A product of the San Francisco Bay Area rap scene, Rappin' 4-Tay is known for his associations with Too Short and the late Tupac Shakur, and sadly, he's also known for serving prison and jail terms on various charges, some drug-related. In fact, 4-Tay had been locked up in San Quentin Prison when Off Parole came out in 1996 and sold over 300,000 units. A positive and congenial tone defines 4-Tay's fourth album, 4 Tha Hard Way, which favors melodic, R&B-flavored tracks. "Lay Ya Gunz Down" and "Element of Surprize" lament the type of crime and violence he'd seen too much of among young Black men, and on the thoughtful "Ain't Nobody Coachin'," 4-Tay urges hip-hoppers to do everything they can to coach and help younger rappers. This decent but not remarkable CD made listeners hope that 4-Tay would heed his own advice and stay out of trouble.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson