Diving further into the dirty south I picked out this record from No Limit rapper "Silkk The Shocker" that marked his commercial peak with a platinum record that debuted first on the American billboard charts. There's an agitated and aggressive side to Silk's flow and flicking through this record I found it unappealing but decided to give this one a go anyway. Its often the case that familiarity makes music easier to understand and by the end of my first listen I was really starting to dig Silkk's style that sways between a smoother traditional delivery and the agitated, violent rap style similar to the energetic hyped flow of Mystikal who appears on this record too with a whole array of guests from the No Limit family, including RnB singer Mya who illuminates the single track "Somebody Like Me".
Like many records of this era "Made Man" stretches the CD length with 74 minutes of beats and raps that hold it together without dragging on. There's a fair amount of variety in theme and mood that shifts around from track to track. From gangster, to RnB with some heart felt tracks in between the mood can switch quickly yet somehow it flows. For example the rowdy rhyme stomping track "No Limit" where Silkk, Fiend & Mystikal spell out words is followed by the remorse for the dead song "End Of The Road". This chop and change approach helps keep the record exciting and beside the more traditional Rap tracks there's a handful of more creative and experimental tracks that where a breath of fresh air for the sound of this era. The album's name and opening track lay's down a theme and concept for the record which drops off immediately. Romanticizing with gangster culture of the Italian-American mafia, Silkk creates a scene of him becoming a "made man" like in the Godfather movies. There's not much mention of this theme after that, one of two tracks bring it up but essentially that's as far as it goes.
Silkk and the group bring a decent set of raps but nothing exceptional, Master P seemed excessively hyped with many of his enthusiastic ugh shouts in the background, couldn't help but put a smile on my face. It was nice to hear Jay-Z pop up on "You know What We Bout" but his style sounded out of place. The records production is solid and testament to holding this one together for 74 minutes. Its a typical late 90s collection of clean MIDI instruments with less sampling and plenty of creativity. One or two tracks stand out, but in general its a solid but not spectacular record that was worth giving a fair few listens.
Favorite Songs: Somebody Like Me, I Ain't My Fault, No Limit, Southside Niggas, Get It Up