By the time that M.O.P.’s 4th full-length hit in August of 2000, they were true vets in the rap game, with battle scars to prove it. Debuting seven years previous with “How About Some Hardcore?,” the Brownsville, Brooklyn duo of Lil’ Fame and Billy Danze had blazed a heavy path through the underground for the remainder of the decade, never faltering with an aggressive, brassknuckled vocal style, frequently bolstered by DJ Premier’s top-tier backing.
Warriorz was a true game-changer for M.O.P., as the album catapulted the pair onto the upper echelons of the rap charts, where they shared real estate with softer and cornier stars of the day. One major reason for the album’s success was the runaway hit “Ante Up (Robbin Hoodz Theory),” produced by D/R Period, who broke them into the game with “Hardcore.” The song â€“ fueled by triumphant horn stabs and a diesel, four-to-the-floor beat â€“ was the perfect mix of hard and catchy, and Fame and Danze flexed over it with finesse. To this day it is used everywhere from movie soundtracks to Sesame Street YouTube videos.
“Ante Up” had plenty of high-caliber friends, starting with the album’s two other singles: the strutting, funky “G-Building” and the tense and hardrocked “Cold As Ice” (both produced by the group). Going back, the album lurches into full gear with a hometown anthem, “Welcome To Brownsville,” working down to the Premier-finessed groover, “Follow Instructions.” Further down in the sequence we have features like the piano-freaked “Home Sweet Home” (with Lord Have Mercy) and the mid-tempo, jazzy “Foundation,” which caps the group’s fourth masterpiece.
Staying true to their essence, the album flaunts hardest-of-hard Brooklyn bangers from start to finish. In an era where hip-hop was getting more syrupy than Nyquil, M.O.P. proved that they could hit the charts while staying raw. And the album still shines to this day.