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Veterans Day

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Album Review

Fifteen years deep in the game, MC Eiht soldiered on like the gangsta veteran that he is, releasing Veterans Day six weeks short of Veterans Day 2004. Seemingly unstoppable, the former Compton's Most Wanted rapper teamed up with fellow CMW compadre Tha Chill (aka Chill MC), who produces every track here and is featured on a few. The two survivors are skilled craftsmen at this point in their careers; neither is especially original or groundbreaking here, but they both stick to their guns and continue doing what they've done so well for years, namely street-corner gangsta rap. The result is another solid if unremarkable album courtesy of Eiht, not necessarily his best but definitely one of his best. The long-disillusioned onetime superstar just doesn't give any ground. There aren't any concessions to the crossover market — no pop-rap interpolations, no R&B duets, no love for women, no mercy for biters, no club tracks, and no brand-name collaborations. No, this is pure, undistilled gangsta rap bearing the stamp of Compton authenticity and released independently (through Native Records). If you're familiar with Eiht's music — whether his early-'90s work with CMW, his mid-'90s breakthrough albums for Epic Street, his late-'90s efforts for Priority, or his latter-day independent releases — you'll know what to expect here: for 15 years the guy has rapped in his own trademark fashion, and Veterans Day is no exception. Like most of his albums, this one includes a few great tracks ("U Know Why," "Livin Like G'staz") and a dozen or so good ones. All of them are gangsta to the core, and they all get streetlight-dark, bass-heavy, slow-grooving G-funk productions from Tha Chill. The MC-turned-producer puts in an impressive showing here, and since he's the only featured guest on any of the 16 songs on this 53-minute album, you really should consider this a two-man effort: Eiht on the mic, Chill with the beats. As such, Veterans Day feels relatively intimate, like you're stepping into the world of these two O.G.s for a while. And as such, the album also feels seamless — not like the hodgepodge of outsourced productions and overdubbed guest raps that most rap albums have become. Rather, this is a good old-fashioned underground rap album — done independently on a tight budget, with little pop-crossover pizzazz. Veterans Day is therefore a refreshing alternative to its overblown era of G-Units and Nellys, and more importantly, it's yet another solid release by the ever-enduring Eiht.


Born: May 22, 1967 in Compton, CA

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Veteran West Coast gangsta rapper MC Eiht dedicated much of his life to rap, beginning his seminal career with Compton's Most Wanted (CMW) while only a teenager. Despite his youth, Eiht's contributions helped catapult CMW to national fame in 1990 with It's a Compton Thang. The group followed the lead of fellow Compton gangsta rappers N.W.A, but were a bit less controversial and, in turn, much less popular. CMW released two more albums -- Straight Checkn 'Em (1991) and Music to Driveby (1992) -- before...
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Veterans Day, MC Eiht
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