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Terror Squad "True Story" Album Review

Release date: 7/27/04 - Universal Records

Review by Compay for LatinRapper.com

 

Terror Squad album review

In ‘99, T.S. dropped their self-titled debut album to mixed reviews and lackluster sales. Despite this, the album was largely appreciated by diehard fans of Pun and the lyrical interactions of other T.S. affiliates. After Pun's passing as well as the departure of Pun's best friends Triple Seis and Cuban Link, the future of T.S. seemed on shaky ground. The ensuing change was the addition of Boricua crooner Tony Sunshine and Pun's female protege Remy Martin.


True Story is a 12 track effort by T.S. to pick up where things left off, hyped by existing group members as being several times better than the original album.

At first listen, it's clear that this album is certainly more radio-friendly than the first, but as a whole it doesn't compete with the original T.S. release. Most of the production by Cool and Dre is on the money, other contributions by DJ Khaled, Scram Jones, Streetrunner, Lord Finesse and Geddy likewise offer an eclectic variety of fresh beats just like the debut album.

"Lean Back" is inarguably one of the hotter singles to hit radio this summer thanks to blazing production courtesy of Scott Storch. "Lean Back", along with "Yeah, Yeah, Yeah", has helped create a buzz which will ensure that this project gets more radio spins than the previous, yet the remainder of the album still doesn't compensate for the disparity in quality between the first and latest release. True Story is kept afloat largely by the contributions of the very talented Remy Ma, the only artist to get an equal number of appearances as Joe Crack.

Fat Joe spits on the majority of the album, no doubt the result of his recognition in the music world and his overseeing of the project. Those listeners expecting a flow akin to "All I Need" will find themselves a bit surprised, as his delivery now comes off a little too forced. The album's biggest brick is undeniably "Take Me Home", with Joe doing an unnecessary LL Cool J (circa late '80s) imitation, seconded only by "Let Them Things Go", a track that comes off more like a bootleg Neptunes/Pharrell joint and doesn't seem to have a place amongst other tracks on the album.

In an attempt that almost seems to capitalize on Pun's memory, Pun and Big L's vocals are laid over guitar riffs in "Bring ‘Em Back". Regardless of fan opinions over whether Seis and Cuban's absence from the album has affected the group, its glaringly obvious that a T.S. album simply isn't an album without Pun actively contributing; this alone was the forewarning indicator that True Story wouldn't surpass the original T.S. project in overall quality.

Most surprising about True Story is the lack of contributions by Tony Sunshine, Armageddon and Prospect. It's quite possibly that Tony is simply gearing up for his solo release slated for later this year, yet he brilliantly flexes his vocals most on "Streets of New York", his singing a throwback to the soulful sound of the 60's. Tony captivated listeners with his singing on the Pun Classic "100%" and countless other tracks, yet as of late he has achieved a surprisingly warmer sound with greater range.

Armageddon, arguably the best lyricist of 2004's Terror Squad, no longer has the hard-hitting delivery as demonstrated in Joe's first albums and the first T.S. release, yet still holds his own in True Story. He rhymes solo with Tony singing the hook in "Pass Away", a heartfelt track that is the answer to the first T.S. album's classic "As the World Turns". Both Armageddon and Prospect offer more introspective lyrics with this LP, a refreshing change to the formulas by countless other groups that sometimes suffocate hip hop.

Prospect remains probably the most consistent artist in T.S., which is unfortunate considering he is only given the opportunity to shine on two tracks, including his solo "Thunder in the Air". Were Prospect and Geddy given more opportunities to flex on this album, it would have given fans of the original T.S. a lot more to look forward to. The track that is sure to please Terror Squad fans is "Hum Drum", with Pros, Geddy and Remy rumbling over a sick beat that just begs for head nodding.

True Story isn't a solid effort yet still remains a good album, a radio friendly project that will keep mainstream fans happy. Otherwise, True Story will prove a disappointment to those who own the first T.S. album. The absence of Pun, Cuban and Seis coupled with the lack of contributions by Pros and Geddy will leave most original fans like LLoyd Banks: hungry for more.
 

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