MC Shan

Down by Law

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MC Shan's album debut wasn't a success, despite the presence of one justifiable rap classic and several other interesting ideas for songs. Most of the problem lay in Marley Marl's productions, which took the sound of MC Shan no farther than his massive hit, "The Bridge," and seemed to merely duplicate the process with every track. Shan opened with a pair of intriguing project stories, one about a solid student turned junkie ("Jane, Stop This Crazy Thing") and the other about an easy girl ("Project 'Ho"). Admittedly, these tracks weren't quite as exciting as they were compelling, but Marley Marl's constant focus on stuttered-sampling madness soon lapsed into mildness and then simple frustration. Shan got a bit more hardcore on "Kill That Noise," responding again to KRS-One and Boogie Down Productions, and finally returned to the astounding energy level of "The Bridge" with a pair of later tracks, "Down by Law" and "Living in the World of Hip Hop."

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