On November 17, 1992 Kool G. Rap and DJ Polo released Live And Let Die.
The project would be the last credited to G. Rap & Polo and marked a departure from the New York style of production provided by Marley Marl on Road To The Riches and Large Professor, Eric B, Biz Markie and Cool V on Wanted Dead Or Alive.
Live And Let Die was largely produced by Sir Jinx who produced 13 of the 16 songs with Trakmasterz producing three. 1992 was a pivotal year in rap music. And although The Chronic would be released a month later, Dr. Dre made a big musical statement the year before with Efil4zaggin. Ice Cube's 1990 debut solo release AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted as well as his sophomore Death Certificate from 1991 were still fresh on the minds of rap fans. Though not G Funked out yet, the West Coast sound was officially in demand.
To me Jinx didn't produce on Dr. Dre's level musically, but he could do all of those interludes and shit and G got caught up in that."
- Producer Dr. Butcher to author Ben Merlis
G. Rap's long time friend and engineer Dr. Butcher told Ben Merlis, author of Goin' Off The Story of The Juice Crew & Cold Chillin' Records that Live And Let Die was originally going to be produced by Kool G. Rap, Naughty shorts and The Beatnuts.
"They started production at G's house," he recalled. "Marley Marl had just gotten a bunch of money. I forgot where it was from, LL or somebody. He got rid of his home studio and G bought it from him and put it in his house. Luckily my uncle was an avid Jazz and Funk collector. He was sick and he knew that I was into music so he gave me all of his records - about 40 crates. Then I brought The Beatnuts in and they had a lot of crazy stuff too. Those recordings were monstrous. I said this is gonna be G's best album ever."
"I wanted to work with Sir Jinx because I thought that he was dope," Kool G. Rap said. "I thought the shit that he did on Ice Cube's album was dope. My label Warner Brothers hooked that up and made it happen. I went out to Cali and me and Jinx got to working."
According to Dr. Butcher, G. Rap was really into the West Coast sound and he took all of the reels of the work that they started to California for Jinx to remix. "To me, Jinx didn't produce on Dr. Dre's level musically, but he could do all of those interludes and shit and G got caught up in that."
Up, Up, Up and away, 'cus I dont play clown - buck, buck, buck take that wit ya on the way down."
- Kool G. Rap - Ill Street Blues
Live And Let Die plays more like a movie than an album, starting with "On The Run," a tale of a mafia double cross and the resulting getaway. As always G. Rap paints extremely vivid visuals over the Sir Jinx soundbed. Musically, the title track "Live And Let Die" sounds like it could have been lifted directly from AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted. "Crime Pays" speaks on the hypocrisy of corporate America and her illegal business. "Train Robbery" is an extremely visual tale of a train robbery and getaway. "One carries a 3 pound the other a 4 fifth, both ready to buck and ain't nothin to be fucked with," he rhymes.
Both G. Rap and Big Daddy Kane always impress over faster tempos and "Number 1 With A Bullet" is no exception with both MCs riding the track masterfully. "Operation CB" is a humorous tale of G. trying to get some action from a young lady, but several distractions are preventing him from scoring. "Straight Jacket" is delivered in the vein of a Scarface suicidal tale complete with hallucinations and homicides.
The Trakmasterz produced "Ill Street Blues" is one of the album's most celebrated songs with its famous "Up, Up, Up and away, 'cus I don't play clown - buck, buck, buck take that wit ya on the way down." The cautionary tale about street life is revered as one of G. Rap's best.
The album's closing track "Two To The Head" features Scarface, Ice Cube and Bushwick Bill competing for which MC is the craziest gunslinger. Although the album reached number 18 on Billboard's Top Hip Hop/R&B albums chart, the heat from Ice T's Warner Brothers distributed "Cop Killer" negatively affected this project, which did not have Warner's distribution power behind it.
Still, it's one of G. Rap's best full-length offerings that still sounds fresh after three decades.