Various Artists - Ruff Ryders Vol. 1      
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written by Hugo Lunny    
When I first heard that this LP was in the works, I was, to say the least, not in the slightest bit bothered about it. However, with that being said, it isn't completely bad.

Out of the Ruff Ryders camp, there is only one group of emcees that I consistently enjoy listening to. That is of course, The LOX. They all have tons of skill. But other than them, the other emcees which I consider to be part of the actual Ruff Ryders (not affiliates), those being; Drag-On, Eve and DMX really hadn't impressed me on anything that much. DMX has had his moments, but usually he hasn't come off as someone that I'm too impressed with.

Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised when I got this CD; it ended up having some nice looking guest appearances. Jay-Z was stated as being the main rapper on one of the cuts, and Pun was also on the track listing. The previously released track, 'Ryde Or Die' - by the Ruff Ryders is the first cut on this LP and if you're like me(taste wise) this track will definitely not appeal initially, however you may find that it grows on you after listening to it a few more times.

The thing about this compilation is that it does have a few too many feeble, well, a better word would be shite, tracks.

Juvenile and Drag-On come together on 'Down Bottom.' The track has some okay beats but when it comes to their lyrics and the hook, all I can say is what the fuck? The hook goes like this - "Do y'all niggas bust your guns? / Hell yeah we bust our guns! / Do y'all fuck 'em till they cum? / Hell yeah we make 'em cum!" If that wasn't bad enough, Juvenile and Drag-On drop some really shit rhymes. Damn.

Eve (as far as I know) has only recently come into the rap scene (as a rapper) recently. She dropped a few guest appearances, including guesting on The Roots 'You Got Me' and Blackstreets 'Boyfriend/Girlfriend.' Now, she wasn't brilliant on those, but she was quite good. She has two tracks on this compilation as well as being on 'Ryde Or Die.' Those tracks are 'What Y'All Niggas Want' featuring Nokio of Dru Hill and 'Do That Shit.' Neither track is anything too special, especially lyrically. 'Do That Shit' is a track which becomes irritating very, very quickly, so I think I'll ignore that from now on.

Continuing talking about the compilations flaws 'Pina Colada' is one of those cuts which by reading who's on it and who guests, you'd think it would be great. Sheik and Big Pun are both emcees whom in the past I've enjoyed listening to. However, this track really shows me that combining these two and a sort of mellow Latin beat wasn't a good idea. I'll leave comments about this track at that.

Now, onto talking about the good aspects of the compilation. You have a nice dose of rn'b with Parle dropping 'I'm A Ruff Ryder,' the track is performed well, and ups the quality of the compilation. Other better points on this LP include 'Jigga My Nigga' - a track that also initially isn't too impressive, but it does grow on you. So much so that it's one of the cuts I've been bumping quite a lot recently. Other highlights include the the three Jadakiss performances. He drops a solo cut; 'Kiss Of Death,' features along with fellow LOX members on the cut 'Dope Money' and drops the best verse on the otherwise feeble track 'Platinum Plus.'

Of course, you have to have the main Ruff Ryder on this LP, that being DMX. He contributes two tracks and features on the previously released track; 'Ryde Or Die.' DMX's two solo tracks are 'Bug Out' and 'Some X Shit.' 'Bug Out' is DMX rhyming over Xzibit's 'Shroomz' beat. It's quite good but not up to the standards of 'Some X Shit.' 'Some X Shit' is a track, which I really hated at first, I recognized that it had some nice production, but as per usual DMX's lyrics have little depth to them. Regardless of the lyrical content, it's a hype track. In that respect it's quite good.

The LP has some nice production, Swizz Beats have done a good job, really good examples of this are on 'What Y'All Niggas Want,' 'Jigga My Nigga,' 'Dope Money' and the consistency with the production quality remains pretty good throught the compilation.

Though the compilation has quite a few bad points, it also has quite a few good points. Unfortunately the bad out-weigh the good. Overall, an okay compilation, but it could have been a whole lot better.









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