The king of horror-core Chicano Rap, the Lyrical beast from the Southeast, the Lil' O-N-E from the big G.H.P, a man who carries a big name but needs no introduction... Mr. Lil One. If you don't understand the first sentence, let me break it down in laymen terms: horror-core is a genre best attributed to the likes of Brotha Lynch Hung and his "baby killer" lyrics, but Lil One is right up there with the spooky raps about murder and demonic rap-tures (see what I did there?). A microphone fiend with an appetite for rhyming.
From the beginning Mr. Lil One earned his place among the genre's elite Chicano lyricists with his unique style and flow. Time and time again I have been drawn to his first album. There was something about those beats and rhymes; they were dark, cynical, and captivating unlike the production on an MC Ren album that gets boring halfway thru the album.
It wasn't until late in my high school years that I figured out that Madman was in the lab making all the beats for this classic debut. "Once In A Decade" has withstood the test of time, as it still bumps as hard as when it first came out more than two decades ago. It stands at a perfect 12 hard hitting tracks, no fillers, no junk and no bunk shit, just some of the Madman's best work riddled with Lil One's slow to rapid verbal assault.
The manner in which the album kicks off is eerie and enticing, "¿Suicide/Homicide?" is an instant classic and favorite. The beat is ahead of its time, yet still fits the narrative of the whole record. The second track is a prime example of how Lil One can rap to the beat naturally. Following that is "Gotta Go Commit The Murdah" with its hypnotic hymn and demonic chatter in the chorus laced with Lil One's flow. Filling the only guest appearance is GPA on "To Your Dome Then You Die", generally I think their features are great but they could have done better on this one.
Keep in mind that when this dropped, there were no contemporary albums that matched this style. As soon as "Homicide Carols" plays, we get the full scope of Mr. Lil One's ability, in what I can only describe as lyrical acrobatics. Track number 6 ("Say Fuck Yeah") kicks up the bass and is more a demonstration of Madman's production, that's not to say Lil One isn't worth mentioning, on the contrary, he raps with a boastful confidence. At times I've wondered if the track with the same album title should have been the first (or intro) track, either way it's an incredible show of talent, rhyming and flowing from slow to fast seamlessly. The song bearing the rapper's name is such a dope song. Typically I stay away from oldie samples but Madman and Mr. Lil One created a gem, the chemistry between rapper and producer is real.
From day one, the moment I heard "Every Saturday" it went down as an all time favorite, never leaves my top 25 on iTunes. "Never Trust A Soul" is another masterpiece with an oldie sample with Lil One's captivating flow. Winding down the last two tracks, "Enemiez Falling" and "Who Be The Bad Mutha" finish off the album with great samples, not sure if it was Madman's beats or Lil One's rhymes that tied this all together, it was just that well crafted.
The album plays a solid 43 minutes smoothly. The samples are creative, they don't overpower the composition of the song and are well embedded into the instrumental; best of all they're sampled not looped. There's funk samples like Brass Construction's "Can You See the Light", George Clinton's "Atomic Dog", and the claps on "Genius Of Love" by the Tom Tom Club. I can't name the oldies sampled. As a duo, Lil One and Madman, crafted an album with incredible raps and beats that complimented the artist's uniqueness. If this isn't in your top 5 albums, it damn well should be!
02. Whatcha Gonna Do
03. Gotta Go Commit Tha Murdah
04. To Your Dome Then You Die
05. Homicide Carols
06. Say Fuck Yeah
07. Once In A Decade
08. Mr. Lil One
09. Every Saturday
10. Never Trust A Soul
11. Enemiez Fallin
12. Who Be The Bad Mutha