Young and Thuggin'

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While many perceive Cash Money Millionaires' massiveness to be everything that is wrong with 21st century hip-hop, it is hard to refuse the clique's uncanny knack for making catchy music. Cash Money's projects are churned out cookie-cutter style, similar to the work of their New Orleans predecessor Master P (and to some extent projects by Dr. Dre and Wu-Tang Clan) in that an album is an umbrella project with a feature MC, in this case Turk. Turk is not an abundantly talented MC, even for the thug rap genre, but neither is any member of CMM in the strict lyrical/verbal sense for that matter. What is compelling about Cash Money's projects is their producers' acute sense of making melodies that have musical value. While this musical value may equate to pop appeal in the vein of Backstreet Boys/*NSYNC/Britney Spears (captivating and selling millions, but gaining little respect for making meaningful music), it is hard to deny the power of mass appeal. Turk is truly an average icy thug rapper and sounds like a carbon copy of his more successful Cash Money partner, Lil Wayne, but he is very adept at carrying his lyrics over the Bayou beats dropped by CMM resident producer Mannie Fresh. CMM in a sense have mastered the game; by maintaining absolute creative control they don't have to deal with a parent label (Universal) mandate because they have achieved platinum success with their own formula. There is no true standout cut on this album, but with Mannie Fresh's syrupy beats dripping all over these danceable tracks, it is easy to see why the populace continues to demand more of this stuff. CMM impresario Baby says it best on the "Finna Records" interlude: "Life is real simple, get money, be successful, that's the plan/If you don't like it, don't buy it, don't listen to it." Sometimes a tough truth to swallow, but when it comes to selling records, Baby might as well be Confucius.

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