Various Artists - Ruff Ryders Vol. 1      
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written by J-Ro    
The Ruff Ryders crew, DMX, Drag-On, Eve, The Lox, and Ja Rule. May be the best crew in hip hop today! Just playing. These guys are the definition of wack. DMX has been dropping info about this joint and have some of the crew appear on his last album 'Flesh Of My Flesh, Blood Of My Blood.' Well they finally got to the studio and produced the compilation. The CD features production mostly by producer extraordinaire Swizz Beats. You may remember Swizz from the last DMX CD also. Now like most hip hop cds now most of you guys who come to the site have heard a nice percentage of this cd already. The cd starts with an intro and followed by maybe the worst song Ive heard in awhile 'Down Bottom.' It features the stereotypical Down South Hustler type cat by the name of Juvenile and CamRons clone, Drag-On. This is a terrible Swizz produced track and Drag-On tries to keep pace throughout the song with Juvi. 'Bug Out' by DMX is a new type feel for Dark Man X as he rhymes over an Ohio Players beat. This is pretty dope but too bad it clocks in at 1:19. DMX is only featured on 3 tracks total and one is 'Some X Shit.' This song was premiered on "Tha Real" so most of yall know this song but for the ones that dont its just some basic DMX ish. With the barking and all that something his big fans will dig. Xs 3rd track is 'Ryde Or Die' which sample EPMDs 'Headbanger.' This is the lead single and has a video for it. I dont really feel for this song for obvious reasons, Eve and Drag-On. Every time I hear them they get worse and worse. You would think a little experience on the mic would help but think again. The Lox and DMX drop decent verses but Eve and Drag-On make it a decent track. 'Platinum Plus' is a emcee dream team of Mase, JD, Cross, and Jadakiss. Haha. Its a pretty good beat by Swizz but the lack of lyrical excellence ruins it. 'Pina Colada' is a Caribbean style joint and has Pun and Sheik on it. The beats are decent and the hook is ridiculous but Pun spits some nice rhymes and makes it another of the many average tracks. Jay-Z does a solo cut 'Jigga My Nigga', a typical Jay Hovah track and something the mainstreamers will dig. The rest of the CD is a lot of Eve and Drag-On tracks. Drag and Eve actually do a track together, I had to pop in Eric B. and Rakim after that joint. Nokio of Dru Hill has 2 solo cuts which are both average. 'The Hood' is some pretty hype ish features Beanie Seigel who I am really feeling right now but Drag-On drops his usual CamRon impersonation but its pretty good though. 'Do That Shit' has Eve and Nokio on the track with Swizz attempting a Salsa beat. Eve who has dropped some signs that she actually has skills fails to show that here. Eve really should stop riding the Foxy/Lil Kim flow and try to originate her style, but she is a whole lot better than that clone Drag-On (even his name Is similar to Rons, Drag must be his evil twin or some shit.) But I will give The Lox props for going back to their old flow. The come off real nice on 'Kiss Of Death' with a real dope synthesized beat from Swizz. Maybe the best track on the entire CD. Lox also rip it on 'Dope Money,' they are really the best on this CD and deserve credit.

All and all this is maybe the worst release in 99. It was torturous to have to listen to this garbage for this review. Dont buy this album, do the smart thing save your $16 for new Mobb Deep or new Naughty By Nature joint. This compilation seems more like a soundtrack than an album.

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