This song would be a lot better if not for the switch that happens at the start of the second verse. The music; a Relapsesque Dr Dre production; is suddenly and permanently abandoned.
The change fits the concept, but the beats that replace it, apparently provided by Black Bethoven and S1, are inferior. Thus what could’ve been a good song is ruined ninety seconds in.
my rating : 2 of 5
The first version of the song was released in 1991 on Are U Xperienced; the sole album of Yomo And Maulkie. The rap duo were protégés of Eazy-E, who brought the concept back three years later for Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. Their version, stylized as Foe Tha Love Of $, can be heard on their Creepin On Ah Come Up EP. The song wouldn’t be revisited, at least among NWA associates, until Dr Dre’s 2015 Compton album. This one is led by Jon Connor.
I like all three, but the original is the best. Yomo And Maulkie’s raps are rudimentary; a sign of the times; but the music (loop) is melodic and Jewell adds some powerful ad-libs near the end. The Bone one is the worst. The music is basically the same and their raps are better, but I don’t like their hook and Jewell’s parts are limited. The John Connor and Dr Dre version, which takes the most liberties musically, ranks somewhere between the other two.
my vote : Yomo And Maulkie
“My head is pounding to the beat of the drum,” a drug and sex addicted Eminem announces. That beat is the best part of the song. It’s a Dr Dre production and one of his sleekest; Mark Batson serves as co-producer; not just for the drums but the twangy synths and sneaky bassline that comes at the end of every fourth bar.
It’s an introduction slash return song; a cliché concept for a rapper whose past titles include My Name Is and I’m Back. Why it doesn’t start the Relapse LP is beyond me, but, after the mediocrity of his previous two (Show/Encore) albums, Eminem is indeed “resuscitated and rejuved” when it comes to lyrical prowess.
my rating : 4 of 5
This is, as far as I’m concerned, a waste of a damn good Premo beat. Yes, the music is produced not by Dr Dre; he relegates himself to guest rapper; but DJ Premier and his contribution is easily the best part of the song.
Anderson Paak, both the things he says; this is yet another example of “black folks” playing victim to “white folks”; and his voice are annoying. The one exception is the bridge, which is catchy enough to have been the chorus.
my rating : 3 of 5
Snoop Dogg is the highlight here and that’s not a weed pun. In a Halftime Show full of stilted performances; Mary J Blige, who isn’t a protégé of Dr Dre and shouldn’t have been included, goes way over the top; he easily comes across as the most authentic and likeable. Watching him Crip walk to California Love, you’d think he was entertaining guests at a backyard barbeque; not on stage in front of the biggest viewing audience in America.
50 Cent is comparatively stiff, but he at least has sexy groupies In Da Club with him. The logic of giving three fat chicks a stage to themselves is lost on me. Not that the show, which is a bit of a mess, makes a lot of sense in the first place. Eminem is big enough to headline The Super Bowl on his own. His appearance here to perform his most obvious hit comes across as both anticlimactic and corny. Still he’s not as annoying as Kendrick Lamar. Few rappers are.
my rating : 2 of 5