2011 has already seen some of rap music’s most respected artists stepping back into the ring. The Beastie Boys dropped the throwback success Hot Sauce Committee Pt. 2 while DJ Quik came back with the acclaimed The Book of David. Although not as anticipated or successful as those just mentioned, Riches, Royalty, Respect marks the return of one of rap’s elder statesmen, Kool G Rap.
Riches, Royalty, Respect doesn’t venture far from comfortable territory for Kool G. Street narratives, classic rap bravado, and gangster stories run through most of the album, where Kool G appears the most comfortable and natural.
Feist-sampling “The Meaning to Your Love” finds Queens rapper questioning if things went south, how his woman would react, “I bet you say, ‘salute captain’ and go pack your tents” over a head-nodding drum line. “$ Ova Bitches” is a trip back in time over old school hip-hop beat breaks that wouldn’t sound out of place if it was released two decades ago.
Riches, Royalty, Respect does owe its style to early rap music, but golden era hip-hop loyalty doesn’t make this album is perfect. At one point Kool G Rap was producing some of the time’s best hip-hop. However, hip-hop has changed and gangsta rap isn’t packing the punch it once did. The Beastie Boys succeeded this year in bringing back their classic style, and executing it near perfectly. Riches, Royalty, Respect has similar, and proper intentions but doesn’t have the same impact. Kool G can still rap circles around most of today’s MCs, and hopefully in future releases showcase that better.
3.5 out of 5
Stream “The Meaning to Your Love” below.