In 1989 came "Road To The Riches", the debut album from the Hip Hop duo Kool G Rap & DJ Polo. It sees the pair working together as Polo cuts up production from merely Marl through the record and allows G Rap to do his thing by providing what would become the Mafioso Rap scene years later. There one of many legendary producer/MC link ups coming out of New York at the time with the likes of Eric B. & Rakim, Pete Rock & CL Smooth and Gang Starr all coming up at the same time and making a big impact upon the Hip Hop sounds of the time.
1. "Road To The Riches"
Getting the album underway, you see that straight away we have them dropping right into something hardcore in order to get listeners excited for what they have to offer, and with Marley Marl freaky beats and the lisped flows from G Rap, you know that we are in for some classic material here. It is a big joint, and just the way you want it to begin.
2. "It's A Demo"
Following on straight off the massive introductory joint, you have a single which came out a good three years prior to this album dropped and so it has a distinctive sound which sounds to be a bridging point between the Old School and the Golden Age so the flows appear to complement this with something appropriate and production which does what it should with your typical James Brown sample.
3. "Men At Work"
Moving things on somewhat, you see that with this one you get a joint which takes on more of the expected samples from the time as you see that Kool G Rap jumps on some Breakbeats and chooses "Apache" to be the perfect stuff to get on top of to get busy on. It is a rough display from him in a manner which reflects what Rakim, LL Cool J and Big Daddy Kane were known most for from this time to the early nineties.
4. "Truly Yours"
The pace appears to slow pretty significantly for this one as it allows the MC to show just how well he can manage beats which are done in a manner which contrasts from the general sound of East Coast Hip Hop of the late eighties. The content of the rhymes is altered to fit in with this too and it makes for something you can't help but bounce along to.
The Breakbeats return for this one and it means that he is able to get back to more of the classic material which really defined the time. You see that he samples the Gary Numan song "Car" and gets him flowing in a manner which isn't really as you would have expected it to go down as the flows appear to reflect what was heard by the likes of D.M.C and DJ Run and so it seems to take things back a little, but it is still a fly one.
6. "Trilogy Of Terror"
The beats on here are hardcore and they see Marley Marl coming up with some of the most creative production which you will get on the whole thing as it appears to come out of nowhere and it has him bringing in so many samples of things from all over the place to show that the sounds of this underground Hip Hop was designed to take on the times of the past and advance them with a fresh style of delivery.
7. "She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not"
The heavy bass pounds in this one are very representative of the type of beats which made Marl popular in the game, and you see that with this, he is able to come up with something which somehow allows G Rap to come up with the drive to come up with some Love Rap. With it, you get that his approach adapts once more with his funk delivery taking a lot more form Rakim than at another points and making it really flow in order to fit in with the calmer feel of this tune.
8. "Cold Cuts" (Lude)
9. "Rhymes I Express"
Off some solo work from DJ Polo, this one sees that this one takes things back a little more with a tune which has heavy beats stuck in a pretty rigid structure and so it means that G Rap is made to do things in the DJ Run style once again by barking it out with a bounce and I felt that it was a lot more successful here than earlier as it manages to bring much more of what was the modern style (than what "Cars" did).
Later sampled in the classic new Jack Swing track from Bell Biv DeVoe, this is a fly tune which has the artist getting into to some flows which appear to be played out in a very original way which you really wouldn't expect to get anywhere else (at this tie) as it sees him moving from one style of rapping frequently to keep you interested and anticipating where he could possibly take things after.
11. "Butcher Shop"
The final track on the album is just as appealing as everything else you get on the record, and for this particular one you see that you get much more of a prominence from DJ Polo, who is enabled to get much more of a say on how this one is thrown out with his fresh cuts altering the way which G Rap is able to his rhymes. The beats in this one are essential perfect Hip Hop of the eighties and you can't fault it at all.
This is a straight classic record from the pair and one of many to come out of the time as perfect debut albums for Hip Hop artists bursting through on debut efforts and so if you liked what any of the main players from the East Coast were saying (EPMD, Public Enemy, DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, or anyone who has already been mentioned) then you will surely enjoy all of this.