"21 & Over" was released in 1993 and came as the debut album from the West Coast Hip Hop crew Tha Alkaholiks. The trio (consisting of Tash, J-Ro and E-Swift) out of LA came with this album as the G-Funk sound blew up, but rather than taking on the style of the more popular acts in their region, they chose to keep things underground and more traditional, and do just this here on their short first record.
In collaboration with King Tee, we see that here the act burst out with a hyped tune that has them immediately showing exactly what they are about and the type of sound that they represent as they come through with the type of style that the likes of Dilated Peoples, Jurassic 5 and The Pharcyde would be known for. Here we get a heavily East Coast-styled tune and it goes hard with their West Coast spin to things.
2. "Only When I'm Drunk"
This one is simply too much and its all down to the fact that we see that they jump over The Whoel Darn Family's "Seven Minutes of Funk". With a groove that competes with just about any other in the Funk game, you can't really complain, and from here you see that after we have them messing around with the thing, they show how they get down with their fly rhymes as they flow about overconsumption of alcohol.
3. "Last Call"
Keeping on with the drink-related music, we see that here they come out with a track that has them sampling a bit more classic Funk and in this case a little James Brown is used. Here we are forced to be taken on a journey with Tash's flows at first and from here it allows the others to do their thing and get the most out of the thing. This track keeps the quality of things up and shows that we're in for nothing but that hardcore stuff here.
4. "Can't Tell Me S**t"
With some jingling sounds being used (in the way that they were commonly used around this time - especially out on the East Coast's underground scene), here the crew come out with a track that has them doing some rather traditional Hip Hop material where they just get to some typical bragging rhymes where they show just how they can't be tested for their skills and what they do here display it well.
5. "Turn Tha Party Out"
Sampling the Ultramagnetic MC's, on this one we have them going hard with more of the funky stuff and some of the hardcore material that I'm sure that anyone who really felt the sounds of the Golden Age of Hip Hop must really be down with here. I really can't see any room for complaints here as they change the direction and do some party material to open things up and show how their lyrical stuff can be adapted to just about anything.
Here they get up over more classic Hip Hop breaks that were used in the late eighties and I felt that it was a great way to set things up and get them right into the perfect place to go on to make the most impressive material. The tune rolls well with the grungy production (which they personally created themselves - with a little assistance from King Tee). By this point, you can't see any opportunity for them to lose the high standard.
7. "Soda Pop"
Here they come more funky stuff and more material that I feel is quite accessible to all of those who are down with any Hip Hop from this period. I would, however, have to say that it stands out in being quite different from a what else was comign out of LA at the time and so would have sounded rather refreshing whilst everyone was messing around with the synth to innovate more heavy G-Funk.
8. "Make Room"
Their debut single and the breakthrough tune for them, this is a straight killer one a track from them and one that stands out massively here as we see how they come out with a little something to show that they haven't got time to mess around and need all others who aren't quite ready to compete, should just leave because they are down to take over the game with this hardcore Hip Hop material.
9. "Mary Jane"
On this one we see that Tha 'Liks visit an expected place as they come through with a track that has them rapping about the cannabis they smoke. I felt that it was a strong concept tune and one that has them showing just how effectively they are able to do well when it comes to using extended metaphors. The tune has a fly swing to it and gets you engaged from the start to set it all up nicely for them.
10. "Who Dem N***as"
The album ends on this one and one it we see that they come out with some ruthless rhymes. I felt that this one had a bit of a different feel from the rest of the ones on tea bum as they go in a bit rougher with this one and I felt as though people who aren't as likely to get into this kind of music would have been put off if they heard this kind of material at the start of the album and so I thought it was a good way to end it as they show that there's more to them than what else has been seen here.
This is a straight-up killer album from them. I felt that it was one that deserved much more attention than it did get when it dropped and so people should revisit it as it offers so much and ha them killing it from the moment from when they step on the scene. Not a single track sounds out of place and it stays as consistent as their second album.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
2 Only When I'm Drunk
3 Last Call
4 Can't Tell Me Shit
5 Turn tha Party Out
7 Soda Pop
8 Make Room
9 Mary Jane
10 Who Dem Niggas