Balls and My Word

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Though nothing on the packaging states so, Balls and My Word is Rap-a-Lot's attempt to spruce up a bunch of Scarface outtakes and make them seem like a new studio album by a departed and increasingly popular legend. Circa 2003, the year Rap-a-Lot released Balls and My Word, the Texas indie label was in dire straits. The rise of myriad indie rap labels during the early 2000s took away a big chunk of the Dirty South market that Rap-a-Lot once dominated; furthermore, the departure of the label's marquee artist, Scarface, for the greener pastures of industry heavyweight Def Jam certainly didn't help. Desperate times breed desperate measures, so Rap-a-Lot definitely goes for broke here on Balls and My Word, taunting 50 Cent, who was presently the industry's hottest rapper, on "Bitch Nigga." It's a baiting track, for sure -- one that absolutely begs for a response, one that would garner ridiculous media attention and, in turn, some much-needed publicity for Rap-a-Lot. The catch, of course, is that it's not Scarface who does the baiting; rather, it's Rap-a-Lot figurehead J Prince and his latest signee, Z-Ro, who hijack a dusty verse of 'Face's about snitches and misplace it into a new context. (Scarface has no beef whatsoever with 50 and, in fact, even went so far as to affirm this in the media.) This publicity ploy is downright crass and taints the entirety of Balls and My Word, a misleadingly packaged and marketed album that already reeks of exploitation. If you can look past all this, Balls and My Word does contain some quality performances by Scarface and his longtime producer, Mike Dean, as well as a production by Murder Inc.'s in-house mastermind, 7 Aurelius ("Spend the Night"). Even so, unless you're a huge fan (i.e., a completist), there's no need to spend your hard-earned cash on this collection of polished-up leftovers. There are just way too many other great, not to mention earnest, Scarface albums out there.

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