MC Eiht - n' My Neighborhood (Priority Records)
When the definitive history of hip-hop is written, MC Eiht probably will be recognized as a pioneer. One of the originators of a style that came to be known as "gansta rap," his career has been spent spinning street-wise rhymes about life on the streets in South-Central Los Angeles.
On his new album, n' My Neighborhood, MC Eiht continues along the path he has chosen. Each of the 13 tracks is an ode to girls, guns and being let down by the system. As always, MC Eiht has produced a polished product with lively grooves and skillful raps, but sadly, the effect seems more nostalgic than current.
An album that seems more rooted in 1992 than 2000, n' My Neighborhood seems unable to accept that the music industry has changed in the past several years. While contemporaries like Dr. Dre and Ice Cube have moved forward, both musically and with their themes, MC Eiht seems content to produce the same album over and over again.
That's not to say that n' My Neighborhood is not well done. Each track seems to be a deliberate homage to those heady days when the rap revolution delivered on its promise and exploded into the mainstream. Of course, there are scores of albums, actually produced in the early '90s that serve the same purpose and leave n' My Neighborhood feeling like a hollow exercise.
MC Eiht's distinctive style and sure ear for rhythms and rhyme make him interesting. Unless he takes his music up the next step and breaks some new ground, however, MC Eiht will never be more than a follower of a trend long-since discarded by the hip-hop community.
Reach Steven Uhles at (706) 823-3626 or firstname.lastname@example.org.