October 30, 2017

Special Ed - Legal (1990)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Hip-Hop
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© 1990 Profile Records
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson
If you asked most hip-hoppers of the late '80s or early '90s what main the difference between East Coast and West Coast rappers was, they would have explained that while West Coast rappers were primarily concerned with beats and lyrics, the top priority of East Coast rappers was their rapping technique. Having interesting lyrics <|>a la Ice-T and Ice Cube or impressive tracks a la Dr. Dre would get you respect in L.A., San Diego or Oakland, but if you were an aspiring MC in Queens, Philadelphia or Atlantic City, the best way to earn the respect of your homeboys and homegirls was showing off your flow or rhyming technique. Around 1989-91, Special Ed was among the East Coast's most respected rappers, and the thing that earned him so much respect was the type of excellent technique he brings to his second album, Legal (so named because he had turned 18). Produced by Hitman Howie Tee, the main purpose of this CD is showing off Ed's rapping skills--and, to be sure, they're quite solid. That said, the album's best moments come when he tells some type of story instead of simply boasting and displaying his technique. "Livin' Like a Star" and "The Mission" demonstrate that the Flatbush, Brooklyn native can be a funny and clever storyteller when he puts his mind to it; the problem is that he doesn't do nearly enough storytelling. This is a generally likable effort, although it certainly isn't without its limitations.

tags: special ed, legal, 1990, flac,


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