Album Review | Various Artists – Gang Related: Wild Wild West

This album was released on October 7th in 1997. It’s the soundtrack to the film Gang Related, which I posted my review for last Monday. Funnily enough, I was actually supposed to review this project like a year or two ago. Back when I had an active Patreon page, one of my supporters asked me to do a review for this soundtrack. I never actually took the money for it, which is why I didn’t feel too bad about not getting around to it, but I technically did promise that I would do it, so I guess it’s kinda fucked up that it took me so long. The only reason I’m doing it now is because I just finished my Pac Marathon. There probably wouldn’t ever be a better time to do it than now. Another reason that I put this review off for so long was because not only is it a movie soundtrack, but it’s practically two hours long. It’s a double disc soundtrack album. I rarely even enjoy regular length soundtrack albums, so I was honestly expecting this shit to be trash. That thankfully didn’t end up being the case. I mean, was it a chore to get through? Kind of, yes. I couldn’t just listen to the whole thing in one sitting since it’s 115 minutes long. However, once I’d finally gotten through the entire record, I was glad I gave it a chance.

1. Way Too Major performed by Daz Dillinger featuring Big Tray Deee produced by Daz Dillinger

When I started this album, I was actually shocked by how good this track is. I really expected every song to be decent at best, but this song is awesome. Daz’s production is fantastic, and his rapping on all of the verses is genuinely great. The hook from Tray Deee isn’t really anything special, but it serves it’s purpose, and definitely doesn’t negatively affect my overall enjoyment of the song. I think this is a really good intro to the album, but my only issue is the length. This track really did not need to be more than five minutes long. Maybe I’d be more positive towards the length if there were some featured rappers on the verses. The rappers would have to actually be exciting though. I don’t wanna hear The Outlawz on this shit. A verse from Tray Deee would’ve been nice. I was kind of disappointed that he only performed the hook. However, I think this song is really great overall. It’s dope af.

2. Life’s So Hard performed by 2Pac produced by Daz Dillinger

Once again, I was surprised by the high quality of this song. The production from Daz is really fantastic, and Pac sounds great over it. He’s far from a top-tier rapper in my opinion, but I actually think he killed this track. His aggressive energy and delivery on this track is stellar to me. I don’t know exactly how to talk about it. I think people refer to it as “mic presence.” He just really captures your attention and keeps you entertained throughout the entire track. The hook is really nothing special, but Pac’s rapping is really fucking good. However, I have the same issue with this song that I had with the previous one: it did not need to be over five minutes long. That’s gonna be a recurring motif in this review. This whole project is way too long, and it’s mainly because the songs last much longer than they need to. I really fuck with this song overall though. It’s dope af to me.

3. Greed performed by Ice Cube produced by Bud’da

This track was also featured on what many people consider to be Ice Cube’s first dud: War & Peace, Vol. 1. Honestly, I really like this song. I think the production is great. The first verse from Cube wasn’t that great, and the hook could be better, but I like his delivery a lot. I also liked the second verse too. The way he pronounced “lyrics” as “lee rucks” to fit his rhyme scheme was really cool to me. Lyrically, the song doesn’t really do that much for me; however, I really like the production as well as Cube’s angry delivery. I think this track is dope.

4. Get Yo Bang On performed by Mack 10 featuring Allfrumtha I produced by Binky Mack

This is another pretty good track. At this point, I was really surprised by how much I was enjoying the project. This song has another great, super West Coast beat. The hook isn’t that great, but it serves its purpose I guess. It’s definitely not bad enough to severely discourage repeat listens from me. The first verse from Squeak Ru was pretty cool, and Mack 10 sounded really great on the second verse to me. I also really loved how they were trading quatrains on the final verse of the song. It’s thankfully a pretty great length—just over three minutes—compared to the previous tracks. My biggest gripe with this song is definitely the hook, but, again, it’s not nearly bad enough to ruin the song for me. This track is dope.

5. These Days performed by Nate Dogg featuring Daz Dillinger produced by Daz Dillinger

Nate Dogg is one of those artists who I’ve always enjoyed on features, but I’ve never been interested enough to look into his solo work. This song is pretty cool though. It’s definitely my least favorite track up to this point in the album, but I enjoyed it overall. This is the first beat that I don’t really care for that much; it sounds like something I’d hear in a spa. Well, I don’t think I’ve ever actually been to a spa to be honest. This is what I think they would play though. I really love the hook on this track from Nate Dogg, but unfortunately I wasn’t too crazy about his actual verses. They weren’t particularly bad, but they lost my attention very quickly and kinda faded into the background. Daz had a decent verse, but I can’t really say he added much to the song. This is another track that really overstays its welcome too. It’s way too long. I did not need five minutes of this. They could’ve pared it down by removing the Daz verse. Again, this is my least favorite track up to this point on the album, but I still enjoyed it to some extent.

6. Mash for Our Dreams performed by Storm featuring Young Noble & Daz Dillinger produced by Daz Dillinger

This is the point where my enthusiasm for the album pretty much ceased. Well, maybe I shouldn’t say that because there are songs that I like after this one. This was definitely the first road-bump though, and, believe me, this project is a very bumpy ride. First of all, this song has another very underwhelming beat. I guess it isn’t complete trash, but I can’t really say I enjoyed it all that much. The first verse from Storm was super average. I guess she’s an okay rapper. She’s pretty much just a female Pac clone. The hook from Daz is very lackluster, but the second verse on the song from him is okay. I really wasn’t feelin’ that final verse from Young Noble though. He’s pretty much my least favorite member of the whole Outlawz group. So yeah, I didn’t care for this song. I don’t think it’s that bad, but it’s definitely not something that I’d wanna listen to again in the future. I’d much rather just listen to the real 2Pac than a female clone of him. This is an okay track.

7. Free ‘Em All performed by J-Flexx featuring Tenkamenin the Vigilante produced by QDIII

You know what’s worse than a female clone of 2Pac? A male clone of 2Pac. That’s exactly who Tenkamenin is. He’s just a less entertaining, Southern version of Pac. I don’t know why the fuck anyone would wanna hear that. I mean, if you’re gonna blatantly bite another rapper, you should at least do what they do better than they do it, like Desiigner does with Future. That’s not the case with Tenkamenin though. He’s just a generic, underwhelming Southern 2Pac. I don’t even know why you would wanna be a clone of 2Pac though because he’s not that great of a lyricist. I guess it’d be harder to bite someone like Big L or Masta Ace though. Anyway, the production on this track is decent, and the actual verse from Tenkamenin was okay I guess. Same goes for the hook. Honestly, that’s pretty much how I feel about the whole song. It’s all just very bland stuff. J-Flexx’s performance did absolutely nothing for me. The song is painfully average. It’s not bad though. It’s just okay to me.

8. Starin’ Through My Rearview performed by 2Pac featuring E.D.I. Mean & Yaki Kadafi produced by Hurt-M-Badd & 2Pac

Staring Through My Rearview

This was the only song that I’d actually heard from this project before listening to the full album. This is easily the best song on the whole thing to be honest. The production is really great, and Pac actually killed that first verse. I think this is legitimately one of the best songs he ever made. I love his aggressive delivery on the hook. His performance on this track is fantastic, and I even enjoyed the guest verses from E.D.I. Mean & Yaki Kadafi. I don’t have a single gripe with this track. I think it’s amazing to be honest. The production is superb, and these are some of the best performances I’ve heard from any of these artists. This shit is dope af.

9. Devotion performed by Paradise produced by Les Pierce

This song is super mid. I have no idea who this Paradise woman is, but she failed to impress me in any remote way. She doesn’t stand out at all. She’s just super average. In fact, she’s easily the worst aspect of the whole song. I really wish this beat had been given to a better rapper because I personally think it’s stellar. I’m not sure who the uncredited vocalists that performed on the hook are, but I think they did a pretty good job. So yeah, the production and hook are cool. Unfortunately the actual verses from Paradise just didn’t impress me at all. This song is mediocre to me.

10. I Can’t Fix It performed by Jackers produced by Arthur Griffith & Chris Jackson

This was the most surprising song on the entire project for me. I have absolutely no idea who the fuck this Jackers dude is, and I was unfortunately unable to find any information about him online. However, his performance on this song was shockingly fantastic. This track is really unlike any of the other songs on the album. It’s a super smooth Blues track. The production is great, and Jackers sounds incredibly smooth singing all over it. It’s really between this track and Starin’ Through My Rearview as far as my favorite song goes. I really wish I had more information about this dude because he did an incredible job with this track. It’s amazing. I love it.

11. Questions performed by Tech N9ne produced by QDIII

I actually already wrote about this song when I reviewed Tech N9ne’s debut album, The Calm Before the Storm. I feel like I disliked it more back then than I do now, but I still think it’s pretty bad to be honest. The production is kinda cool, albeit simplistic. The main aspect that I’m able to enjoy is of course Tech’s flow, but that’s obviously not enough to save the song. Lyrically the song does absolutely nothing for me, and I hate how overdramatic Tech is when he’s trying to come off super dark like this. It’s really bad during the hook. That’s definitely my least favorite aspect of the song. Just think about it like this: if Tech’s flow wasn’t as impressive as it is, what else would this song have to offer? The lyrics aren’t particularly good. The hook sucks. The beat is kinda cool at first, but it gets old really quickly. This song is way too fucking long too. Why the fuck are so many of these tracks over five minutes? What the hell is that about? Overall, this is my least favorite track on disc one. It’s definitely not the worst song on the album as a whole, but I’m not feelin’ it. It’s wack to me.

12. Hollywood Bank Robbery performed by Tha Dogg Pound featuring Big Tray Deee & Snoop Dogg produced by Daz Dillinger

This is the last song from the first disc of the album, and they thankfully ended it on a strong note. This track has a really great dark instrumental that kinda reminds me of the beat from Method Man’s Tical title track. The first verse from Daz is pretty dope, and the hook is cool too. The second verse from Tray Deee is hard as hell. He sounds really great over this beat, and I think he killed it. Daz’s second verse was cool, and Snoop did his thing too. Kurupt’s verse was really short, but it wasn’t bad. Overall, this is definitely another standout track. I think Tray Deee stood out the most to me, but everyone else did their thing as well, and the production is really great. This shit is dope af.

13. Made Niggaz performed by 2Pac featuring Napoleon, Hussein Fatal, E.D.I. Mean, Kastro & Yaki Kadafi produced by Johnny “J” & 2Pac

This is the first track from the second disc, and unfortunately this is where the album kinda falls apart for me. I actually thought the first disc was pretty good, but I can’t say the same thing about disc two. I probably wouldn’t say disc two is bad, but it’s just severely mediocre. This track in particular isn’t very good to me, but I probably wouldn’t say that it’s actually bad. I think the production is okay; it’s just too repetitive for me. I liked the first verse from 2Pac, but the hook isn’t that good, and the Outlawz really ruin this track for me. Maybe I’d like this song if it was just a solo 2Pac track. Now that I think about it, I feel like solo 2Pac songs are super rare. But yeah, this song isn’t that good to me. I’m not gonna be listening to it again.

14. Loc’d Out Hood performed by Kurupt produced by Daz Dillinger

This is another average song that I won’t be returning to. I was looking forward to it because I think Kurupt is a really great and under-appreciated rapper. However, this track really missed the mark for me. The beat from Daz is solid, and the first verse was cool, but the hook is really weak to me, especially because of those uncredited background vocals that come in. It sounds really lame to me. The rapping from Kurupt really just isn’t that impressive to me either. It’s certainly not terrible, but it just feels like it’s missing something. It doesn’t capture my attention. The instrumental actually gets old pretty quickly too. Overall, I think it’s an okay song, but it has pretty much zero replay value for me personally.

15. Gang Related performed by CJ Mac, Big Tray Deee & Daz n’ WC produced by Daz Dillinger

This is the first of only three songs that I actually like from the second disc of this album. The production from Daz is really great, and I enjoyed the first verse from CJ Mac a lot too. Daz’s hook isn’t that great, but it gets the job done I guess. It definitely doesn’t ruin the song for me. I actually feel like every verse on this song is better than the one it follows. Tray Deee killed that second verse. WC really stood out the most on the final verse though. His flow was really fantastic. If I had to choose a favorite song from the second disc, I’d probably actually go with this one. Again, the hook could’ve been better, but overall I really fuck with this shit. It’s dope.

16. Keep Your Eyes Open performed by O.F.T.B. produced by Brian G

This is definitely one of the worst songs on the album in my opinion. It’s worse than every song that precedes it. I wasn’t familiar with anyone in this group before I listened to this song, and I wished that never changed after hearing it. None of the members impressed me at all. I thought the first verse sucked. I thought all the verses sucked though. The hook wasn’t good either, and even the production was wack to me. There’s really not a single aspect of this song that I like even a little bit. And again… WHY the fuck is this shit more than five minutes long? Nah. Fuck that. This song is terrible to me.

17. Lady performed by 6 Feet featuring Storm produced by Regi Devell

This song is just as terrible as the previous track in my opinion, but for different reasons. This 6 Feet dude is a singer, and I didn’t care for his performance at all. The production was very lackluster too. This song was actually so bad that it made me laugh, especially when he told the listener—who I assume is supposed to be a woman—to “FEEL MY LOVE SWELL.” Is “love” supposed to be a euphemism for his cock? I actually thought Storm’s flow was kinda cool, but it definitely wasn’t enough to save this bullshit ass song. This shit is super wack to me.

18.  Take a Nigga Like Me performed by Young Soldierz produced by Lil Stretch & Big Wy

I don’t know if y’all have noticed this about the second disc, but it’s mostly occupied by a bunch of random ass niggas that nobody has ever heard of. Young Soldierz is apparently a group comprised of Big Wy, Suga Buga, Pops, and Lil Stretch. Apparently they’re affiliated with the Bloods & Crips who came together for that Bangin’ on Wax album back in the early 90s. But anyway, this song is fucking terrible. First of all, the production is just flat out bad. This beat sucks ass. My main issue with this track is the actual rappers though. These dudes sound just like those insanely nondescript, anonymous niggas that I’d hear on an old DJ Screw tape. These dudes are insultingly generic and uninteresting. This is another one of the wackest songs on the album to me. I think it’s terrible.

19. What Have You Done? performed by B.G.O.T.I. produced by Dwayne Armstrong

This track is just a generic old school R&B song from a female vocalist who I’ve never heard of. It’s definitely a step up from the previous few tracks. I think B.G.O.T.I. has a pretty good voice, and the production is solid. It’s really not that bad of a song. It just isn’t really that enjoyable to me personally since I’m not into this kinda music. I mean, I do like R&B. It has to be really good R&B though, and this isn’t enjoyable enough to warrant repeat listens from me. I’m never gonna hear this song ever again in my life. It’s a decent track though. Definitely one of the better songs from disc two.

20. What’s Ya Fantasy performed by Daz Dillinger featuring Storm, Young Noble & Napoleon produced by Daz Dillinger

This is easily the worst song on the whole album. This shit is fucking awful. My main issue with it is really the content. I don’t like Pornocore music at all, so this shit is really not for me. The production isn’t too bad, but lyrically this song is trash. The singing from Daz on the hook is unbearable, and his verse is horrible.

You want your ass and your pussy chewed out
But baby that ain’t what I’m about
Let me stick all this in your mouth
Now won’t you get freaky, and won’t you turn it out
And have visions of the dick and balls getting swallowed
Let you swim in the sperm with no goggles

No. Absolutely not. This song is fucking horrific. The second verse from Storm is really hard to take seriously due to her aggressive, Pac-ish delivery. Young Noble & Napoleon were trash as well. I feel like I’ve already made it clear how I feel about this song. This shit is wack af to me.

21. A Change to Come performed by J-Flexx featuring Tenkamenin the Vigilante, Bahamadia, Con Funk Shun & Kool & the Gang produced by Barney

This is the second of three tracks that I like from disc two of this album. This is definitely a very flawed track, but I’d say I enjoyed it overall. First of all, I was very disappointed when I first heard this song and realized that Bahamadia didn’t really rap on it at all. She literally just said a few words on the intro, and then disappeared. The production on this track is really dope though, and I liked the first verse from J-Flexx. The hook isn’t great, but it’s tolerable. I wasn’t crazy about the Southern Pac clone’s verse at the end of the song, but it wasn’t too bad I guess. I just barely like this song. If I had just one more gripe with it I probably wouldn’t be coming back to it. Again, it’s a very flawed track. I like it overall though. I think it’s pretty good.

22. Freak Somethin’ performed by Roland produced by Butch & Tommy D. Daugherty

Roland is yet another random ass nigga that I’ve never heard of before, and most likely will never hear of again after I’m done with this review. I consider that a good thing though because this song sucks. The sexual content in this song doesn’t appeal to me at all, and the production sounds like shit. It sounds like a wack ass 80s bubblegum rap beat. Roland’s flow was actually kind of impressive, but that’s literally the only aspect of the song that I enjoyed. The beat is trash, and the content sucks. This shit is wack.

23. Feelin’ a Good Thang performed by 2DV produced by Carlas Closson

Surprisingly enough, I actually like the instrumental for this song, but it’s mainly just because of the hard-hitting percussion. 2DV is a decent singer I suppose. However, this dated style of R&B just doesn’t appeal to me at all. This sounds like something my dad would turn on in the car and start singing along to, and then he’d be like “You don’t know this song? This was the jam!” and then I’d be like “Dad, I was born in the 90s.” I mean, it’s definitely not a trash song. It’s certainly listenable. It just doesn’t appeal to me at all personally. I never wanna hear this again.

24. Lost Souls performed by 2Pac featuring Young Noble & E.D.I. Mean produced by QDIII & Barney

This is the last song on the album, and I actually like it. Just like the first disc, they ended the second disc strong. The production on this track is really great. The first verse from Pac wasn’t amazing or anything, but I enjoyed it, and the hook was pretty good too. I actually didn’t really mind Young Noble’s feature that much at all thankfully. E.D.I. Mean’s verse was fine as well. Just like with the previous 2Pac track, this would’ve been much better as a solo 2Pac song, but I still enjoyed it quite a bit. I think this song is dope.

Overall, I can’t say I think this is a good album. However, as I mentioned in the preamble, I’m glad I listened to this because there are a lot of songs on it that I really love—particularly on the first disc. The second disc was pretty rough, but even that one had a few songs I enjoyed. This really should’ve just been one disc though. That second disc was completely unnecessary. I guess they included it because they were trying to shine a light on some lesser known artists, and, as far as I can tell, they completely failed because ain’t nobody givin’ a shit about artists like O.F.T.B. or Young Soldierz. Even though I enjoyed a decent amount of these songs, I’d probably only recommend this project to people who are hardcore fans of West Coast Hip Hop. I think it’s okay overall, but I really only liked 11 out of 24 tracks, which is less than 50%. So yeah, this was a decent project. Maybe just skim the tracks that feature artists you care about, and skip the rest of the shit. I’m sure that’s what most people who are mildly interested do. But yeah, I think it’s an okay album.

Favorite Song: Starin’ Through My Rearview
Least Favorite Song: What’s Ya Fantasy


Grade: C

One comment

  1. Stuff I forgot to mention.

    Kurupt’s song was intended for Pac’s second to last film Gridlock’d titled “Come Drift With Me”, but was scrapped for reasons unknown

    Hollywood Bank Robbery depending on who you speak with was likely inspired by a well-known violent bank robbery that happened a few months earlier in North Hollywood or it was inspired by a former freelance DR security man/suuuuuuper corrupt police officer/alleged killer of Notorious BIG by the name of David Mack who stole about ten grand in 1997 from various banks in the Hollywood area.

    Take of that what you will.

    I think I already you the story about Life’s So Hard and how it came to be.

    And copies of the Jackers album are floating around Ebay if you know where to look…

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