I was a fan of Pac throughout his career. And with that, I managed to develop a liking for his clique Tha Outlawz. Hearing the many tracks that the crew had, I found a compelling variety of anger mixed with sorrow, thrown together, penned, then recited to create pretty dope tracks. From one of their most famous appearances on 'Hit 'Em Up' to their contributions to 2pac's material, Tha Outlawz have made something of themselves. The crew is two emcees short of what they were, Tupac and Kadafi are no longer present, and thus don't show up at all on this release.
Due to the fact that I have been overwhelmed with music for the past few years, I didn't pay much attention to 'Still I Rise,' Tha Outlawz last LP, however, what I heard I enjoyed a lot, nor did I manage to get my hands on a copy of their double CD bootlegged album prior to that. So, this album, I'm entering with no full memories of a lengthy Outlawz release.
The most notable vibe that you feel from this album, is that the crew don't seem too positive about life, and why wouldn't they be, having two crew members murdered. 'When I Go' and 'Good Bye' are two good examples of this. 'When I Go' focuses on the fact that basically if/when they die, they want those around them to not mourn, but to try to live on normally. 'Good Bye' features the same sort of pessimistic vibe, detailing negative aspects of street life, and with a sung hook which adds to the depressing feel created by the beats rhymes.
Tha Outlawz don't just deal with the negative aspects in a depressing style. There is a distinct attempt at covering the same sort of subject with a different perspective. 'Life Is What You Make It' and 'Hang On,' continue with the feelings of life not being altogether great, but that "Life is what you make of it" and that even though bad things occur in your life you should "Hang On." These tracks are well done, and easily interpreted. The messages are conveyed very well, and while processing these messages, the rhymes, beats and hooks/singing are of a high quality level.
There's also a sinister, almost contradictory feel (to 'Life Is What You Make It' and 'Hang On') in the form of 'Murder Made Easy' featuring Smooth, Dirty Bert, Trife and Akwylah. The title is basically very true to the song's subject matter.
Without question, the best track on this album is 'Black Rain.' This track was released as the LP's main promotional single, and it hasn't lost anything after literally hearing it hundreds of times. Pure dopeness.
'Ride Wit Us Or Collide Wit Us' isn't without flaws. 'Who?' features a "Ha"-esque approach to it. Starting each line with "Who.." Now although the beat isn't bad, the rhymes and hook, are. There's also 'Fuck With Me' which is sort of a "sex" rhyme, it takes a cocky approach and unfortunately doesn't live up to the standards, which other joints on the album set for it.
Basically, 'Ride Wit Us Or Collide Wit Us' is a definite purchase for Pac/Outlawz fans. There are bad moments on the release, but the majority of tracks are the opposite.