Do or Die

D.O.D.

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Perseverance in hip-hop tends not to pay off when you start strong and can't maintain momentum the second time out. Unlike a lot of other rap artists who debuted with a big single during the '90s, Do or Die did not fall off the face of the earth. They didn't dissolve after a second LP, either. They've remained active since 1996's "Po Pimp," building a catalog of albums that has been snapped up by a core following, despite only three charting singles to their credit. The group's sixth album, D.O.D., marks a move from Rap-a-Lot to The Legion, a new label with major distribution. The recent successes of fellow Chicagoans Kanye West, group collaborator Twista, and Shawnna (all of whom make appearances here) have possibly spurred renewed industry support for the group, evidenced by the not-exactly-cheap roster of producers on board for this album. They get some of the best beats to work with since their debut, provided by West, Scott Storch, DJ Quik, No I.D., and longtime collaborator Traxster. The result is both the hardest and one of the most soul-drenched albums they've released to date, and it's also one of their best. And if this happened to be a debut, rather than a fine release from some veterans associated with an eight-year-old hit, it would probably receive a just amount of attention. [A chopped and screwed edition of the album was also made available.]

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