Master P’s legendary run throughout the 90s established himself & No Limit as an unstoppable force. Reading deep into the history of Master P, it seems as if all the odds were stacked against him. From coming from the ghettos of Third Ward of Uptown New Orleans, Louisiana in the Calliope Projects, to the death of his brother Kevin Miller, creating the self-established record store turned record label, there’s just plainly too much to note. While his solo discography post-00s doesn’t stack up nearly as well as his 90s work, those earlier years have stood the test of time.
New Orleans Doc News Special w/ Master P 1996
One such underrated release is Only God Can Judge Me, his return to rap after his extremely short-lived retirement. While it is quite hard to top the classic that MP Da Last Don is, having some of his biggest songs to date all packed into a double album that was meant to be the end of his career as a rapper, this 1999 release holds on its own. The production does end up a little weaker than earlier releases, Beats By The Pound that had provided so many classics are missing from this release, Master P makes up for this by stepping up his lyrical abilities. A lot of the best verses are shared by No Limit members on albums like Ice Cream Man, Master P has many highlights on this release.
“Return of Da Don” gets to show himself off in full, as Silkk da Shocker has a good as ever verse, Master P takes up an unexpected verse on the back end of the track. Straying from the overly 2Pac influenced flow that he’ll usually take up, he spits a verse that has more in common with what Silkk will do while still maintaining the grittiness he can bring to the track.
Master P – Return Of Da Don (ft. Silkk Da Shocker)
That’s not to say the Pac influences are gone from this release, “Ghetto Prayer” takes Pac’s “Hail Mary” chorus without batting an eye, they are much more toned down on the verses. Songs like “Step to Dis” feel like a perfect blend of influences, from the NY scratching, to the 80s West Coast electro style beat, with Master P’s New Orleans-style drawl, it feels like what people like to give more modern rappers like A$AP Rocky all the credit for. This mix of regional sounds gives Master P’s albums a feel that goes above what his contemporaries were doing, this along with the lo-fi recording of the No Limit albums, give the albums a true DIY approach that feels like hip hop at its core. Hip Hop’s sound became so clean by the late 90s, with Diddy’s Shiny Suit era & the general direction hip hop had moved in, No Limit brought it back to basics in the right way.
This clearly wasn’t lost on major players in hip hop, as even NY legend Nas drops a verse that gives Master P the greatest cosign possible. Cosigning everything from his music to his movies, its clear what Master P’s mogul mindset had an effect on Nas so many years later. As Nas has now released a documentary covering the Supreme Team, and many moves into investing in companies & entrepreneurship, what Master P had done in the 90s can be felt to this very day.
Check it out
I bought this two tickets to see these No Limit movies
Foolish I Got The Hook Up!, me and my baby far from a hooker
It’s good to see young men doing something right with their life
Could be a the next Spielberg, I supported it I enjoyed it that night
Master P – Where Do We Go From Here (ft. Nas & Mac)
Capitalizing on this cosign, Master P in just a few songs later he drops one of the greatest flexes in bar on “Ain’t Nothing Changed”:
How ya like me now thugs I made it out the brick
Member I was broke nigga, picture me rich
Still hangin with my soldiers, still blowin doja
We made men but still knock some haters off the shoulder
You can Hate Me Now, I did a song with Nas
Master P strikes a balance of hard & solemn tracks, “Y’all Don’t Want None” are amongst the best of the album & “Ghetto In The Sky” catch the contemplative tone tracks like “I Miss My Homies” were able to capture. There’s no blatant radio hit with the exception of the “Ice On My Wrist (Remix),” which had already found success on its own & follows the fashion of the “Bout It Bout It” remixes. His constant rejection of industry trends made his work special, something completely absent in his later 2010s work. No Limit was more than a moment in time, it was a sound, a style, a record label, a movie studio, anything & everything.
His discography from here on goes out with a whimper. Ghetto Postage feels like a bitter response to the criticisms this album received, using self-praising skits about his production choice. His 2010s work is a mix of standard trap music & luxury rap that Rick Ross pioneered, which sounds interesting considering his background, but it is done with the least amount of passion possible. Only God Can Judge Me still captures him with genuine heart, and a sound of his own without following others.