WC's The Shadiest One Is An Essential West Coast Album | Review

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CLASSIC'NES: 4 OUT OF 6

Released: April 28, 1998

WC has a long history as a professional rapper dating back to '87 when he released his first single in the group/duo Low Profile. They released one LP in 1989 titled We're In This Together before disbanding and WC formed another group called WC and the Maad Circle. This group was notable for including rapper Coolio from ''Gangsta's Paradise'' fame. WC and the Maad Circle released two albums, Ain't a Damn Thang Changed and Curb Servin' before disbanding. Then WC went on to join supergroup Westside Connection with West Coast Warlord Ice-Cube and the Hoo' Bangin' Mack 10. Following the success of Westside Connection, it was now time for time WC to release his solo debut The Shadiest One.

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Upon the release of The Shadiest One, WC was able to capitilize on his reputation, and actually cracked the top 20 on the Billboard chart and eventually went Gold. WC benefited from his connections and the album featured Ice-Cube on three tracks, as well as Mack 10, Daz Dillinger, E-40, and Too Short. While the production was handled by Battlecat (5 tracks), Daz Dillinger and Mo-Suave-A among others. This makes the quality of the tracks very high and leads to a very solid album which doesn't get repetive because of a perfect amount of guest rappers.

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The highlights include the ultra funky ''Hog'', and the grooving storytelling track ''Fuckin' Wit A House Party'' both produced by Battlecat. The essential track on the album is ''Just Clownin'' which has the all the elements you would associate with WC: A funky beat, gang styled chants and WC's unique rapping. The beat, also produced by Battlecat, makes anybody who ever saw WC on the Up In Smoke Tour want to do their very own Crip dance.

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One of the most overlooked songs on the album is the Daz Dillinger produced ''Like That'' which features a dope-ass verse from Ice-Cube. The beat is gangsta as hell, featuring that catchy underground sound which Daz pioneered during the late 90s and early 00s. Showing that gangsta music can be fun also, Daz incorparates a Biz Markie vocal sample during the chorus.

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The last standout track on the album is the Mo-Suave-A track ''Cheddar'' which true to its creator is a very suave beat. This track is basically the Westside Connection with Ice-Cube and Mack 10 going back and forth on the chorus. And it's Ice-Cube who takes the track to another level with one of those incredibly catchy choruses he became known for during the late 90s.

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This superb album rounds outs nicely with the mellow R&B influenced ''Better Days'' before ending with the funky outro ''The Outcome''. Overall The Shadiest One is an essential West Coast album from one of the true O.G.'s in the game.

Alexander Ramalho