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Outlawz, Perfect Timing

Tuesday marked the 15th year anniversary of the death of 2Pac. As time passes, memories often fade and the void left by the loss of one man is eventually filled by the arrival of the next. As examined throughout our September issue of XXL, ‘Pac was an exception to this rule. In commemorating this date, the Outlawz have come through with the fittingly titled Perfect Timing, an homage to the man who founded the group in 1995.

The three remaining Outlawz (E.D.I Mean, Hussein Fatal, & Young Noble) kick things off on the title track “Perfect Timing,” a classic Outlawz record with a ’90s vibe that feels like ‘Pac could hop on it at any second. The trio continues to showcase their step up in production on “Fast Lane,” a spirited motivational anthem about staying on your grind. Young Noble delivers a memorable verse rapping “Get in on consignment, they fuck with you the long way/Your boy shine bright like them lights up on Broadway/Outlaw Rider, I gotta do it my way/Smoke in the air, doing 80 on the highway.” The album also boasts some notable guest features, most of which compliment the ‘Lawz very well. Highlights include Krayzie Bone’s verse on the pensive “Don’t Wait,” and Bun B’s appearance on the radio-ready “100 MPH.”

On the flip side, some of the more aggressive tracks like “Pay Off” and “New Years,” take away from the overall atmosphere of the project. The latter features a monstrous verse from Tech N9ne and results in a solid offering, but it does feel out of place in the larger context of the release.

Perfect Timing marks the end of the Outlawz era, as the group has stated this will be their final collective release. But with this project, the last men standing in the group ‘Pac formed are going out on their own terms: with an album rooted in throwback ’90s hip-hop sensibilities, accompanied with the contemporary production that makes their sound distinct and unique, rather than outdated. ‘Pac would surely be proud. —NMB

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