Kool G Rap

The Giancana Story

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Delayed for over a year while Rawkus sorted out its increasingly labyrinthine label affiliations (it was eventually licensed to a Koch subsidiary), The Giancana Story proves that time means nothing to one of the greatest rappers ever (though Rawkus took it too far when they declared "the game was named after him"). Don't call it a comeback because he never left -- he recorded continually during the '90s -- but Kool G's third solo record illustrates the rare case of the hip-hop world moving closer to a veteran than when he made his breakout. What sounded refreshing and genuinely unique in 1990 -- check out before-their-time shots like "Road to the Riches" or "Streets of New York" -- was becoming nearly ubiquitous by the end of the millennium, and besides slipping in a few more words per line than he used to, the first real hardcore rapper hasn't changed his style a whit (or needed to). The opener, "Thug for Life," is as clean a track as any classic golden-age production, but with the type of mid-tempo roll that gets it closer to later hardcore rap. The single "My Life," with Capone-N-Noreaga, is the best track here, the only one with any crossover appeal (via a remix complete with talk box and stuttered chorus). Everything else is pure hardcore rap, with all the dark intelligence and heavy venom hip-hop fans expect from a master.

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