interview MACK 10 - Bang Or Ball | Review By: Incognito

Mack Dime's last record foreshadowed his future as a rapper...change was in store. 2000's "The Paper Route" turned out to be his least productive album, and his Hoo-Bangin dream is left up in the air with Priority in disappointment. Collaborating with your wifey isn't the recipe for success, as Mack did pump out two singles along with T-Boz, of TLC fame. After marriage, Mack fled the scene of Priority Records and found a new habitat in New Orleans, with Cash Money Records. HHHHHMMMM, story sound familiar? West coast fans were appalled to know of Mack's new home being down South, we already went through this with Snoop Dogg. Almost everyone dogged Mack for his risk-taking move, even I did. Most admit, Snoop's retreat with "Da Game Is To Be Sold, Not To Be Told" was a big step back from what he use to do. I couldn't bare to listen to Snoop's laid back flow over those loud and noisy No Limit beats. Anyway, I was done listening to Mack 10 after I peeped his previous album, I didn't expect to see this CD end up in my collection. With new back-up from Mannie Fresh, and the Hot Boyz, Mack 10 was against all odds and at a crossroad in his musical career: bang or ball?

The opener, "Hate In Yo Eyes" makes the West coast fans feel right at home. It's a Dr. Dre anthem sampling the 70's mega hit, "Stayin Alive" which has Mack 10 shakin off them haters. It's album's first single and Mack's delivery is as if nothing has changed, spittin those same lyrics that made him who he was in '95. "Remember 'Fo Life'?/I put the 'Wood in it/And looked out for you when yo own hood didn't." He comes rugged over the carefully tailored Dre opus, rappin his best rhymes on the album and letting the hook do the capturing. This track turns out to be the only one with The D-R-E, good move to try and keep the West coast fans intact to come back once more (It did that for me). The second song off this album is where Cash Money mega beatsmith, Mannie Fresh takes over the panel and tries his magic with the Chicken Hawk. I was prepared for the worst, but the music I was hearing was quite friendly to my ear drums. "Let The Thugs In The Club" is Mack's initiation to the Cash Money crew, "I keep it ghetto, gutter, gangsta like a West coast G/The homie trust the dopeman so he got it free." It's a vibrant Mannie Fresh beat with a nicely done hook by Mack 1-0. This isn't your average gritty and bouncy Cash Money tune, but Lil Wayne and B.G. ruin this song from being great. Through out the album, Mack stays in his gangsta rappin mode, and at time going off with that bling-bling gibberish. One of the more diverse tracks, is the double-sided Westside Connect joint equipped with a Mannie Fresh beat. "Connected For Life" is an interesting song. Fresh laces a baller happy instrumental with WC and Cube delivering those hard gangsta raps on top of it. Butch Cassidy's hook adds to the playful, but gangsta song with his smooth chorus. It's a good song, blending the production of Cash Money's Mannie Fresh, and cold rhymes of Mack, Cube and WC. One of the few full blown West coast joints is the QD3 produced thumper, "Let It Be Known." It's some heat y'all. Xzibit and Scarface destroy this track laced with a heavy piano rift and buzzing horns to make it that classic West coast vibe. This may be the best song on the album.

Songs like "So Serious," "We Can Never Be Friends" and "Dog About It" have Mack trapped in that Cash Money world rappin of Bentley's and ice on the wrists. The Big Timer's ruin everything they touch as rappers, especially on those songs with Mack 10. It seems as he's caught between two worlds with one song rappin of his West coast life, and the next braggin of his lifestyle down in Atlanta poppin chrys. "King Pin Dream" is one of those songs where Mack, Mikkey and Big Timers do nothing but that. Those tracks I don't care for, but for one thing, Mack has the flow in his songs to make most of the tracks the least bit enjoyable. Mack only has three solo joints, makin his album another Cash Money display. When he's not bogged down with other CM rappers, he comes proper solo. One of the more freak happy songs is the "No Dick At All" joint, where the addictive hook narrates about some lesbian who don't slurp dicks, much to the disappointment of Mack and his homies.

Unlike Beats By The Pound, who made Snoop sound worse, Mannie Fresh's sound goes well with Mack 10's rappin style. Also, Mannie Fresh is a better producer than Beats By The Pound, who just used the same grimy elements those No Limit tracks. If your listening to this song from a West coast fan perspective, than you'll only appreciate maybe 3 songs, and just listen in disgust to the rest of those Cash Money influenced Mack-10 joints. The production is just Mannie Fresh tryin to imitate the West coast sound to make Mack feel more at home. Some beats sound very West coast-sih and some are that bouncy CM garbage. As a Cash Money fan, you'll probably take a liking to the album, which is filled with bouncy Mannie Fresh beats and many guest appearances by Cash Money Millionaires, Lil Wayne, B.G., Big Timers and Mikkey who just spit game about their usual bling-bling lifestyles. Mack 10 claims Hoo-Bangin ain't dead, but why aren't of the artists on his album?
For Mack 10, it's not "Bang Or Ball," it's more like "Bang AND Ball" in his case, as he's caught up with two worlds. Mack 10 has come to a turning point in his career, he's gotten married, moved out of Inglewood and into Atlanta; he is happy now. He needed to try something fresh, and Cash Money Records was a place for him to do it. That's what I think. They only songs worth a listen on this album are, "Hate In Yo Eyes," "Let The Thugs In The Club," "Connected For Life," "No Dick At All" and "Let It Be Known."

3.25/5 Dubs!


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