In 1996, the debate over gangsta rap raged on. Anti-gangsta rap activist C. Delores Tucker made headlines by railing against the form's violent imagery, while gangsta rappers insisted that they were simply telling it like it was and "keeping it real." What Tucker didn't realize was that gangsta at its best (Ice-T, Ice Cube) wasn't simply cheap exploitation, but a cry for help and an informative audio documentary on ghetto life. Unfortunately, gangsta on the whole had long since lost its freshness and become extremely predictable. While Above the Law's lyrics sounded fresh on its first album, Livin' Like Hustlers, the L.A. gangsta outfit was sounding pretty clichéd lyrically when it joined Tommy Boy with Time Will Reveal. Before playing the CD, one could guess that it consisted of more first person accounts of "pimpin' and hustlin'" -- and sure enough, that's exactly what it consists of. But as predictable as ATL's lyrics are, Cold 187um's sleek production is something to admire. 187's very musical, Dr. Dre-influenced production style keeps things fresh, although the lyrics show little or no growth.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson