You've Been 'N This Neighborhood Before

West Coast rapper MC Eiht is most famous for bringing "Jeah!" into the national street vernacular with the 1993 smash "Streiht Up Menace" (RealAudio excerpt), but he's been dropping discs about life in the 'hood for years. With his eighth album and fourth solo release, N' My Neighborhood, he continues to look at his usual street themes with an experienced eye.

N' My Neighborhood has all the gansta rap stock elements. There's a tour around the ghetto ("All Around the Hood") and "bounce with me" street anthems such as "Git Money" and "Tha Hood Is Mine" (RealAudio excerpt), which features Mack 10 and Techniec. The wild guitar riffs and lyrics in "Lunatic" remind that Eiht is still deadly, while the funk-driven basslines and R&B stylings in "Hood Ratz" (RealAudio excerpt) (an ode to neighborhood women) and "Hold Up" (RealAudio excerpt) (Eiht's reflection on growing up, featuring Soultre) offer fans mellow mood music.

"So Ruff," with its flickering electronic beat, contains the most inspired rhymes on the disc. But most of the introspection is less inspired. "You got yo enemies/ you got yo old G's/ in the penitentiaries just want to be free/ if I had another chance would I do it again? ... Judgment for this young thug in the end," raps Eiht in "From Yo Hood 2 My Hood," over a bassline that sounds strikingly like Rose Royce's classic "Love Don't Live Here Anymore."

N' My Neighborhood will appeal to fans looking to hear Eiht's molasses drawl drop more rhymes about ghetto survival. But for most, this is a ride through a 'hood they've probably seen before.