Following an unexpectedly successful debut album, driven by the hit single "Ain't No Future in Yo' Frontin'," that made him one of the -- if not the -- Midwest's first rap superstars, MC Breed went gangsta for his second album. Blame N.W.A. and the rest of the West Coast, which was on the rise in a major way at the time, if you want, but Breed definitely abandoned much of the open-minded, East-crossed-with-West style that characterized his unique debut album and adopted an Ice Cube-like posture for 20 Below. Gone were the Public Enemy samples of his debut album and in were more of the P-Funk-influenced motifs that made "Ain't No Future in Yo' Frontin'" such a popular song. Many of his fans were disappointed, and rightfully so. Where Breed had been quite socially conscious in a positive way on his debut, showing more than a little Chuck D influence, he is socially conscious in a negative way here, being more exploitative than passionate. Many, particularly his Midwest and East Coast fans, saw through his facade and accused him of trying to cash in on the West Coast trend that had been ignited a year before largely by N.W.A.'s Niggaz4life and Ice Cube's Death Certificate, two extremely successful albums that hit number one and number two, respectively, on Billboard's pop charts. It's perhaps no surprise that 20 Below would subsequently become Breed's least-remembered album; however, a year later he would more successfully cash in on the West Coast trend sweeping the rap world with his The New Breed album, where he worked with songwriter/producer D.O.C. and had a hit single with 2 Pac, "Gotta Get Mine."
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AllMusic Review by Jason Birchmeier