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In the late '90s, bigger meant better in hip-hop. Ever since 2Pac raised the stakes with his double-disc opus All Eyez on Me, rappers were racing to keep pace, issuing double-disc albums at the drop of a hat. And that's why it didn't really come as a surprise when Eightball released Lost as a triple-disc set in the summer of 1998. Upon close inspection, the third disc is revealed to be a sampler of the Suave House record label. Unfortunately -- for Eightball's sake, at least -- that sampler turns out to be more interesting than Lost. Even though it's his first album without MJG, Eightball sounds no different on Lost than he did on any of its predecessors -- he's simply turning out the same Southern gangsta riffs as he has for years. The law of averages guarantees that there's a fair share of strong material here, but it's a shame that none of it sounds as inspired as the best moments of the third disc. The Suave House sampler showcases Southern rap at its best -- it's raunchy, lyrically deft, and above all, funky. Master P, Goodie Mob, Mystikal, Silkk the Shocker, Psÿcho Drama, and many other rappers are featured on the sampler, which provides an excellent introduction to Southern rap. That alone makes Lost worth picking up, and in that context, the averageness of Eightball's double-disc effort isn't so bad. [Lost was later reissued in 2003 without the Suave House sampler, reducing it to a straightforward double-disc album as originally intended.]

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