Above the Law

Forever: Rich Thugs, Book One

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Recording for Street Solid in the late '90s, Gregory Hutchinson -- who also went by Cold 187um as well as Big Hutch -- had two careers. The South Central L.A. gangsta rapper launched a solo career with 1999's Executive Decisions, but he was still a member of Above the Law, whose Forever: Rich Thugs is among the group's more memorable releases. Lyrically, this CD breaks no new ground for ATL, who still rap in the first person about players, pimps, and hustlers and don't offer any insights that they weren't offering nine years earlier. But while Forever: Rich Thugs isn't groundbreaking, the CD commands attention thanks to its infectious beats, above average hooks, and melodic grooves. Whether Hutch, Big Mil, or DJ Silk is doing the producing, Dr. Dre's sleek production style is an influence throughout the album. Without question, Forever: Rich Thugs is among ATL's best-sounding CDs. To be sure, ATL's lyrics can be quite predictable, but musically, Forever: Rich Thugs has no problem grabbing one's attention and keeping it.

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