Noreaga - Melvin Flynt Da Hustler      
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written by Philip Oliver    
Its only been a year since ‘NORE’ dropped, and now we have the latest album from Noreaga or is it? Noreaga is claiming this album is his alter ego or summin, its not a Noreaga album, it his other side, kind of like what RZA did with Bobby Digital. However you wanna put it, this is really Nore's third album, beginning in ’97 with CNN’s ‘The war report’ he had to hold most of the album down by himself cos Capone had to spend a bid upstate (which he’s juts been released from, the duo promise us a real CNN album soon). Last years ‘NORE’ was a good project, it what was what we all expected, some tight tracks which we’ll always remember, ‘NORE’, ‘Body in the trunk’, ‘Superthug’ and ‘Banned from TV’ all stick out in my mind as worthy contributions to 98’s summer line up. The album was also littered with the all too familiar filler material so can he conquer that on ‘Melvin Flynt: Da hustler’?

Nore lost his father last year so hes dedicated his album to him and the intro adds as a reflection of his love towards this guy. The intro is Noreaga experiencing the birth of his 2 children which his dad has missed, its then concluded with Noreaga talking to his father in heaven about how he's doing, but it’s a one way conversation. The strange thing about the kick off track is again a dedication to his Dad, ‘Sometimes’ is the type of ‘Pour out a lil' liquor’ joint you’d get towards the end of an album. Maze joins him on the track and while it's strange as a beginning it's pleasing with its heavy bass, clean production and whining loop. ‘Gangstas watch’ is more of the typical starter I’d expect from Nore but listening to the track you can see this is where problems are starting to arise and we’re only on track 3. Whether its the fact that Nore is being Melvin Flynt or the fact hes looking for platinum plus sales, his sound has mutated into something that’s basically getting shitty. We see this further on ‘What the fuck is up’, I can’t even listen to this Trackmasterz track all the way through, its just too easy to hit that skip button

I can only describe his new production as a cross between Swizz, Neptunes and some down south shit (I know he got that type of producer but they are just a bit too similar), he's relying on the heavy bass lines to carry most of the tracks which is a bad move as it seems to drown out his voice, is he trying to hide something? Nore's lyrical performance still leaves a lot to be desired, he's carrying off very basic rhymes at times, so basic you’d probably here 10 yr olds on the street saying the same ‘I’m a thug and I don’t care’ rhymes. His flow and delivery also leave him sounding a bit off point when he rhymes a line then adds a short piece of info like he forgot about it, but its really to rhyme with the next line.

You’ve all heard parts 1 and 2 right? They were on point right (especially when Nas and nature dropped verses), well now its time for ‘Blood money 3’. While you think the concept might be tired this track stands out as one of the albums first Classic moments. Just when you think hes gone all rock n roll on us Noreaga bursts into his slang of ‘New York get the blood money….’ Over a chiming piano loop that’s seems like an intentional extension of the original Noreaga breaks into the sound and style we gotta love. He comes again strong on ‘If ya want it’, I’m not sure if it’s the production that’s motivating him to perform better but it seems that better beats equal a better Noreaga. Neptunes are called in for the millionth time to bring life to tracks like ‘Cocaine business’ and the current single ‘Oh No’ which I’ve grown to actually like but the production team do little to take Nore in a new direction.

‘Hold me down’ and ‘First day home’ are both good examples how Noreaga should have taken his sound, they both sound similar (a trait that is becoming too familiar with this album) but they can be listened to a lot, I played these in the walkman and it livened my play list up a lot. The bass, beats and rhymes are all mixed well and while don’t provide some sonic wizardry are good to listen to if you just want something a bit different

Outside Guests aren’t that heavily used and relied on which I admired 'cause basically every release these days is just full of collaboration leaving rarely a track for the artists to go solo. Maze and Mussolini, his right hand men lend a helping hand but do little to improve a situation that wasn’t too good in the first place. Missy is probably the biggest star to appear on the Swizz beatz assisted ‘We thugged out’ hooking up the chorus and a verse, an unlikely collabo? Yeah but its not that bad and sees missy going crazy on the hook. Newest cash money star Juvenile goes toe to toe with Nore and his crew for ‘Play the shit’ but suffers the same fate as the rest of the tracks, the haunting synths over the cash money sounding beat just demolishes each rappers presence. The skits that appear can become annoying, its just most of Nore's thugs getting high in the studio and talking shit like how pigeons are like hip hoppers and even Animal thug makes a re appearance as the closer track and while its funny on first listening to it you just wish it had been left off.

I nearly gave this album a 6/10 but listening to it more its neither gonna have longevity or make a mark on hip hop as a great achievement. If this is what Noreaga has gotta do to make the money or please his current fan base then that’s his decision but if your gonna buy this album you now know what to expect and if its for you then go ahead and get it but don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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