8Ball and MJG

Ridin' High

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8ball & MJG (or Eightball & MJG, as they used to call themselves) have been the kings of Memphis rap for quite some time now, even going so far as to refer to themselves as "living legends." That's not exactly an overstatement. They've inspired countless Southern rappers and helped to foster a strong hip-hop community in their home city, and now, signed to Bad Boy Records, they're able to reach an even wider audience. Their second album on Diddy's label, Ridin High, is a super-produced tribute to the things the duo love best: drugs, money, and women (there's even a song titled "Alcohol Pussy Weed"). From the first single, "Relax and Take Notes" (featuring a Biggie line from "Dead Wrong," not any new material from the deceased rapper), to "Worldwide" to "30 Rock" (the only track to have a non-Southerner guest, this one being Mr. Combs himself), 8 and MJ rhyme their way through heavy synth crunk beats and smooth slow jams. Their lines aren't revolutionary -- the kind of typical braggadocio so much associated with hip-hop at this point -- but their delivery is fluid and well practiced, their cadences moving from singsongy triplets to rough and fast eighth notes easily, and only occasionally do their rhymes really fall short (the best example being, from the Jazze Pha-produced "Pimpin' Don't Fail Me Now," "I'm about to turn you inside out/I'm about to look into your heart though your mouth/With my dickoscope"). Listeners familiar with 8ball & MJG will probably be a little disappointed with Ridin High: it's more focused on club anthems than the group has been before, but it's this same thing that should make the album appeal to those looking for good, commercial Southern rap. The duo is aware of this transition, and the ever-growing popularity of their music and their audience, but they want to make sure everyone knows that that hasn't changed their lives or what they believe in. "I could give a muthaf*ck about a flow and hustle," 8 spits on "Memphis," which samples a short line from the Marc Cohn adult contemporary classic "Walking in Memphis." Maybe that's true, but mainstream success of a certain film, and a certain style, definitely won't hurt their album sales.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 00:48 Amazon
2 04:51
3 04:18 Amazon
4 04:29
5 05:20
feat: Pimp C
04:50 Amazon
feat: Diddy
04:23 Amazon
8 01:33 Amazon
9 04:53 Amazon
feat: Killer Mike
05:13 Amazon
feat: Yung Joc
03:50 Amazon
12 03:37 Amazon
13 00:30
14 03:56
15 04:26 Amazon
feat: Poo Bear
05:22 Amazon
feat: Al Kapone
03:59 Amazon
18 04:00
19 04:20
blue highlight denotes track pick