The first time I heard of Charli Baltimore was on ‘What’s Beef’ by Biggie, soon after hearing that, her joint ‘For The Love Of Money’(also known as just ‘Money’) flooded mixtapes and was picked up by MTV so she got quite a bit of exposure (coincidentally, the hit ‘Money’ isn’t featured on this LP). But, she was/is most well-known for her relationship with Biggie. Well, she signed to Lance Riviera’s Untertainment Record label and after around a year of being delayed, Charli Baltimore’s LP is dropping.
Now, what happens when you repeatedly delay an album is, it becomes more anticipated, so the actual product has to/should live up to the expectations which (either intentionally or un-intentionally) it has created. This both does, and doesn’t.
The LP features a wide range of guests, and a few choice producers. She enlisted guests like Ghostface Killah, Mobb Deep, Da Brat, Eightball & MJG, Cam’ron, Lady Of Rage, Noreaga, and more. As well as that, she managed to get Havoc, RZA and DJ Premier to lace up some beats for her first solo effort. Now, a lot of her guests do add to the tracks, but sometimes, well, more often than not, I like seeing a solo LP being a solo. However, though I’ve said a lot of her guests add to the tracks, some don’t really. ‘Pull The Alarm’ features some okay rhymes by Charli, but I don’t really think Billy Lawrence’s singing is a good addition to the track. Another example of guests not adding too much to the track, is on ‘N.B.C.’ People should remember this from last years ‘Rush Hour’ soundtrack. It really wasn’t one of the soundtrack’s highlights, and here, it isn’t either.
A lot of this LP I’d already heard on mixtapes and 12"s. But that doesn’t mean the quality is any better or worse. A lot of the previously released material is pretty impressive, a good example of that is the female posse cut, ‘Thorough Bitches.’ It features The Lady of Rage, Gangsta Boo, Queen Pen, Da Brat and Scarlet rhyming over a beat which compliments the ladies, and with a nice Biggie sample thrown in too. And, ‘Pimp Da One U Love’ featuring Eightball & MJG is still quite good.
‘Cold As Ice’ does have some pretty nicely produced cuts. RZA throws out a nice beat for the track ‘Stand Up’(previously released as a single) featuring Ghostface Killah. Primo laced up a nice beat for ‘Everybody Wanna Know’ which Charli rhymes well over. And, Havoc supplies a nice beat for the track ‘Infamous’(which seems like a Mobb Deep track featuring Charli Baltimore rather than the other way around). Though there are quite a few nicely produced cuts, this doesn’t apply to all beats. The beat for ‘Have It All’(produced by John Forte) featuring Miss Jones isn’t too brilliant, it feels like some 80’s track, and the Miss Jones hook basically confirms it. The lyrics are quite good, and the hook is sung well, but the feel of it ‘being done before’ feels like it makes the quality of the track lower in some weird way. Another example of re-using older material, and it blowing up in your face is on ‘Feel It’ featuring, and produced by Teddy Riley. When I first heard this a few months ago, I wasn’t feeling it, and after having heard it many, many times, it still isn’t any more appealing.
Probably the best features on the LP are the tracks that haven’t yet been publicly released. The most notable ones in my mind are ‘They’ and ’30 Miles From Baltimore.’ ‘They’ is a track which has a real nice beat and Charli states it’s a track "inspired by BIG." Nice rhymes combine with a fitting spoken hook and the beats to form a real nice cut. ’30 Miles From Baltimore’ features a hook sung by Brotha and is a track which compares Charli Baltimore to the character in the movie, ‘Long Kiss Goodnight.’ She rhymes really well, telling a descriptive story. Real nice joint.
Charli Baltimore has created a pretty nice LP, it shows that she has talent. But various other factors lower the LPs quality. Worth checking out though...With less guests and if she sticks with producers like Havoc, Primo and RZA, her next LP may be a better showcase of her talent.