flow a bit, and I appreciate that. Otherwise, it's sinister keys and empty threats.
Tommy and Pancho trade lines for verse three. Styles and Jada, they ain't. Kid and Play, they ain't.
"Tragedies"--Starkly animalistic. Shrouded in paranoia. Boring as hell.
"The Feeling"--Lifestyl made an album just to make an album. Their aesthetic is more in tune with the West Coast than any Southern style of hip-hop, and their mimicry is subpar.
"O Baby"--Take the missing letter from the group's name and the missing letter from this song, and you have my opinion.
"Confianza"--I'd rather eat the cardboard box this album was recorded inside than keep listening.
"Killas & $ Billas"--The 379th song (at the time) to sample "Shook Ones, Pt. 2)." Lifestyl probably fancied themselves the Latin Mobb Deep, and I wish someone had recorded those smoky in-studio pep talks.
"Deep In the Game"--Never be afraid to be great.
"Haters"--Fantasy Land gonna hate on Chutes N Ladders.
"So Many Ways To Die"--Add "waiting for this album to get good" to that list. Those drums make Swizz Beatz sound like J Dilla.
Four more songs follow: "Smoked Out," "Fast Eddie," "Roll 'Em Up," and "Pop Pop Pop." I hate to tap out, but I hate uninspiring music even more. Nothing about Lifestyl wants me to keep listening. No personality, no cleverness, no insight into their shared situation.