DAR Hip Hop: 9 Of The Greatest No Limit Albums

By @TrueGodImmortal

No Limit Records is one of the greatest labels of all time. In their heyday and prime, there weren't too many that could compete with the consistency and the unity that the Tank displayed. Led by the CEO Master P, No Limit would crank out album after album on a very frequent basis during the late 90s, as they would accumulate a number of gold and platinum plaques. With over 20 releases per year in their prime, No Limit cranked out albums that made the world listen. Today, I wanted to reflect back on 9 of those important releases and what they represent for the No Limit brand. Let's get into it. 

*Master P- Ghetto D (1997)

-For me, this is the album that truly represents the No Limit breakthrough. After the successful Ice Cream Man record, No Limit got right on the cusp of breaking out into the mainstream and they needed that one album to push them over the top. Ghetto D was that album. It had some controversy around it based on the title and the cover (which featured a drug addict smoking crack originally before it was changed), but aside from that, everything about this album hit on all cylinders for Master P and company. Despite the lack of top tier lyricism on No Limit albums, they made hit records and that's undeniable. This project would debut at No. 1 on the Billboard charts on the strength of singles "I Miss My Homies" and "Make Em Say Uhh", both of which were successful on the charts. The album would end up going triple platinum, staking the claim for No Limit as a force to be reckoned with, and positioning Master P as one of the biggest names in hip hop. This album featured more than enough appearances from the No Limit Family, as Silkk The Shocker, C-Murder, Mia X, and more made multiple appearances on the album. The Tank was stronger than ever after this album.

*504 Boyz- Goodfellas (2000)

-The importance of this album rests within the fact it represents the last bit of life for No Limit after having a slightly over saturated 1999. I had my doubts about this album when I heard about it, but I was pleasantly surprised when I finally got around to purchasing it alongside a copy of fellow New Orleans stars Big Tymers' album "I Got That Work". Essentially a compilation of all the No Limit artists, some artists here shine brighter than others. The real MVP of this album is the underrated Mac, who carries just about every song he is featured on, which is limited to 8 of the 22 tracks, but those 8 tracks are among the best on the album. Like most No Limit albums, this tracklist is a bit exhaustive and should be trimmed down, but when you have songs like the hit single "Wobble Wobble", the hood classic "I Can Tell", "Them Boyz", "Life Is Serious", "Uptown", and my personal favorite "Say Brah". This album is far from a classic, but it set Mac up to be the next one from New Orleans to really take the reigns and it's a shame that his situation changed before he could really take off. P does a good job of showcasing the strengths of his crew on this album, and with almost 1 million copies sold of this project, it clearly worked. 

*Mac- Shell Shocked (1998)

-The most underrated artist of the entire label deserved more credit for his albums. He was the best lyricist on the label, and he was also the most ambitious musically, and it showed mostly on this album. He would craft one of the better albums from No Limit, but if I could have one gripe about this project personally, it's that there are too many features. Usually, when you see a large number of features on a No Limit album, you don't mind because the truth is, those are needed for the artists like Silkk The Shocker, Master P, or even C-Murder. For artists like Fiend, Mystikal, or Mac, they weren't necessary. While the features from Soulja Slim, Magic, Mystikal, Mr. Serv-On, Snoop Dogg, and Fiend were welcomed, it's Mac who controls the show most of this album with his concise lyricism and his hit song aspirations. There was the moderate hit, the Mia X featured "Boss Chick", the posse tracks "Be All You Can Be" and "Wooo", and so much more on this album. They could have cut perhaps 5 to 6 songs off of this album, but that's the story with just about every No Limit album. This was a solid project from Max and with a gold plaque for this album, I would say it was a win for The Tank.

*TRU- Tru To The Game (1997)

-Now, this is not an album I would look at as a classic, but I definitely think it's the best overall album from TRU. Before the huge No Limit rush took over, this album started to put them on the map. It was the shifter that Ghetto D would turn out to be, but it would take things slightly further than Ice Cream Man setting the tone for the future of the Tank. This was a double album (no idea why), and it was one of the more concise projects in the early No Limit days, with some huge hits in the street and some on the charts. The power of Master P, Silkk The Shocker, and C-Murder was evident on this album. Despite needing to trim the project down a bit of course, there are some dope songs like the hilarious single "I Always Feel Like" (which samples the infamous Michael Jackson penned song by Rockwell "Somebody's Watching Me") with one of the most offbeat verses ever from Silkk The Shocker, but somehow it works. Other songs on this project like "Gangstas Make The World Go Round", "What They Call Us", "No Limit Soldier", "There Dey Go", "Freak Hoes", and "Pop Goes My 9" help to round out an album that is far from perfect, like most No Limit releases, but was extremely important to their ascension and their rise.

*C-Murder- Life Or Death (1998)

-When we remember the legacy of what the No Limit tank did, one name that will always remembered in the midst of this run for them was C-Murder. While his success was halted due to legal issues at some point, he was a solid artist for the Tank and his best overall album IMO is this one. Although there isn't much versatility in the No Limit circle, production wise, C-Murder has a pretty good ear for beats and it shows on this production. Alongside features from No Limit brethren Master P, Silkk The Shocker, Soulja Slim, Fiend, Magic, and more, there's also a track produced by Pimp C and featuring UGK titled "Akickdoe!" which is one of my favorite songs here (it makes the story we know about these two even funnier in retrospect). Other solid tracks on this album include "A 2nd Chance", "Don't Play No Games", "On The Run", and the posse track "Soldiers". My only true gripe with this album is that it's ridiculously long for no reason, with 26 tracks. I love No Limit, but there is never ever a time that I want to hear an album full of 26 tracks from anyone on that level. Period. Still, this is a solid release.

*Mystikal- Unpredictable (1997)

-For me, choosing between the two Mystikal albums on No Limit is slightly tough. While Ghetto Fabulous isn't a classic, it is remembered by more casual fans of the No Limit movement, but this is the better album of the two. Unpredictable lives up to its name, as it showcases Mystikal at his absolute best and most unhinged lyrically, which is exactly what you want out of an artist of his caliber. Production wise, this album is one of the more concise from the label as the energy level of the beats have to match Mystikal and his energy. Lyrically, Mystikal is more an abstract writer, as he doesn't necessarily have what most would call "bars", but his verses were always enjoyable and fun to keep up with. The songs that made this album a near classic IMO are "The Man Right Chea", "Here We Go", "We Got The Clout", "Ghetto Child", and of course, "Ain't No Limit". There are just the right amount of features and just enough songs to where it doesn't get too long winded, and that makes Unpredictable one of the best albums to come out of the No Limit era.

*Silkk The Shocker- Charge It To The Game (1998)

-There will never be another legendary rapper who couldn't stay on beat quite like Silkk The Shocker. At one point, Silkk used to follow me on Twitter until some jokes about his offbeat flow caused that to come to an end. Still, all jokes aside, it was amazing how Silkk could still make enjoyable music while never rapping on beat. Of all the albums he took part in, his best project was released in February 1998 and features some heavy hitters for guest appearances. In addition to the No Limit Crew like Master P, the newest recruit Snoop Dogg, Fiend, Mia X, and Mystikal, he also works with the southern legend 8Ball and the popular girl group Destiny's Child. From the opening posse track "I'm A Soldier" to "Throw Yo Hood Up" to "If I Don't Gotta" to "Mama Always Told Me", all the way to the hit single "It Ain't My Fault", Silkk delivered a solid project overall. This album would end up being a success commercially as well, cracking the top 5 of the Billboard charts and finishing with a platinum plaque, almost reaching double platinum status, racking up yet another win for The Tank. 

*Mia X- Unlady Like (1997)

-The first lady of No Limit was none other than Mia X. She is one of the more underrated females in hip hop history, and although her style was more raw and rugged than the average women in the genre, she delivered on just about every song she took part in. This album was full of guest appearances and booming production, which was the No Limit way of doing things. With appearances from her No Limit Family like Mystikal, C-Murder, Silkk The Shocker, Master P, Mac, Fiend, and even non family members like fellow female rapper Foxy Brown, Mia X would craft an album that's more good mindless musical entertainment than an actual classic album. Tracks like "You Don't Wanna Go 2 War", "The Party Don't Stop", "4Ever Tru", and more helped to round out her project. Mia X wasn't a lyrical genius or the best female rapper, but she knew how to deliver an enjoyable album, and that's exactly what she did here. 

*Snoop Dogg- Tha Last Meal (2000)

-This album represents the best project that Snoop released via No Limit, but it also represents the official end of the era of No Limit for me. While Ghetto D really started the huge No Limit wave, the end of that chapter felt like it was near at the time that this album was released. Snoop was ready to move on from No Limit and on his way out, he gave one of the best projects in his catalog. Reuniting more with Dr. Dre this go round, Snoop got back to his G-Funk roots with songs like "Lay Low" and "Wrong Idea", while still maintaining a bit of the No Limit sound on tracks like "Back Up Off Me". Overall, Snoop delivers with some of his best lyrical performances in years and also manages to select some amazing production. Tha Last Meal felt like the end of an era in No Limit, and the Tank never seemed to recover after the year 2000, but the legacy of No Limit is well known and solidified.



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