When Mack 10 returned in 1997 with his second album, Based on a True Story, the West Coast gangsta movement had began to simmer in the aftermath of Death Row's dissolution, 2Pac's death, Too Short's retirement, Dr. Dre's confusion, and Ice Cube's move to Hollywood. Mack gladly fills the void with a spirited album that's proudly Cali and proudly gangsta, and he brings along a few select guests -- Cube, Snoop, and producer Ant Banks -- who further rally the remaining West Coast fan base. Perhaps most importantly, though, Mack maintains a lighthearted attitude here that emphasizes good times and sunny, loping G-funk rhythms rather than the sort of menacing, hardest-of-the-hardcore one that so many of his West Coast peers had turned toward in the post-2Pac era. This lighthearted attitude is evident throughout, particularly on the album's highlights: the early-album party-starter "Backyard Boogie," the Ant Banks-laced E-40 duet "Can't Stop," and the Snoop-Cube-Mack team-up "Only in California." Mack furthermore throws in a trio of especially fun interpolations: "Mack 10, Mack 10" (U.T.F.O.'s "Roxanne, Roxanne"), "Inglewood Swingin'" (Kool & the Gang's "Hollywood Swinging"), and "Dopeman" (N.W.A.'s "Dopeman"). Amid all of these standouts, Mack throws in a few skits and guests along with some fine if unexceptional filler, keeping the album overall quite lean at just under 50 minutes. Based on a True Story is one of the best West Coast gangsta rap albums of 1997, an otherwise lackluster year for the style.
AllMusic Review by Jason Birchmeier
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