REVIEW: Various – Rich Gang

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Artist: Various
Album: Rich Gang
Genre: Hip Hop/Rap

Hip hop labels have been using the strength of their entire roster as a way to promote individual artists for as long as anyone can remember, but surprisingly it wasn’t until 2013 that Young Money and Cash Money decided to get in on the action. The labels, which are run by Lil Wayne (Young Money) and Bryan “Birdman” Williams (Cash Money), have made millions with star-studded singles and remixes, so it makes perfect sense that a compilation release would one day surface. Unfortunately, the resulting Rich Gang album that hits stores this week is a far the stellar collaborative effort fans were expecting.

Opening with a weak, but well delivered track from Mystikal that is intended to get you hyped on the album, the Rich Gang compilation opens with far less pizazz then their name would you lead you to expect. The ego is there, as is the persistent reminder their crew is better than the rest, but having heard every member of both Cash and Young Money camps boast about their lifestyles over the last dozen or so releases from the label it’s hard to not feel like it’s all bit too familiar to be catchy. Great production could save this, of course, but saddle it’s not until “Dreams Come True” (track 5) that anything resembling a radio or club ready beat even appears. The first four tracks play like a dozen notable rappers trying too to make their well-covered material feel fresh once more. You buy out clubs and get bitches? cool. Nicki Minaj is rich and any guy wanting her better be ready for her million dollar genitalia? Fine. But it’s all been said before, and usually with more enticing beats.

The second half of the Rich Gang compilation offers a handful of highlights, but it’s often in the form of individual verses more than entire tracks. one of the most surprising of these is “50 Plates,” which is a solo track from Rick Ross (who isn’t even a member of RG, but rather a friend of the label). It’s a great track, but doesn’t exactly make sense for the release. Beyond that, Lil Wayne adds fire to “Bigger Than Life,” Kendrick Lamar reminds us why he’s hip hop’s new golden child on “100 Flavors,” and both Mystikal and Jae Mills shine on the star-studded “Angel.” Everything else idles somewhere around passable, and rarely does more than a single bar or two stick with you after a track closes. “Sunshines” takes things out on a positive note, offering one of the most cohesive collection of artists, but it’s too little too late for an album big on names and little on ideas.

Featuring Lil Wayne, Birdman, Nicki Minaj, Busta Rhymes, Mack Maine, Tyga, Limp Bizkit, Mystikal, Bow Wow, Jae Millz, Ace Hood, Cory Gunz, Gudda Gudda and Caskey, the so-called Rich Gang is seemingly anyone from Cash Money or Young Money that had a passable idea for a verse. I say passable because the artists included rarely, and in some cases never touch the type of lyrical skills showcased on their individual efforts. Unlike the Self Made compilations that Rick Ross’ Maybach Music Group have found so much success with due in part to their ability to play like as a full album, Rich Gang spins more like leftovers and incomplete ideas were thrown into a blender, mixed with a dozen or so guest appearances from famous rappers not associated with either label, and then chopped into thirteen tracks teetering between mediocrity and complete forgettability. It’s a waste of time, money, and perhaps worst of all, talent.

SCORE: 5/10
Review written by: James Shotwell (Follow him on Twitter)

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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