Ruff Ryders

Ryde or Die, Vol. 3: In the "R" We Trust

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Expanding their reach beyond their East Coast locale, the Ruff Ryders collective features a number of rappers from the South on their third Ryde or Die volume along with an array of new producers. Songs such as "Some South Shit" (featuring Ludacris, Fiend, and Yung Wun) and "They Ain't Ready" (featuring Bubba Sparxxx alongside Jadakiss over a Timbaland production) will probably surprise those accustomed to preceding Ruff Ryders releases, which tend to feature exclusively East Coast artists. These songs are deliberate attempts to appeal to the growing legions of listeners championing the Dirty South movement. Elsewhere, "Eastside Ryders" features tha Eastsidaz alongside Styles, functioning as the album's West Coast track. Besides these West- and South Coast-targeting tracks, the remaining songs are what you've come to expect from the Ruff Ryders camp. Eve offers one of her best moments yet on "U, Me & She," one of the album's singles, produced by Ja Rule collaborator Irv Gotti. There's also the obligatory DMX track, "Friend of Mine," and several songs featuring members of the LOX. Furthermore, there are several new producers on this volume in addition to staple Ruff Ryder producers Swizz Beatz and P.K. These newcomers remain consistent with the trademark synth-heavy Ruff Ryder sound but do bring a fresh approach to the album that was somewhat missing on the preceding volume. Chances are, if you enjoyed the previous volumes -- or if you simply enjoy the sound of commercial rap circa 2001 -- you'll find much to savor here. There's enough variety here to offer something for everyone, even if that means no one will enjoy everything.

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