This Saturday is the day we here in America observe our nation's independence. The wonderful freedoms we have include our opportunity to sell our albums out of the trunk of our automobiles and ride that wave of success into creating a multimillion dollar multimedia empire. At least, that's what Master P did. A true independent, his releases with No Limit Records were a prime slice of the American dream. He released so many of his and his family's records on his own that made such an impact, all the labels wanted a piece. While P took full advantage of this popularity and flooded the market with what seemed like monthly releases, it made the tidal wave of No Limit music a touch challenging to navigate, especially in retrospect. That's why we suggest spending your Fourth of July with these No Limit classics. Ya heard me?
While No Limit had about five years worth of releases prior to TRU's breakthrough True album, they all seemed to step-by-step paved the way for this, P's then-most fully realized vision. Nothing on rap radio at the time really sounded like "I'm Bout It," so the track's taking off nationwide and place of reverence from coast-to-coast shouldn't be all that surprising. Not only was True a fresh blade to slice through the transitional 1995 hip-hop scene, but it was one that had been well sharpened prior to being swung.
My Balls And My Word
Already an established local talent before pairing up with No Limit, Young Bleed's been somewhat under-appreciated in the rap canon, often erroneously pigeonholed for being another mafioso rapper with a Scarface reference in his title. Truth be told, Young Bleed explored the gangster-side of gangsta rap better than everybody, and the smooth beats and memorable hooks on My Balls And My Word are just icing on the cake.
While he's perhaps more infamous now for his prison sentence than what he did with a pen, the two albums Mac dropped on No Limit were perhaps the best all around MC-work the label ever released. As great as World War III was, we're spotlighting its predecessor which isn't quite as sought-after in collectors' circles, Shell Shocked. Mac's truly a rapper's rapper, and the guest spots from the No Limit Soldiers made for some excellent contrast.
While we're enjoying Mystikal's recent comeback, we'll never not take a chance to revisit his earlier work. Yes, Mind of Mystikal and Unpredictable are usually the go-to Mystikal releases, but let's not overlook his last outing for the label Ghetto Fabulous. One of the few No Limit releases to remain in print after the label folded in the early 2000s, Ghetto Fabulous' guest appearances and production played to Mystikal's strengths perfectly. Perfect for your 4th of July fireworks.
Finally we have Fiend's Street Life. Other than Mystikal and Snoop Dogg, Fiend's had probably the best recent years of any of the No Limit Soldiers, largely thanks to reinventing himself and linking up with Curren$y at the start of the decade. But before he was "International Jones," Fiend was the definitively New Orleans expert songwriter with as strong of a gift for melody as he had sheer lyricism. Street Life is one of the most diverse sounding projects No Limit ever put out, and retains a certain timelessness reflected in its influence from decades of classic New Orleans music.