The year was 1993, the beginning of an era that many would later refer to as â€œThe Golden Era.â€ A year after Steve Rifkind started up Loud Records, emcees Tash and J-Ro, accompanied by their producer/DJ/sometimes emcee E-Swift, released a classic party abum that defied the sound that was predominant in the Los Angeles region at that time. That album was 21 & Over.
After making guest appearances on the tracks â€œGot It Bad Yâ€™allâ€ and â€œBus Dat Assâ€ from King Teeâ€™s criminally underrated opus Tha Triflinâ€™ Album, Tha Alkaholiks showed they were ready to step out on their own, and they did so with a vengeance. From Tashâ€™s opening verse on â€œLikwit,â€ the group made a mission statement that they would stick with for the majority career. They would release lyrically potent party jams that largely focused on the finer things in life- which was, in their case, blunts, bitches and brew.
5 years after EPMD sampled â€œSeven Minutes of Funkâ€ by Tyrone Thomas and the Whole Darn Family, Tha Liks followed suit with â€œOnly When Iâ€™m Drunk.â€ The beat was used three years later by Jay-Z and Foxy for â€œAinâ€™t No Nigga,â€ which definitely caught some more shine than Tha Liksâ€™ version, but itâ€™s debatable which song was better; although theyâ€™re completely different songs, theyâ€™re still of equal quality in my mind. The remaining 8 songs of the album (yes, this was back in the days when artists would release albums with 10 great songs, instead of 5 good songs, and 17 filler tracks) were all of equally high quality... although my faves are still â€œLast Call,â€ Turn Tha Party Out,â€ â€œMake Roomâ€ and â€œWho Dem Niggas.â€
While Tha Alkaholiks made it a point to include their mentor on several tracks (something they later accused former Likwit Crew member Xzibit of not doing), they also introduced the world to The Lootpack on â€œTurn Tha Party Out.â€ Although that group would go on to release Soundpieces: Da Antidote in 1999, it was group member Madlib who would go on to gain the most recognition in the hip hop world, especially due to his work with Jay Dilla on the Jaylib album and with MF Doom and the Madvillain album. Thereâ€™s word that Lib is also currently working on a collabo album with E-Swift. Over the years, other Liks albums would also introduce us to Strong Arm Steadyâ€™s Phil Da Agony and the biggest star to come out of the Likwit Crew, Xzibit.
Although Tha Alkaholiks ended on a sour note with 2006â€™s shameful final effort, Firewater, they did leave us with with 2 fantastic albums other than this one (Coast 2 Coast and Likwidation) and one other album that was decent (The XO Experience). But still, their debut showed a hunger that wasnâ€™t seen in their later work, and in my opinion, it still stands out as their best album.