C-BO's sixth and latest release, ...Til' My Casket Drops, is by far the most prolific album from the legendary Sacramento gangsta rapper yet. In addition to his multi-platinum cameo performances on Tupac Shakur's All Eyez On Me, C-BO's spine-tingling, realistic, hardcore, gore-filled ghetto tales that are found on his own albums have won him a huge nationwide following. Fans have become hooked on this unique rapper after hearing such classics as his 1994 debut album Gas Chamber, its follow-up The Autopsy, or last year's One Life 2 Live. Now, with his home label, AWOL Records, having recently entered into a distribution deal with Noo Trybe / Virgin Records, this seventeen track album is bound to win C-BO even more fans than its five predecessors, which have collectively sold a phenomenal one million-plus units on the tiny independent AWOL label.
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No doubt, until C-BO's casket drops, his star will continue to rise. This album is fully loaded, featuring collaborators such as E-40, Spice-1, Mac Mall, JT the Bigga Figga, and Lunasicc. As if those names aren't lethal enough, also making appearances on the album are Big Syke, Marvaless, Outlaw Immortals, Killa Tay, 151, Mob Figgas and Pizzo.
C-BO's trademark honest, no-holds-barred, gangsta rap flow has won him the respect of his peers and has earned him the title of "street preacher." C-BO, an abbreviation for "cowboy," is a truly fitting name for this lyrical poet of the wild, wild West Coast. C-BO readily admits that he used to sell drugs and gang bang while growing up in the notorious Gardens Block of Sacramento's south side, which is why his lyrics are so vividly real. That aside, the twenty-six year-old rapper, who has spent much of this decade incarcerated, is quite emphatic when he says that lifestyle is now well behind him. "Rapping about crime is very different from doing crime," he observes. "I create a story based on something that happens on the street and put some kind of twist on it." Giving an example, he cites the track "357," which he co-wrote with X-Raided while the two "Sac-town" rappers were incarcerated in Sacramento County jail in 1995. "The concept of '357' is what a gun would say to you if it could talk," he explains of the metaphor-laden song, which packs such thought-provoking lines as, "I'm a legal weapon, registered and everything. Used by the police, dope dealers and your local gang."
Not to be slept on by any means is the "40 and BO," in which Northern California rap greats E-40 and C-BO trade clever rhymes back and forth.
Another one of the album's standout cuts is the Spice-1 collaboration, "Major Pain and Mr. Bossalini," which got its title from the respective artists' aliases, and is produced by JT The Bigga Figga. C-BO elaborates, "That song brings together all these different Northern Cali flavors." He points out that JT's Fillmore / Frisco-laced production acts as the perfect backdrop to C-BO's Killafornia / Sactown style and Spice-1's unique East Bay gangsta flow. C-BO comments about Spice, "We often come up with the same ideas at the same time. Actually, we're trying to do an album together."
The question of what C-BO would do if he possessed countless riches arises in the album's first single, "Money By The Ton," which is produced by Darryl and features AWOL label-mate & vocalist, Mississippi. C-BO candidly reveals that if this were to become the case in his life, he'd either record his own music, or produce groups such as his potnas, Mob Figgaz, who will appear on his newly-formed label later this year. Mob Figgaz make their premiere appearance on the album's track "Real Niggas," and on the 151 collaboration,"Ride Til' We Die."
Observing the problems in his community, C-BO felt the need to express some of his concerns about society, and communicate them through his music. "Deadly Game" was co-written with X-Raided, who is presently serving a 31 year prison sentence. The song tackles the controversial political topic of Governor Pete Wilson's (R, CA) initiation of the "three strikes law." C-BO warns, "We are still living in times of racial oppression, and the three strikes law is proof of that."
Rounding out ...Til' My Casket Drops are instant rap classics that include "Hard Labor," a song that expresses the struggle involved when working in the rap game. The track features Tupac proteges Outlaw Immortals and Big Lurch. Also in the mix, C-BO's autobiographical "Raised In Hell" was produced by Mike Mosely, and features Big Syke. "All I Ever Wanted," which features an appearance by label mates Lunasicc and 151, is a song C-BO describes by explaining, "You can want a lot of things, but you gotta go out there and get it yourself. It isn't just going to come to you, and that's what that song is about." These and other lyrically rich rap tracks, such as "Big Gangsta," featuring Laroo, his younger brother Lil Bo, and The Mob Figgas, all display the deep, poetic mastery that C-BO commands over the English language, as he effortlessly weaves his disturbingly real and sinister street tales over lushly hypnotic beats.
One Drop Scott, who produced seven of the album's tracks, has production work with Scarface and 3X Krazy among his credits.
Undoubtedly, ...Til' My Casket Drops will rank among 1998's best albums and will take the legendary Sacramento rapper's spine-tingling reality raps to an even wider audience.
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