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8Ball & MJG
Ridin’ High

8ballmjg.jpgThe current wave of Southern dominance has resuscitated the careers of pioneers like UGK and Three 6 Mafia. Unfortunately, 8Ball & MJG haven’t been able to add their name to that list of born-again stars just yet. In 2004, the Memphis duo tried to cash in, but their unfocused Bad Boy disc Living Legends derailed those plans. So on their seventh album, Ridin’ High, Ball & G go back to the basics and let their raw chemistry run wild.

Reminiscent of their 1993 debut, Comin’ Out Hard, Ball & G’s latest effort highlights their mastery of the art of storytelling. The synth-seared “Get Low” finds the duo in the middle of a chaotic club shoot-out, while 8Ball uses the B Rock–produced “Memphis” as an opportunity to detail his upbringing (“Orange Mound born, I was torn out my mama womb/Shotgun house, me and mama had the same room”).
The pimpin’ punch lines are just as vivid on the sweaty symphony “Stand Up” and the throbbing “Turn Up Da Bump.” But it’s the laid-back boom of “Like This” that gives MJG an opportunity to coyly confess, “My last girl couldn’t change me, she tried twice/I got more dog in me than beef fried rice.”

Sincerity seems to be Ball & G’s strongpoint, that’s what makes their botched attempts at smoothed-out sex appeal so disheartening. Jazze Pha sounds like a parody of himself swooning on the cliché-ridden “Pimpin’ Don’t Fail Me Now,” and producer Midnight Black’s sweet keys don’t improve the bizarre combination of 112 and Three 6 Mafia on the cheesy ballad “Cruisin’.”

The Living Legends fair better on the Miami bass–coated title track, where they effectively keep their cool amid Diddy’s ecstatic ad-libs. MJG explains their newfound key to success best on “Fuck That,” spittin’, “Fuck sittin’ down tryin’ to make a tailor-made radio single and the shit still don’t get played.” Ride high or die.—BRENDAN FREDERICK

  • juztin

    I thought livin legends was the shit

  • Toine

    Living Legends was Hella Hard. They dont know how to rate music. If aint East Coast then they dont think its tight.

  • TIs_Motivation

    i like 8ball and mjg and their new singlees

  • H-man

    8BALL and MJG r lengends. Holla

  • big rizz

    living legends was the shit. Diddy losin his touch

  • stretch

    Livin Legends was the shit especailly that joint with loyd from murda inc

  • .EL PRESIDENTE

    STOP HATIN’ the south iz on the ride and u can’t do nothing bout it…

    • Domjuan

      Fuck da south

  • http://yahoo.com Syruss aka King of da city

    Livin legends was da shit what the fuck is this nigga talkin bout. Shut the fuck up.

  • aj

    Ball and G been laying down since 92 bout time they and every other Real southern acts get props.

  • redd

    8ball and mjg is the shit 4 life!

  • Lil Caine

    See dats da bullshit dat be pissing me off. Livin’ Legends was hard as a muthafucka. All these industry folk determine the quality of music by the units they move. Ball & G gone forever kick hot shit!! Caine – 804

  • http://myspace/uofhustlaz The Mo’rilla Gorilla

    To tell you the truth BRENDAN FREDERICK, you must not know what the Fuk you r talking about… Say what you wan to but 8ball & G is speakin to the niggas, hoes, women,hustlas YG’s, Bg,s, Generals, and OG’s in the streets, corners, mom’s and pops Food Mart, traps, back alleys with pistol grip pumps ready, and NIGGA AMERICA in general. ( some places in which you’re dandylion azz would NEVER venture to.) ITS LIKE THIS- Real verbatim… Sayin two OG rappers that came in the game, brought forth their game, and rose above the game overall are washed up, but they still on the same shit they’ve been on is disrespectin the chain of commands. GET YO ASS OUT TO MEMPHIS Ten a Key!! See where they comming from. Its SPACEAGE 4EVER on mines!! I think you need to revisit Livin legends. Then work you way down the totem pole of albums that they have under their belts.

    The Mo’rilla Gorilla
    (Bcuz the Mo-Real-a always Go-real-a-)
    Gain Green 4 Life

  • frostedleaves87

    livining legends was banging…best album since in our life time

  • jmizzle

    Who is this dude, brendan frederick? “Living Legends” had nothin but bangers on that album. Ball & G aint neva fell off and are the realest rappers in the game and their track record proves it. Next time get somebody who recognize real to rate them!

  • WESTCOASTTONGAN

    BAD BOY IS BULLSHIT, SHINY SUIT MOTHERFUCKERS

  • WESTCOASTTONGAN

    O, ND TOINE I AGREE WITCHA, XXLMAG UR REVIEWS R WACK, IF ITZ WEST COAST, U DONT LIKE IT, DO YA? I MEAN, LAUGH NOW CRY LATER IZ DA SHIT ND DESERVES XL, SO DUZ CALI IZ ACTIVE, I GT DEM BOTH

  • stlnorthside48

    Man I dont know what the hell this guy is talking about living legends was the hardest cd of that year, damn why do muthafuckas outside the hood continue to rate our music, this shit aint for you to understand, just follow follower,dumb ass reviewers who do not now a hit in the streets until mtv example young dro we been playin that shit for over 9 mths and they act like this nigga just came out last month shut the fuck up you wack as reporter midwest and south ride fo life

  • http://www.myspace.com/infiniteblackhole Mike

    Lol @ people hating on the columnists when he gave the album an XL.

  • Rome

    He isn’t hating on the south. He’s just sleeping on Living Legends (which was a banger). Calm down people.

  • http://www.badboyblog.com Patrick

    Living Legends was, at worst, a modest success for them. RIAA certified gold, #3 on The Billboard 200.

  • flava dav

    .0
    its about time BALL & G get their props ,you can say what you want to about bad boy, but this is just what the legends need to boost their career

  • JP

    isn’t it a bit early to review this album?? doesn’t it come out midde of september?

  • http://devinsscottyahoo.com big heavy

    8ball& mgj is my niggas for life repo tenn to the fulllist these niggas can rap On The Top of the World was the hardest shit its a classic

  • Styles

    I love what they doing for memphis, but they’ll flop b/c they under Diddy. I hope they leae bad boy b/c music isn’t on Diddy’s mind anymore. They need to go to a label that will completely push their records, not halfway like bad boy. I think Def Jam or interscope would be a good look for them but if they stay with Bad Boy then they’re as good as dead.

  • Styles

    Ball and MJG last cd was crazy, but I agree with whoever said Diddy losing his touch, b/c most of they albums after Bad Boy’s golden years (Biggie, Mase, Faith, 112, Total, Lox, and Diddy’s No Way Out) have been flops b/c he spending too much time on all these other ventures he has. He with Warner now a huge label, if he doesn’t turn around Bad Boy soon, then they’ll be the new DeatH Row. If he’s smart he’ll hire someone to look over a few of those extra sources of money like Sean John clothing, shoes and ect so he can rebuild Bad Boy.

  • Fernando

    Since when was Living Legends weak??? And the title track is the worst one that I heard off this album. Ball & G dont belong on Extacy techno beats with Diddy babbling like a bitch. They need slow thumpin beats with piano’s, trumpets, and other staple instuments from the South. Ill buy their shit no matter what though

  • JP

    i guaruntee you ridin high will be the worst song on this album. It’s just to get the club going. 8-ball & MJG are more lyrical then that.

  • LvLs

    yep 4 sure living legend was tha hot shiz.holla

  • http://www.youngboyrecordz.com Beezie

    Where is they video’s at? No cake? That’s horrible….

  • SICCO

    Check out this site for hot music from Dallas Texas!! This artist is the hottest to come from the city… Check out http://www.grindtimerecords.com or http://www.myspace.com/grindtimerec !

  • Koto

    I like wat they(ball & MJG) doing on the side. Yall hear that song from MJG label called “whats ya favorite color?” That junt bang!!!

  • dreal88

    i want to see ball and g good, those guys are legends, and they rep that Orange Mound, i going to support them no matter what they drop

  • SANLEANDRO510

    Ball is one of the best out there.
    Underrated

  • http://spaceagetrippinmyspace.com spaceagetrippin

    Mjg is in my top five, and ball is right up there with face as a stroyteller. These guys have never let me down. When I lose there albums I go and buy another one, and I got all of them.

  • BOB

    Do your thang ball & g let that be the reason.

  • jev p

    what the fuck????? livin legends was unreal how can you hate on them xxl?? their music really hits home with me changed my life. i wont even speak on comin out hard album or on the outside looking in. what the fuck were you listening to in 93 till now? if it wasnt ball and g you must be lame.im reppin ball and g till i take my last breath

  • flava dav

    another bad review, what about relax and take notes with project pat i think these writers listen to a different version of the cd than the rest of the public everything ball and g make is xxl

  • NewHampshireThugForLife

    Mo’rilla Gorilla representing the Grand Ole Opry, you all. Memphis is in the house. Know what I am saying G?

  • http://www,yahoo.com Erica

    Whats up yall I just want to say that i love you’ll music and i think that you’ll stlye is one of a kind so brush em off and keep it movin. And MJG i luv u sooo much you dat nigga luvin dem dreads and i aint forgot about you eightball my boo look just like u so im luvin u too hold it down and keep reapin for da South.

  • http://www.myspace.com/mattrowe0411 matt rowe

    the first thing i noticed is the hook by 112 sounds just like usher’s “nice and slow” song. anybody else?

  • German

    8 Ball & MJG are the best!!!! Who else run the shit more than this duo??? I listen to every damn song from them and it´s still the hell!!!! CRUZIN IS THA SHIT!!!!!

  • Apple

    What’s wrong with XXL? Like what the rest of the guys said, Living Legends is the LEGENDARY album!! 8Ball & MJG are lEGENDS FOREVER!!!

  • Goldie

    MJG & 8ball have continued to produce and teach us through thier talents. I always find knowlegde in tracts. Yes they always bring that DOWN DOUTH PIMP TIGHT flows over Hard funky bass beats. I’ve been a fan, so I might be bias on the album, but I like more then 9 songs.

  • DUVAL CITY

    The Living Legend LP was hard as hell. I agree that Diddy need to focus more on the music because he has the talent, pull, and 3ed party to Bad Boy and Ball and G where they need to be

  • lil’c

    yo xxl u wanna know somethin who were the only group in the usa underground rap scene to sell more than 250,000 records independintly outta there own truck 8BALL & MJG.
    cant believe u r disrespecting 2 of the realest and hardest rappers coming str8 outta memphis tennesse
    go back thru there history and see how many records they have sold then see what u got to say to them now huh!!!

    punks!!!

  • will

    8 ball&mjg are goood rappers with relax take notes

  • slash

    8BALL MGJ GOT BAD MAD STYLE SO MOTHA FOKAZ WHO TCHATCH TO MUCH SUCK MY FUKING DECK BIATCH CAUSE U KNOW WHEN BAD MEN FLEXXX PUSSY VEXXX SHOOT A.K.A SéKéLé

  • domjuan

    All the south shit is fuckin wack only uneducated southern niggas feel it. you can tell by looking above “dey Da sHyitte” Ignorant non spellin mutha fuckers. Black people faught for the right to be educated so niggas like you could still not read and right. south aint gangsta either ..whats hard about ridin a old pink and puple cop car with spinning wheels.. Fuckin clowns. get your country ass kicked on the west side . California for Life Fags!