|Album:||The Art of Storytelling|
|Production:||"Bimmy" Antney, DJ Clark Kent, Track Masters, Nod, Tyrone Fyffe, Rashad Smith, S&S, Raymond Deal, DJ Run, T. Rusiak, Dame Grease etc.|
|Stats:||1999; 24 Tracks @ 73mins:15secs|
|Reviewed by:||Eitan Prince|
If this was meant to be the Ruler's big comeback, then I'm not so sure that it works. The man also known as MC Ricky D has never really lost his ability to slickly mesh words into an entertaining and often humorous story, but this time around his lyrical skills only just succeed in keeping this album together. Rick enlists the assistance of a number of guests that include notable contributions from Big Boi (OutKast), Nas, Raekwon, Snoop Doggy Dogg, and almost inevitably, his old sidekick, Doug E. Fresh.
While the album features a mish mash of producers, the formula stays the same with Rick verses followed by the predictable hook. This isn't necessarily bad, and Rick does pull it off, but the beats aren't always up to scratch - sometimes unspiring and other times outdated - and this really brings the album down. There is a definite uneveness in the sound of the album, which is probably a case of too many cooks.
The weakness of this album is shown up by the fact that the highlights of the album are with the live versions of "The Show" and "La Di Da Di". While the new material contains some gems, a lot of them won't grab even die hard Rick fans.
At the end of it all though, this is not an album to be taken too seriously, and Rick does drops some jams that just allow you to kick back and laugh ("Adults Only") or get down ("Memories") as only Rick knows how to do.
A mixed bag.
STANDOUT TRACKS: Street Talkin', I Own America Part 2, Memories, Frozen, I Run This.
RECOMMENDED? Most will pick this up out of curiosity. You won't miss it if you don't. [6.5/10]