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Tough Luv

Young Gunz

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Album Review

Roc-a-Fella had high hopes for Young Gunz. They gave the Philadelphia duo top billing on the second State Property compilation, and that move paid off: "Can't Stop Won't Stop" hit the Top Ten of the rap track chart, and the accompanying video was in constant rotation on M2 and BET for at least two months. The Roc rolled the success of that track right into the first proper single from Tough Luv, "No Better Luv." Smoother in tone but no less lyrically challenged ("Give me the sex then I'm tired of y'all/So find the next to provide for y'all"), it was a bid to build the duo's female fan base. It worked, too. MCs Young Chris and Neef claim to be the future of their label in the wake of Jay-Z's supposed retirement, but they'll have to take their spot in line behind several others — despite a small clutch of high-performing single material (all of which owe much to the production work), the two are, at best, third- or fourth-stringers. Though they strive for something deeper, the album isn't much beyond a decent party record, and a good percentage of the lyrics leave a lot to be desired. They're caught up, too willing to rely on their associations. However, forget not that Young Gunz's low stature within Roc-a-Fella says more about the depth of the label's roster than anything else.

Biography

Formed: Philadelphia, PA

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Young Gunz began as just two of the numerous rappers in Roc-a-Fella's State Property collective, yet all it took was one runaway hit, "Can't Stop, Won't Stop," to distance them from the pack and elevate them into the spotlight. The Philadelphia duo — Young Chris (born Chris Ries) and Neef (born Hanif Muhammad) — debuted with brief appearances on the first State Property album (2001) and, more importantly, got a high-profile shoutout in Jay-Z's "Takeover" earlier that year. However, it...
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Tough Luv, Young Gunz
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