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Artist: M.O.P.
Album: Warriorz
Label: Loud Records
Production: DJ Premier, Fizzy Womack, DR Period, Mahogany, artist, Laze E Laze, Nottz, Chris Coker, Curt Cazal
Guests: Tephlon, Product G&B, Funkmaster Flex, Lord Have Mercy
Stats: 2000, 19 Tracks at 73mins16secs
Reviewed by: Eitan Prince aka Supafly

When I'm in an introspective mood, I may indulge in music by Mos Def or Common. If I'm looking for lyrical inspiration, I'd probably turn to classics by Rakim or KRS One. However, what do you do when you're bursting to hand someone a serious beatdown (or, well, just looking to let off some steam)? Look no further than MOP - the Mash Out Posse - those masters of high-energy, heart-felt roughneck rap music.

"Warriorz" is the fourth offering - believe it - by this New York twosome. And, as with their previous releases, this album contains a healthy compliment of production by Gang Starr's DJ Premier - six cuts, which is always a useful draw card. This time around, though, Billy and Li'l Fame aka Fizzy Womack prove that their appeal runs deeper than just the funk behind their voices, as they outshine Primo's work.

With 18 full tracks, there are plenty of dope cuts to choose from. However, the undisputed highlight is the anthemic 'Ante Up', with its thumping drums, horn stabs and Danz and Fizzy rhyming like there's no tomorrow: "Fool, what you want? /We stifling fools/Fool, what you want? /Your life or your jewels" - as they break down the art of the robbery, no less. 'G Building' is typically 'thugged-out', but driven by beats and lyrical delivery that are so attractively relentless that it's hard to fast-forward.

'Nig-gotiate' and 'Cold As Ice', meanwhile, provide a welcome change in the album's soundscape. The former is a smoky jazz joint, which the two MCs completely tear to bits, while the latter is a minimalist excursion that is cleverly orchestrated around a sped-up sample - scalped from a Foreigner song by the same title incidentally.

However, the album suffers as a result of a couple of pedestrian moments: Primo's excursion into R&B on 'Everyday' is more miss than hit while the title track is simply too tame, collapsing under MOP's overpowering vocal presence. There are also occasions where the group sound as if they're recycling content, which is, well, almost inevitable over 18 tracks of brutal thuggery.

Don't sleep, though, as the album's pros far outweigh its shortcomings, giving MOP their most consistent body of work to date. So, ante up and explore the thug in you. [8/10]

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