This album came out two decades ago. Here’s what I had to say about it back then (with some minor editing):
Unlike the old saying, you can usually judge a rapper by the company he doesn’t keep. If his (or her) album — particularly a debut record — is loaded down with trendy producers, of-the-moment guest vocalists and other hired guns, it’s a sure sign the artist in question either needs all the help they can get or the record company thinks they do. Either way, you usually end up with a safe, watered-down disc that kills a rapper’s career faster than a drive-by.
Fortunately, former Jeru the Damaja protege Afu-Ra avoids that trap on his confident, competent debut platter Body of the Life Force. This New York Rasta rhymer handles the bulk of this 18-track offering solo, crafting intelligent, weighty word-chains over top-shelf beats and scratch-filled tracks. When he does share the mic, it’s with the likes of solid veterans like Wu-Tangers GZA and Masta Killa, thus ensuring that even when he isn’t on his own, at least he’s in good company.