DAR Hip Hop: Cash Money vs No Limit In 2000

By @TrueGodImmortal

The year 2000 was an interesting one in hip hop. Outkast would end up hitting the mainstream heavy with their 5X platinum Stankonia album, Jay-Z would introduce us to his Dynasty, Eminem would strike diamond with his Marshall Mathers LP, and many other important occurrences would take place in the year 2000. One thing that began in 2000 was the fall of two labels that had made their stamp on music through their New Orleans roots, Cash Money and No Limit. With artists beginning to leave, discussions being had, and the music not hitting the same way it used to, 2000 was a good yet tough year for both. The question we ask today is which label had the better releases and the better music in 2000. Was it Cash Money? Was it No Limit? Were they both terrible? Is it a draw? That is what we are here to discuss today. We've selected the four major releases from each label and set up comparisons for them to see which album comes out on top. Which label wins? Read on to find out.

*Big Tymers' I Got That Work vs 504 Boyz' Goodfellas

-So, these two albums are interesting. For a number of reasons. For one, I actually enjoyed both projects and felt like they served their purpose. However, I would be lying if I said these two albums were top tier in quality, which is something that can only be said for few select albums from each label. The Big Tymers album is not a lyrical fest, it isn't a traditionally good rap album, but it is entertaining for the most part. The beats from Mannie Fresh were solid throughout the album, and with songs like "Get Your Roll On", "Nigga Couldn't Know", "10 Wayz", "Sunday Night", and more, the Big Tymers deliver an enjoyable listen. As far as the 504 Boyz album, I enjoyed it a bit less, but it was still a fun listen for the most part. One interesting  note about the album is that it features a beat from The Neptunes and a feature from Pusha T alongside the fake No Limit version of 2Pac (Krazy) and Master P on "D-Game", but also features solid tracks such as "Say Brah", "Moving Things", "Life Is Serious", "Wobble Wobble", and of course the classic "I Can Tell". Goodfellas is a solid listen, but between the two projects, I have to give the edge slightly to the Big Tymers.

*Mr. Marcelo's Brick Livin vs Cash Money Millionaires' Baller Blockin

-This is probably a no brainer for me. While the No Limit fan in me wants to give the nod to Mr. Marcelo, the honest hip hop fan in me will always be partial to Baller Blockin. It's not that Brick Livin isn't a solid album, because it most certainly is, but there is something special about Baller Blockin as a soundtrack. To me, it is one of the most underrated soundtracks in hip hop movie history and it features a number of artists that aren't solely on Cash Money for a nice change of pace. Still, Mr. Marcelo has his moments on Brick Livin' from the production to the features. However, that is one thing that slightly takes away from most No Limit solo albums. They were more like compilations than actual solo albums and left me wanting to hear more of the actual artists themselves, even though some of those artists weren't the most gifted. Regardless, tracks like "Sound Da Alarm", "Ha Brah", "Live By It", and "GTO" are highlights on this project and showcase the talent Marcelo brought to the table. Still, Baller Blockin brought us "Rover Truck", the title track, a solid UGK track in "Family Affair", the dope Big Tymers, B.G., and Turk track "Let Us Stunt", the smooth "I Don't Know" by Unplugged featuring Lil' Wayne, the solid "Uptown" with Turk and B.G., and most of all, the anthem and classic "Project Bitch". All in all, when comparing the two, the advantage goes to Baller Blockin by a mile almost.

*B.G.'s Checkmate vs C-Murder's Trapped In Crime 

-I have a lot of appreciation for both of these MCs and the work that they did in their careers. So when I had to compare these two, I found myself almost stumped on a choice of who had the better album. For me, during his tenure in Cash Money, Checkmate was his worst project. He would have some solid production alongside some catchy songs, but overall, it just missed the mark compared to his previous albums. At 20 tracks, like many Cash Money albums during this era, it has a lot of unnecessary filler, but when it works, it works. There are tracks like the Juvenile assisted "Jungle" and "Get In Line",  the Lil' Wayne assisted "I Know" and "U Know How We Do", and the Big Tymers featured "Hennessy and XTC" that work well. Checkmate is a decent album with some good moments, but some moments that don't excite the listeners. As for Trapped In Crime? It is not a classic by any stretch, but it has a lot of moments that could put it in the running to be the best C-Murder album. One thing that stands out to me with this album is that they reached out to a number of artists that were not on No Limit from Kokane to The Eastsidaz to Fat Joe to Da Brat and Jermaine Dupri, among others. At 24 tracks, the album is a bit overzealous and could benefit from a shaving of the tracklist, but one could never deny the all time classic "Down For My N's", "Hustlin", "NL Niggaz", "What You Bout", and more. If I had to choose between these two albums, I have to go with Trapped In Crime honestly.

*Master P's Ghetto Postage vs Lil' Wayne's Lights Out

-Both of these albums were disappointing in their own right, but I have a personal appreciation for Lights Out. It was a transition for Wayne and he was growing, so it was very interesting to hear this album and where he was headed musically. For Master P, this album was set to bring No Limit even more prominence and fame, but it just didn't connect the way one would have hoped. A big reason for that is honestly the lengthy tracklist. This is the issue that fails every No Limit honestly. Cut the albums down by 8-10 songs and you have a classic. That isn't the case here, but for the best of the best in No Limit, this was the case usually. Ghetto Postage loses momentum early on as an album, as the best songs are sequenced early, with tracks like the Silkk The Shocker featured anthem "Bout Dat", the Snoop featured "Poppin' Them Collars", "Doo Rags", and my favorite "Golds In They Mouth". However, for P, this album has too many laughable tracks like "My Babooski", "Would You", the blatant Pac bite "Still Ballin" (which features No Limit's Pac soundalike Krazy coincidentally), and "Roll How We Roll" near the end of the album. For Wayne, Lights Out is in the lower tier of his projects, but I would be lying if I didn't admit that I always liked this album. Not as much as his debut, or even Carter 1 or 2, but it was just a notch or so under those to me. I loved the tracks like "Get Off The Corner", the Hot Boys featured classic like "Hit U Up" and "Shine", the Birdman featured anthem "Lil' One", the slightly hilarious "Biznite", and the honest "Everything". Simply put, while Lights Out isn't one of Wayne's best, I would choose it over Ghetto Postage in an instant. So, the question was, which label had the better year musically and based on this, I would lean towards Cash Money. I didn't include Tha Last Meal by Snoop because it didn't really feel like a No Limit album, but honestly, if I included it, it would be higher than any of the albums listed for both labels. Still, that aside, with the albums from the labels that we discussed here, I lean towards Cash Money having the better year just slightly. No Limit was on the way out in terms of relevance for the most part, and this year was a good year for them, just paled in comparison to their run in 1997-1999, much like this year paled in comparison for Cash Money compared to 1997-1999 also. Two labels about to go through changes give one last year of solid releases consistenly before things altered. That's hip hop.



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