April 21, 2015

Above The Law - Livin' Like Hustlers (1990)


Two scratches and you're off into one of the wildest West coast hip hop albums ever made. Livin' Like Hustlers is gangsta rap, but the group's cool sense of aloofness is nothing like the anger of N.W.A. Along with Ice-T, Above The Law was one of the first West coast artists to start the playa rap/gangsta rap synthesis. There is minimal help from the Ruthless studio musicians on this particular album, making the sampling and drum tracks very important, but Dre and 187 murder every track on here with clever and jamming beats. The switch offs between Cold 187um's bouncy voice and ice-cold lyrics and KMG's quiet monotone gangsta speech makes the lyricism stand out even more. Funky classic after funky classic makes this my favorite album ever released on Ruthless Records and one of my favorite hip hop albums ever. If you like the gangsta-political lyrics of Ice Cube, Ice-T, or even the pace of the Coup's albums this should be right up your alley.

Sample

Livin' Like Hustlers