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Best album of 1999 | The rest of the Best of 1999
KURUPT, Tha Streetz Iz A Mutha, Antra
This is the album Dr. Dre should have made. Released on the same day as the highly anticipated 2001, Kurupt's The Streetz Iz A Mutha eclipses his mentor's project on several levels. Lyrically, Kurupt brings more authenticity with rhymes that come from the dome and not someone else's pen. And the production takes risks and mixes elements of old and new to compose a virtual masterpiece. His former Death Row inmate Warren G might want it all, but Kurupt's already got it: "Loose Cannons" is a throwback to the N.W.A days; "Who Ride Wit Us" is vintage g-funk influenced by forefathers Zapp and George Clinton; "Represent Dat G.C." follows suit with a dance-floor vibe; "Tryology" ranks among the best Wu-Tang-style beats with its string-laced track; and "Welcome Home" is a smoothed-out ode to L.A. Kurupt also gets full support from the Dogg Pound. Warren G, Snoop Dogg, Tray Dee, Nate Dogg, Soopafly and of course Daz remind you of the good old days of the wild, wild West on tracks like "Neva Gonna Give It Up," "Tha Streetz Iz A Mutha," "It Ain't About You" and "Girls All Pause," the first single. Dre makes an appearance as well, as "Housewife" pulls double duty on this album. To top it all off, the album closes out with "Live on the Mic," a freestyle session with KRS-One. Skits are kept to a minimum, highlighted by the return of Big Pimpin', WBALLS and Kevin "Slow Jammin'" James and a parody of DMX. Which brings us to the bonus track. Despite all the fuss, "Calling Out Names" is nothing more than a lyrical middle finger directed at DMX and others in the true spirit of battle rap. It's personal and hardly an attack on the East Coast. In fact, he praises more New York artists than he disses on the track (Buckshot, Noreaga, Jigga, Canibus, Wu-Tang, Eve and Def Squad to name quite a few). From the moment he steps to the mic and pays homage to Rakim on the opening cut, Kurupt let's you know it's on. Put simply, this is West Coast hip-hop at its best.
Click here to find out how to buy this album.

-- Mason Storm

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