MGF Reviews Mack 10 – The Best of Mack 10: Foe Life


Mack 10 – The Best of Mack 10: Foe Life
Capitol/Priority (12/4/07)
Hip-hop / Rap

Dedrick “Mack 10” Rolison has crafted quite the career just beneath the gangsta rap radar. While never achieving the A-list fame (or mug shot infamy) of peers like Snoop Dogg, Eazy-E or his mentor Ice Cube, Mack 10 hung around long enough to release eight albums in a career that’s produced more good material than you might think.

Of course, “good” and “gangsta rap” aren’t always synonymous. Mack 10’s limited scope and subject matter haven’t evolved a lick since his 1995 debut, which is represented here with his first-ever single “Foe Life”. If you’ve never heard it, it’s worth hunting down for the pulsating freight train beat and a hungry, anxious-to-explode Mack 10 on the mic.

Oddly enough, two of the worst cuts from his first album are on here, as well. “On Them Thangs” and “Mozi Wozi” were ill-advised sampling catastrophes 12 years ago and they’ve aged about as well as you’d expect.

As with any “greatest hits” album, there’s bound to be arguments over what made the final cut and what didn’t. In this instance, however, some of the omissions are simply inexcusable. Mack 10’s second album, Based on a True Story, produced the single biggest hit of his solo career (“Backyard Boogie”), but, oddly enough, it’s nowhere to be found here. The Snoop ‘n’ Cube assisted “Only in California” is a nice consolation prize, but absent are cuts like the raucous “Inglewood Swangin'” or even Mack’s decent “Dopeman” remix.

In 1998, Mack 10 dropped The Recipe, which was admittedly uneven, but included several underrated cuts. Yet, again, the best ones aren’t on here. Mack’s maudlin imitation inspirational track with Gerald Levert (“Money’s Just a Touch Away”) is just terrible. Points for the inclusion of “Get Yo Ride On”, featuring Eazy-E, but those gains are lost from not having “Let the Games Begin” (co-starring Fat Joe and Big Pun at the top of their game) or “LBC & The ING” (one of Snoop’s most inspired guest spots, ever).

And, the number of duds over these 19 tracks isn’t exactly hard to hide. Quite possibly the worst Dr. Dre beat in his illustrious career is at the center of “Hate In Yo Eyes”—a single that lifts liberally from… the Bee Gees. “Do the Damn Thing” is also from Mack 10’s brief affair with Cash Money Records and the results are about the same.

By swapping out about a half dozen songs from his 2000-2005 era with more of his earlier stuff, one would truly have a reflection of Mack 10’s greatest hits. As it stands, the listener is left with some long out-of-print gems (the phenomenal “Nothin’ But the Cavi Hit” with Daz and Kurupt), a few questionable additions and far too many songs that should’ve been here.

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