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April 15, 2024

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Master P
MP Da Last Don (No Limit Records)

By: [email protected]

The fabulous tale of Master P and his seemingly impossible rise to fame--or infamy for that matter--is one of the favorites in all of the rap game. Yarns range from him starting No Limit Records with the money he made as a drug dealer on the streets of the dangerous New Orleans Calliope Projects to him starting No Limit with $10,000 willed by his grandfather on his deathbed. However, no one can think of Master P without giving him respect for sticking to his dream and realizing it through hard work and determination. After successful underground albums and platinum success with Ice Cream Man and Ghetto D, Master P serves us with his "final" solo effort, a 2-CD set entitled MP Da Last Don. Unfortunately, like most 2 and 3 CD sets, MP Da Last Don leaves the listener craving substance.

Disc one begins with Master P, in his best Cartagena drug kingpin voice, explaining that he's frustrated with federal forces tapping his phone, tracing his money and never giving him a moments rest. After his ranting, rapping and raving, Master P joins up with 4 of the 5 members of Bone thugs~n~harmony to give us "Till We Dead And Gone." Using a replayed sample from an old NWA tune, the track rattles speakers as Master P drones on incessantly with "Nigga this P and Bone nigga UUUUGGGHHH and we gon' be here till we dead and gone nigga." With a verse by Master P that draws heavily on his experiences in the ghetto and 4 rapid-fire, fantastic verses by the thugs, "Till We Dead And Gone" highlights disc one. Other noteworthy tracks on disc one include "Soldiers, Riders And Thugs", a track that finds Master P joined by counterparts Snoop Doggy Dogg, Mystikal and brother Silkk The Shocker. "War Wounds", done by Master P, Silkk The Shocker, Snoop Doggy Dogg, Mystikal and Fiend is merely 5 sub-par verses surrounding a chorus of "Check my war wounds UUUGGHHH, check my war wounds UUUUGGGGHHH, every soldier got a story to tell" performed by Master P. The track that most catches the attention is "Dear Mr. President", a song about Master P talking to the President of the United States, telling him his life story and explaining what happens in the ghetto and why. Master P raps "Dear Mr. President I live in the hood, where people do bad, but they say it's all good. And my homies slangin and robbin, some call it misdemeanor, felony, we call survivin." One can't help but overlook Master P's annoying UUUGGGHHHH trademark to listen closely to the message of the lyrics.

Disc two starts off lacklusterly with Master P, using his best 2Pac Shakur voice, recites "This ghetto's got me crazy, crazy (UUUGGGHHHH), but there's more to life than bitches, weed or Mercedes." Next, "Ghetto Life" actually portrays a sullen, reminiscent Master P poignantly pondering what he's seen in his life and if he regrets any of it. The beat is one of the best on either disc, with a beautiful guitar riff playing occasionally throughout. Master P heartfully recites "I live my life homey, but not for greed, picture youngsters and brothers plant their ghetto seeds. Ain't nothing promised in this ghetto, but we lost cuz we black, picture five kids in the projects in a one-room shack." Although Master P may be worth well over $250 million, he has not forgotten his humble beginnings and what many impoverished individuals face daily. UGK then joins Master P to paint an even bleaker, but honest-to-life lyrical picture. But, when scanning the track listing on Disc 2, one can't help but notice "Make Em Say Uhhh #2" and immediately have high hopes. Unfortunately those hopes are quickly dashed. The track is a remix of the original, with all the artists returning except Mystikal, who's replaced by Snoop Doggy Dogg. The track is notably less energetic than the first "Make Em Say Uhh" and the lyrics are less on point as well. Also, Snoop Doggy Dogg's slow, silky drawl cannot replace the rapid fire, guttural cadence of Mystikal. Nevertheless, although this reviewer was quite disappointed, clubs and barbecues are sure to put this track on repeat.

I come away from listening MP Da Last Don with some very strong feelings, most of them negative. Master P has made his trademark "UUUGGGHHH" the focal point of his lyrics; and well too often, he uses said trademark as an entire chorus. Another thing to peruse, why does Master P continually talk about the ghetto as if he still dwells there? Yes he grew up in the projects, he was born into a very desperate, impoverished situation, but now he's the owner of one of the most successful independent record labels of all time. When Master P raps, he repeats himself too often, covering concepts, topics and ideas that he covered on previous albums. If this is indeed Master P's last solo album, personally I will not be saddened. And for all those who think that this is the last we're going to hear from Master P, fret not--he heads up Da 504 Boyz, a triumvirate that also features Silkk The Shocker and Mystikal, whose album is due out within 1998. This may be the last time we hear from Master P as a solo artist, but in no way have we heard the last from Percy Miller as a rapper...

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