Can there have been a time before "bling bling"? A now-ubiquitous motto for the diamond-glinting Cash Money posse, the phrase was enshrined by rapper B.G. (short for Baby Gangsta, in tribute to his tender years) in the track of that name on his 1999 album, Chopper City in the Ghetto. Now B.G., who has released five albums while still a teen, is back with Checkmate. It's a welcome dose of the same strong stuff he's been slinging - morality tales about life and death on the block and in the champagne lounge, all set to irresistible tracks by Mannie Fresh, Cash Money's resident producer. B.G.'s easy flow and the slow-rolling syncopation of "Hennessey and XTC" deftly update Snoop's "Gin and Juice." But "He Used 2 Be a Man" gay-baits a street soldier who "got turned out" in prison, an unfortunate ending to an otherwise bold, consistent collection.
(Posted: Feb 1, 2001)