Str8 Off tha Streetz of Muthaphu**in Compton

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At the time of his death, Eazy-E was completing a comeback album that was intended to restore his street credibility, which had taken a savage beating in the early '90s. Str8 Off tha Streetz of Muthaphu**in Compton, the album he left unfinished, does show more ambition than his previous It's On, but it's unlikely that it would have made him a star again. Collaborating with his former N.W.A partners MC Ren and Yella, Eazy-E sounds revitalized, but the music simply isn't imaginative. Instead of pushing forward and creating a distinctive style, it treads over familiar gangsta territory, complete with bottomless bass, whining synthesizers, and meaningless boasts. The occasional track, like the surrealistic "Tha Mutha******in Real" and the menacing "Ole School ***t," illustrate what Eazy-E could have done if hadn't been tied to his pedestrian production, but the majority of Str8 Off tha Streetz is depressingly by the book. Sadly, the album is the farthest thing from a graceful departure.

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