The Luniz

Operation Stackola

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The Luniz's Operation Stackola is the group's most accomplished and best-selling LP. Featuring the Oakland-based duo's only major hit, "I Got Five on It," the album drew attention and admiration from other hip-hop artists, but never crossed over into the pop mainstream. The woofer-shaking bassline and eerie bell-like keyboards of "I Got Five on It" made it a hip-hop anthem of the mid-'90s. Since that time, it's been the subject of dozens of covers, the first of which was a reprise on Operation Stackola itself. Nothing else on the album quite lives up to the promise of that hit track, but a number of tracks reveal the group's songwriting potential. Few songs exceed 100 beats per minute, as is true to the Luniz's laid-back, West Coast roots. "Playa Hata" intertwines their drug-laced, gangster trash talking with a soulful R&B feel. The chorus of "Pimps, Playas, and Hustlers" (noticing a trend?) takes a page out of Cypress Hill's nasally vocal repertoire. And the title track starts off with a reggae speed rap, à la Shaggy or Shabba Ranks. There's plenty of filler, but it's still loaded with enough juice to keep the head noddin' for a good half-hour.

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