Do or Die


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A sense of soul doesn't often find its way into the often thuggish sound of gangsta rap, with the one notable exception of Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. And much like that unique Cleveland group, Do or Die approach gangsta rap ideology with a quick-paced rapping style, a uplifting-soulful feel, and plenty of harmony. For example, on Victory's lead single, "Can U Make It Hot," the bounce beats feature some uplifting strings, and the trio spew a rather melodic style of rapping, with Mo Unique laying down a nice R&B chorus -- it's a quite uncanny mix. Some of the songs on the album make this mix work wonderfully, such as the anthem-worthy "Bounce for Me," even if they sound a bit too contrived. So don't be intimidated by the trio's name, though they may pose as gangstas, naming their songs "Thuggin It Out" and "If U Scared," for example. This isn't the sort of ugly grime or sleazy pimping that one finds on the usual gangsta album; instead, most should find Do or Die's sound surprisingly accessible and unintimidating. They can pose all they want, but when they make such harmonious and soulful music, they come off a bit too refined for their own good. Yet in the end, when one looks past their near-paradoxical stance, their music does feature some nice melodic hooks that should score them substantial appeal.

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