"Foe life! Foe life!" Don’t front, you know Mack 10 had you shouting out that phrase back in junior high and high school (and in some of your cases, college). The year was 1995 and Ice Cube introduced us to is young protégé’ from Inglewood, California. Comparisons to the Don Mega arose, but did not hurt him one bit. In 1996, Mack 10 teamed up with Cube, and the shadiest one, W.C. The collective, known as Westside Connection, had you throwing up The W and telling everyone to "bow down." However, despite the success, Mack 10 seems to remain one of the West Coast’s slept on rhyme sayers. That’s definitely about to change now that he’s hit the spotlight with his much publicized marriage to TLC’s T-Boz, and his fourth album The Paper Route.
The Paper Route is not one of the banginest West Coast albums ever made, but it satisfies a hunger that is prevalent in rap today for more gangster-laced meals. Gangster is definitely the theme for this album, as it has been for every of Mack 10’s joints. The first single, "From Tha Streetz" is for all the people on the block that do their thing, and replants in the listener mind where Mack 10 comes from. "Keep It Gangsta" does just as the title suggests, while "Hustle Game" is a lesson for all the B.G.s trying to do big things in the game.
Where there is talk about gangsters, there definitely has to be talk about the women. "Pop X" deals with the new drug trend that has arisen in the world of hip-hop, which is ecstasy. Mack 10 teams up with a team of game spitters that include Xzibit and his young protégé’ Techniec as they boast about tales with X-cited women. "Pimp or Die" is a cut that will make some want to dust off their old picket signs protesting gangster rap. Especially since no pimp song is complete without Too Short. While listening to Mack 10’s rant on women, one may begin to wonder if he really feels this way about females considering he married a "clean cut" woman such as T-Boz. But before you have time to even dwell on the misogyny, "Tight To Def" featuring Ms. Mack 10 herself immediately takes you away. This track comes off as more as a T-Boz song considering she handles the vocals on about 80% of the song. This formula definitely works, and should give Mack 10 his first hit with the ladies.
The most impressive highlight of The Paper Route is Mack 10’s different approaches to the songs, as no track is like the other. The real revelations are "I’m Dope" and "Spousal Abuse." On "I’m Dope" Mack 10 makes use of metaphors as he rhymes from the perception of different drugs. Think of Nas’ "I Gave You Power", but with a twist. With "Spousal Abuse" Mack 10 gets deep and discusses his relationship with the mother of his two kids. Don’t let the title fool you. No O.J. Simpson type events are being portrayed. The heart of the matter is a shady woman that just can’t accept the fact that she will only be a "baby’s momma."
There’s a saying that goes "Three times a charm." In the case of Mack 10, it looks like the fourth time around is going to be the real charmer. Make sure to hit up that little paperboy on your block and tell him to deliver you The Paper Route.