Only God Can Judge Me
When the Houston Press reviewed Master P's alleged "last" album, Da Last Don, we stated it would not be the last time we heard ole P grunt and groan on the mike. We wrote: P is "probably working on his 'comeback' triple album as you're reading this." Well, he has not concocted a triple album, but he is back anyway, looking all buffed up and pissed off on his new one, Only God Can Judge Me.
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Even before you hear this CD, you should know it has some problems. The biggest is that many of the Beats By The Pound producers, the guys who gave P his signature sound, are gone. Four of the Pound's top producers left shortly before this album was released to start their own production team. Good for them, but for P, it's a damn shame. A No Limit album without the trusty BBTP team is hardly a No Limit album. It's like a Happy Meal without the toy, a low rider without hydraulic lifts, a Charlize Theron movie without the close-up. It just ain't right.
Fortunately the help P does have on this 23-track album -- producer Carlos Stephens, the Soulja Productions team, KLC, who scratches a bit on one track, and Jermaine Dupri, who works on another -- manages to pick up the slack. They fluidly tie the album together, even though the first half is a little more polished than the second. P's assembly-line approach to composing tunes is consistently present here, as songs fly right out the gate and fade away into the desert heat before you or your booty can formulate a valid opinion.
The songs you can catch have a nice gloss to them. "Step to Dis" and "Say Brah" are two rowdy anthems filled to the brim with P's Southern-fried battle cries. ("See, the eye of the tiger's in my blood / Ask TLC, am I a muthafuckin' scrub?") His playa-rific ode to the ladies, "Boonapalist," is a far smoother number than the album's other crazy-about-the-ladies track, "Ghetto Honeys." The jingle-jangle of "Where Do We Go from Here" has him teaming up with Nas and fellow No Limit mate Mac to give love to all the "soldiers" who have shown support and the "haters" who have not. On the boisterous "Ain't Nothing Changed," P and his No Limit boys continue their verbal assault: "Muthafuckas left me on the corner for dead / I wouldn't help you cocksuckers if you gave me some head."
Although P takes his album title from a 2Pac song title, the Tupacian vibe that shrouded over P's last album is more subdued here. In his own flip-talking, ghetto-hustla fashion, Master P finally comes into his own as a performer. Hell, it has almost gotten to the point where P does not need a gang of guest artists for every one of his songs. Besides, Master P is not just your regular, snarling, gold-toothed rapper; he is "a ghetto muthafuckin' Bill Gates, nigga." -- Craig D. Lindsey