Do or Die, the Chicago rap trio that schooled music fans about the finer point of "p-i-m-p-ology" on their 1996 signature hit, "Po' Pimp," will release their fourth album, Victory, on Tuesday.
That album and a major label re-release of Ying Yang Twins' successful underground LP, Thug Walkin', are the week's top hip-hop releases.
Do or Die — individually known as A.K., N.A.R.D. and Belo — scored a 1996 underground hit with their independent gold single "Po' Pimp" (RealAudio excerpt). After that, Do or Die inked a record deal with Rap-a-Lot, which released their debut, Picture This, and the group's gold follow-up LP, Headz or Tailz.
On Victory, A.K. said, the theme is about the group's triumph in the music industry.
"The artists that come out of Chicago today don't really get a chance to survive," said A.K. (born Dennis Round), who toiled for 11 years in the Chicago rap scene before Do or Die's big break.
"Even in the whole industry, how many people get a chance to get to the third album?" he asked.
Do or Die built a career on consistent albums with catchy beats and their distinctive, singsong rap style. This time, A.K. said, the rappers have a few surprises for their fans.
Among them are collaborations with Ja Rule, E-40 and producer Irv Gotti, who produced "Can U Make It Hot" (RealAudio excerpt) and "Bounce With Me."
Another notable track is the spiritually themed "Stay Focused" (RealAudio excerpt). On that song, A.K. raps about late-night drives he made when he was coping with the death of his older brother, who died of cancer in 1992 in a Chicago prison.
"He was like my guardian angel," A.K. said. "I had him on my mind a lot, so I used to take a ride and light a cigarette in the car and talk to God," the rapper recalled.
Farther south, the Atlanta rap duo Ying Yang Twins will reissue their underground hit LP, Thug Walkin', on Universal with two remixes of their hit ode to strip joints, "Whistle While You Twurk" (RealAudio excerpt). The next single from that LP will be "Ying Yang in This Thang" featuring the rap girl-group Hoodratz.