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Da Youngsta's: No Mercy

Album Notes

Da Youngsta's: Taji, Tarik, Qur'an (vocals).

Producers: Marley Marl (tracks 1, 3, 5-6); Kevin "K-Def" Hansford (tracks 2, 4, 7-8, 10); Q-Ball (track 9); Dante "Destro" Barton (tracks 11-13).

Recorded at House Of Hitz, Chestnut Ridge, New York.

All songs co-written by Q. Goodman, T. Goodman and T. Dawson except "Illy Filly Funk" (A. Goodman) and "What U Feel" (D. Anderson, R. Myrick, R. Bailey). Samples include "Just Rhymin' With Biz" (as performed by Biz Markie), "Hip Hop Vs. Rap" (as performed by KRS-1), "It Ain't Hard To Tell" (as performed by Nasty Nas) and "I Wanna Be Where You Are" (as performed by Michael Jackson).

Some members of Da Youngsta's were so young during the making of The Aftermath that they were still waiting for their voices to fully change. It made for a few cringe-inducing moments -- especially considering that the trio tried to talk tough for most of the album -- on an otherwise stellar recording. Cracking voices posed no impediment to the group's sophomore effort, No Mercy, a considerably more mature album that takes them confidently beyond juvenilia. Gone for the most part are the exaggerated rebelliousness and hyperbole that marred the debut, and in their place is a welcome sense of realism. There is still some embellishment here and there, but on the whole, No Mercy is a great deal more genuine, mixing the few moments of impetuousness with celebrations of the city and the hip-hop lifestyle, and even a venture into ghetto romance ("Put Me On"). The album also has a more consistent sound, due to the less-cooks-in-the-kitchen approach. The legendary Marley Marl shares most of the production duties with Kevin "K-Def" Hansford, and although it is always a blow to lose the skills of a Pete Rock or DJ Premier, the two create an exquisite, jazz-slanted underground aesthetic that blends the gritty with the chill, a sound that lends itself to the more measured approach of Da Youngsta's this time around. The music is, ironically enough, less commercial as a result of this shift in tone and intent, but it makes for a better album in almost every way. ~ Stanton Swihart


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