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Classic Album Reviews: Ruff Ryders | Ryde Or Die Vol. 1 / Krayzie Bone | Thug Mentality 1999

These two rap releases prove you really can have way too much of a good thing.

This came out in 1999 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


I used to roll my eyes at people who said all rap sounds the same. But frankly, lately even I’m having trouble telling the playas from the suckas.

These two self-indulgent discs are shining proof of the two problems hampering hip-hop these days. Problem 1: Too many guest vocals. Case in point: Ruff Ryders. Not only does this skillful gangsta-rap crew led by DMX have nearly a dozen members, but Ryde Or Die also features Jay-Z, Big Pun, Ma$e, Jermaine Dupri and so on — most of whom have also had albums out recently and have appeared on each other’s discs. At this rate, soon the entire genre will be one big crew. Problem 2: Too many double CDs. Example: Bone Thugs-N-Harmony top dog Krayzie Bone, who deadens the impact of his menacing, gangsta-meets-gospel style by dragging us through 38 tracks and 134 minutes on his solo debut. I didn’t realize the 1999 in the title referred to the year it would take to listen to this. This is rhyme and punishment. Word.