Most people who are old enough to remember “I Got To Have It” still love it. It’s an undeniable banger. It fits you like your favorite hoodie, and not just because the Awesome Two were wise enough to keep a perfect beat simple and plain. Ed O.G.’s performance is the only necessary embellishment and he brings it. He is boastful and yet displays so much likable humility you’d swear it was your young uncle rapping. He isn’t the smooth style master perfectionist a la BDK or Rakim, but he raps with a controlled energetic sloppiness more in the neighborhood of Zev Luv X or Jeru at their respective peaks.
Just in case you’re on the knucklehead tip these days, Ed O.G. has some lyrics to smack you upside your head, back to reality: “You can buy some new Adidas but you can’t buy my life back.” Or “You’re not a father ’cause you got a son unless you’re taking care of him,” which he famously expounds upon on “Be A Father.” There’s a thin line between platitudinous preaching and truth telling, and the breed of pro rapper that straddles the line must never become extinct, or else we are beset by a deluge of narcissistic babbling and amoral fratricidal rah-rah. A genre cannot live by swagger alone, and certainly not swagger that puts self-exaltation above every other form of expression. Listen to this again with new ears. — Thun