Lady of Rage was Death Row's attempt to reach the female market, but there isn't that much difference between her 1997 debut, Necessary Roughness, and the bulk of latter-day Death Row releases. Like many other later-period Death Row records, the form is more important than the content. Necessary Roughness is filled with minimally produced, bass-heavy productions that emphasize a fat, rolling groove. While there isn't anything particularly special about the rhythms, they are well-produced and occasionally catchy, and they often show more care than the lyrics, which tend be simple gangsta cliches. For hardcore gangsta fans, there's enough going on in the beats to make Necessary Roughness worth a listen or two, but for casual fans of the genre, it may seem a little too generic.
AllMusic Review by Leo Stanley