Rapper Drag-On gets his chance to
stand alongside hot-selling Ruff Ryders labelmates DMX,
Eve and the LOX
this week with the release of his debut album, Opposite of H20.
Last year, four discs from Ruff Ryders artists, including two from DMX, debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart. The others were Eve's Let There Be Eve ... Ruff Ryders' First Lady and the compilation Ruff Ryders: Ryde or Die Vol. 1. The LOX's We Are the Streets debuted at #5 in January.
Drag-On (born Mel Smalls), 20, already has a modest hip-hop hit in "Spit
These Bars" and is touring arenas this month with the rest of the Ruff
Ryders and with the rappers signed to Cash Money Records. Opposite of
H20 features production from Swizz Beatz and guest appearances by DMX, Eve, Styles of the LOX and Scarface of the Geto Boys.
Drag-On had a verse on "No Love 4 Me" (RealAudio excerpt), from DMX's Flesh of My Flesh Blood of My Blood.
Also in stores Tuesday is Common's Like Water for Chocolate. The Chicago native's second album features live instrumentation and has a jazzy sound on several tracks, including the Mos Def collaboration "The Question."
The 27-year-old Common worked with Nigerian bandleader Femi Kuti on the conga-and-sax-drenched "Time Traveling." Roots drummer ?uestlove produced and played drums on several tracks.
"I ain't afraid to take chances," Common said earlier this month. "I feel like an innovator. I like doing styles. I like having fun with it. That's what makes it interesting."