Ruff Ryders - Redemption, Vol. 4

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The Ruff Ryders camp is back with an album featuring lots of Ruff Ryders that you've never heard of before, and lots of tracks that you'll never want to hear again. The first single Get Wild (Scott Storch) features DMX, Jadakiss, Kartoon, and Flashy. Get Wild re-introduces the world to DMX, who sounds absolutely pissed, encouraging us to get high, get drunk, bounce and not give a fuck. The chemistry between he and Kiss somehow isn't quite there, as Kiss is much more focused on verbal articulation and precision.

There are a couple of highlights. Stay Down featuring Akon and Flashy is a ballad/ rap song about how society restricts blacks to struggling on the streets. Akon plays his position on the hook, with that sad but interesting vocal tone, while flashy laments the usual block woes: drugs, violence, and despair, as well as the overtold tale of college girls "forced" to strip to pay tuition.

Kiss rides on If It's Beef with the usual step-by-step methodical flow that you've come to love, but plays it safe in terms of content (no references to George Bush taking down the towers). Flashy, Kartoon, and Infa Red add decent verses about the status of the game, the Ruff Ryder lifestyle, etc...Flashy's energy definitely stands out. There's also a Keep the Gun Cocked remix to If Its' Beef, showcasing more explosive JadaKiss, although the beat isn't as hot.

Jin gives a heavy dose of punch lines about the recent controversy/rumors/news of his impending "retirement" on Aim For Ya Head.

It's a wrap your career cannot be saved/Fuck makin a comeback you ain't Flava Flav/Ain't got no platinum plaques for records sold/But if eatin rappers was sales,I'm seven times gold.

Kartoon adds a murderous rap about... well... murder, called Blood in the Streets.

Nobody gave me this vision I seen the shit myself/As far as rap goes I'm just/competing with myself/So some of my niggas I'm speaking to myself/Rap niggas can't fuck with me, I'm sleeping with myself/I'm having my biggest issues beefing with myself/Might do some shit just to get even with myself/But look how far I got believing in myself

Throw it Up is a fast-paced Drag-On party anthem, while he partners with Chocolate Ty on a grim, raspy joint with an absurd hook: (Knock Knock: Who is it?/ Nigga let me the fuck in) and the beat is so repetitive that it seems to drone into your brain. (And not in a good way.)

Swizz Beats does contribute some nice production, and brief appearances by Styles P, Aja Smith, Pirate, and LT round out the disc. While this album doesn't come close to previous installments from the Ruff Ryders, it does hold some jewels for the true Double R fan.

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