Section 8

by: MC Eiht

By the time MC Eiht released Section 8 in 1999, he was five years removed from the success of his chart-topping We Come Strapped album and clearly struggling to revive that success. He'd slipped big-time with Last Man Standing (1997), his final album for Epic Street. In the wake of that album's disappointment and his departure from Epic, he hooked up with Mack 10, who had a boutique label aligned with Priority, Hoo Bangin' Records. Under Mack 10's guidance, MC Eiht went back to the basics for Section 8, and it resulted in his most accomplished album to date. There are a number of standout songs here, including "My Life," a laid-back slow jam that revisits the "la-la-la" vibe of "All for the Money." Other highlights include "Automatic," which boasts a strong Fredwreck Nassar production, and "Days of 89'," a heartfelt collaboration with longtime producer DJ Slip. Granted, Section 8 is spotty, with a few bland tracks sequenced toward the end -- then again, most gangsta rap albums are -- but it's still a vast improvement over Last Man Standing. Moreover, the variety of production styles and the reinvigorated rhymes of MC Eiht make Section 8 more interesting than either We Come Strapped (1994) or Death Threatz (1996), which are both solid albums yet rather same-sounding from track to track. Above all, though, it's nice to hear MC Eiht once again enthused about rapping. In fact, this is as lively as he'd sounded since his prime years with Compton's Most Wanted. ~ Jason Birchmeier

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