To be honest, I never really knew what to make of Cormega. I remembered the line from Nas' "One Love," but other than that, it wasn't until I heard the track "Killaz Theme" (which featured Mobb Deep), that I really became curious about this Queensbridge MC. After buying a bootleg of "The Testament," Cormega's eternally shelved Def Jam debut, Mega became one of my favourite MCs. This album only solidifies my feelings.
We can say this about Cormega: He loves hip hop. The liner notes from this album ooze passion and genuine care about the current state of the culture. He chastises those who choose to use the industry to make a buck, and don't care about the state in which they leave it. His comments come from the heart and its obvious that his feelings are real. Mega knows how to make an album.
"The True Meaning" is a piece of art, uncorrupted by major label forces. No messing around here. Every track is just as worthy as the next. There are virtually no standout tracks, because every song is just good. He has assembled a veritable all-star list of QB producers; Alchemist, Large Pro and J Waxx to name a few. Hi-Tek and Mega attempt to re-create a classic collabo along the lines of "All I Need Is You" with "Soul Food," and they come damn close. Mega addresses the Nas issue in the best way possible, with maturity on "Love In, Love Out." Mega details the situation from beginning to end. Hopefully these two talented cats can put aside their differences and do a track together, but with Mega's approach, I wouldn't be all that surprised to hear a Nas track that comes off semi-apologetic, as this one does. Without question, the album's top track is the J-Love produced banger; "Endangered Species." Corey rips the beat, which leads perfectly into the album's conclusion; "Therapy".
To put it bluntly, this album is a breath of fresh air. I won't hesitate in calling it one of the best releases of 2002. Cormega has assembled the right producers, and he has obviously scrutinized his beats very carefully, because they are all on point. One complaint though. I came across a sampler of this album a while ago, and most of the tracks were under 3 minutes in duration. I just figured that these were song snippets, and the full version would be on the retail release. I was wrong. The album only runs 39 minutes and 51 seconds, (strangely, the exact same length of Illmatic). "The True Meaning" leaves some length to be desired, and may cause a sense of unfulfillment among those who were expecting a 70 minute, 20 track, 5 skit marathon. So here is a warning; Mega doesn't do skits, and he doesn't waste album space with wack tracks. You won't find the shiny suit track aimed at the 14 year old girls, and you won't find the obligatory southern bounce track that so many respected artists are reducing themselves to these days.
Cormega has found a formula for making solid albums, and there isn't much he can do to improve on this release, aside from including a well-timed guest appearance by another respected rapper. Cormega's attitude is so hungry, so fresh, that it is hard to deny the fact that this is a great album. If Mega's liner notes hold true, he will keep churning out albums of this calibre as long as we choose to support him. Do yourself a favour, cop this album and support credibility.