Master P

Game Face

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Master P wore his "game face" in 2001 because he'd become somewhat of a joke in some circles. No one joked when he was selling millions of albums every week during the late '90s, but the game changed in the early 2000s. Master P's No Limit empire had indeed finally reached its limit. After increasingly sluggish sales, all that remained was family -- Silkk the Shocker, C-Murder, Lil' Romeo, and Master P himself. Yet just when it looked as if Master P was ready to become another has-been rapper, he put on his game face and went to work. This album represents Master P's new direction. He's not so much the hardcore gangsta rapper of old -- the "Ice Cream Man" you once knew him as -- but rather a serious, business-minded man on a mission. Perhaps having learned a lesson from the spectacular success of his son, Lil' Romeo, Master P isn't afraid to take the pop-rap approach, interpolating hits from the past -- big hits, like Funkadelic's "One Nation Under a Groove," Kurtis Blow's "The Breaks," and the Bee Gees' "More Than a Woman," just to name a few. In fact, nearly every song here recycles a proven hit. And the ones that don't, like the album's big single, "Ooohhhwee," hark back to the sort of songs that had always proven successful for No Limit -- in this case, the "Wobble Wobble"-style club track that's as much for the ladies as for the thugs. But just because Master P is more determined to get "back on top," as he raps about here with his brothers, that doesn't necessarily mean he has improved his music. Game Face isn't any more impressive than any of his past few albums since Ghetto D. However, it is a much more accessible album because of the pop approach. Plus, it's nice to see Master P get away from the excessive number of guests and the thuggish posturing that had so characterized his previous work.

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