Various Artists

West Coast Bad Boyz, Vol. 1

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West Coast Bad Boyz, Vol. 1 was the first significant shot from Master P, the mastermind behind the South's fiercely independent gangsta label No Limit. Master P was the executive producer of West Coast Bad Boyz, Vol. 1, organizing the entire project, reigning in big names like Too $hort, finding unknown rappers and defining the sound, which is essentially cheaply-produced G-Funk. Nobody on the compilation is a particularly gifted rapper, nor is the music original or even interesting (it occasionally is terrible, as a matter of fact), but West Coast Bad Boyz, Vol. 1, along with its successor, illustrates what some hip-hoppers mean by "keeping it real" -- i.e., keep turning out the same hardcore rap, without any musical or lyrical innovations. And, if you agree with that viewpoint, West Coast Bad Boyz, Vol. 1 probably is a record for you. If not, it's a mighty rough ride.

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