You have to wonder how Lil Cease must’ve felt when he pitched up to the annual Weed Carrier Convention in 1999. He’s on a table with Memphis Bleek, Streetlife and Cuban Link. All of them were granted some time to shine on their respective bosses albums. Cease had never got on Life After Death, despite doing a sterling job of holding BIG's weed and making sure there was plenty of paprika Pringles on the tour bus. All Bleek had to do was memorise a verse and he not only got on Reasonable Doubt but ended up doing the fucking intro to Volume 2 over one of Premier’s best beats. Life was not fair. Still, now that he’d finally had the green light for his own album everything would be lovely. The budget was huge because it was nearly impossible for a rap album not to go gold, and he’d got a bunch of beats that Mase had turned down, which not only saved him a bit of money but also dispensed with the issue of finding his own sound. Redman, Jay Z and Puffy had all recorded verses for it so all he needed was a dope cover and he was good to go.
As it turned out, the hilariously bad cover was not the only problem with Cease’s album but it probably didn’t help matters. I purchased it recently - not for any significant amount of money obviously – on the strength of the fact that I really liked ‘More Dangerous’ and thought that maybe there’d be a few other similar tracks on there worth having. There was not.
Cease isn’t a great rapper. Not that that’s ever got in the way of success but he obviously saw Mase’s success as his blueprint and plays up the ladies man angle while throwing in a few tougher tunes for the fellas. The thing was we already had Mase. As a result, the highlights on the album tend to be the guest spots. Future Sport would’ve made a great solo track for Redman. 4 My Niggaz is worth a listen just for the sake of hearing a Jay Z verse from the late 90s that hasn’t been played to death. That’s pretty much it. The rest of the songs probably wouldn’t bother you too much on their own in the context of say, a DJ Clue tape, but digesting the whole thing in one go is a big ask.
As a result it definitely qualifies for a ‘weak albums with 1 or 2 good songs’ list. Nashiem Myrick’s piano led beat for More Dangerous wouldn’t have sounded out of place on The War Report and as it sounds different to pretty much everything else on ‘The Wonderful World..’ it seems strange that it’s the opening track. Busta Rhymes is restricted to chorus duties, reciting a line from Biggie’s ‘Warning’ and Mr Bristal and G Dep put in a decent shift with the verses. So Dont' Sleep.