Filed under: Album Reviews
The kiddy rap phenomenon of the early ’90s produced a surprising amount of quality acts given its gimmicky nature. Illegal, Chi-Ali and Shyheim all released solid LPs during this period in the genre’s history, but no act managed the consistent quality that Da Youngsta’s achieved. Four albums over a period of just three years also makes them one of the most prolific of all hip hop acts, kiddy or otherwise, and the fact that they were able to maintain a high standard over all four releases is relatively astonishing. After ‘I’ll Make U Famous’, their last album, they fell off the hip hop radar and this is a great shame as I consider them to be a seriously slept on group who deserved significantly more props than they got.
‘No Mercy’ was their third studio album and is arguably their best. The group’s debut ‘Something For Da Youngstas’ suffered from being perhaps a little too soft, and their sophomore release ‘The Aftermath’ is excellent in places but lacks coherence over the whole album due to a wide range of production credits (although the pedigree of beatmaker on this album is significant). Produced largely by Marley Marl and K-Def, ‘No Mercy’ features bangin’ beats that combine elements of jazz with hard, gritty drums that complement the MCs consolidated senses of style. Funnily enough, ‘Hip Hop Ride’ was the track that made the most impact commercially although it is not representative of the sound of the remainder of the album where street narratives and bragging verses prevail.
Just flicking through the tracks on ‘No Mercy’ again highlights the point to me that there really isn’t a dud track on here and there are plenty of bangers to boot. ‘Mad Props’ is an upbeat party anthem with a warm and bouncy feel (check the video below); ‘Put Me On’ sees the group delve into a ghetto romance backed by an atmospheric and head noddy beat; ‘Illy Filly Funk’ features some sweeping strings and a subtle horn loop (this nearly made the cut for the strings mix) and ‘In The City’ has a similar ‘cityscape at sunset’ vibe about it. Tajj, Tarik and Qu’ran also do the beats justice, with relaxed and accomplished flows delivered with post-pubescent voices that match the edgier content of the rhymes found on both ‘The Aftermath’ and this release.
Whether this is totally new to you or if you just haven’t got a hold of it for some reason then this comes highly recommended at From Da Bricks. The consistently high standard of the production plus the maturity of the MCs make this an excellent album that you should not fail to add to your collection. Kiddies they may have been, but there is nothing gimmicky or adolescent about ‘No Mercy’: this is quality hip hop from front to back.