Apart from being Master P’s youngest brother, Silkk the Shocker is also one of the weakest links in the No Limit chain. He debuted in 1996 with The Shocker when he was known simply as Silkk (later adding “The Shocker” to his moniker due to legal issues with R&B group Silk who claimed they had the rights to the name first). Whatever the case may be, however, the fact remains; Silkk released one of the label’s most important, and best, albums during it’s glory days (the ’96-’98 era).
Charge It 2 da Game is absolutely nothing different from what No Limit fans were receiving from them during this time period. What it is, though, is a perfect product from the label that knows exactly how to market itself. The catchy hooks are in place, Beats by the Pound’s productions are all perfectly layered with pianos and synths, the guests are piled on top of one another endlessly, but Silkk has endless, undeniable charisma. Whether or not it’s Charge It 2 da Game or Ghetto D that perfectly illustrates No Limit’s mid-‘90s game plan, that fact is purely arguable, but one thing is for certain; Silkk’s sophomore album is one of the most enjoyable records released under the No Limit imprint since P’s 1996 effort Ice Cream Man.
More adept at crafting female-friendly, club-ready material than his fellow No Limit soldiers, that is where Charge It 2 da Game excels. “Just Be Straight With Me” is the first in a small line of these tracks and was also the album’s lead single. Featuring a very young Destiny’s Child on the hook and electronic, bass-heavy production provided by Beats by the Pound, this has all the markings of your typical No Limit single. It’s as feel good as they come (and as flossy as any of them got) and it even featured a jigged up guest verse from Master P. Destiny’s Child do not add nor subtract much from the track, but working strictly as a single, this could have been much worse. The only real problem is that it doesn’t paint a very accurate picture of the rest of the album.
The smooth, synthed out “Thug ‘N’ Me,” however, is the perfect example of No Limit’s sales tactics. 2Pac was one of the hottest artists selling at the time of his death and “Thug ‘N’ Me” follows his formula perfectly; a lyrical love affair between a good girl and a lowdown dirty thug with the thug wanting to better his life because of her. It works mostly because of Silkk and Master P, who guests, charisma, as well as producer O’Dell’s inimitable synth whines. The hook is also of note. Although it is interpolated from Ready for the World’s classic ‘80s hit, “Love You Down,” it’s also one of the tracks most immediately identifiable attributes.
Another standout includes “Let Me Hit It,” which features a guest spot from one-time No Limit favorite, Mystikal. A song based entirely on meeting women and bumping them, “Let Me Hit It” is easily what one would call a “guilty pleasure.” Laced with profanity, more sexual innuendo than you can shake a stick at and insane, bizarre flows from the two rappers on No Limit (and, now, an ex-No Limit rapper) who were hardly ever on-beat, “Let Me Hit It” is one of Charge It 2 da Game’s most entertaining moments. The production is atypical of the No Limit sound, but is much livelier than anything else on this record and lacking the dirtiness of past releases. Beats by the Pound began incorporating funk elements into their sound during this era and “Let Me Hit It” is a great example of No Limit’s ever changing production landscape.
Many of the remaining tracks on the album are exactly what you would expect to hear from the No Limit camp. Everything ranging from the quintessential bang-out-and-grab-a-nine gangsta jam (“We Can Dance”) to introspective, reflective meditations on life in the projects (“If I Don’t Gotta,” which features Fiend and Master P, and “Mama Always Told Me,” which guests Master P, C-Murder, and Eightball) are covered in typical No Limit fashion. There’s even the rowdy “Make ‘Em Say Ugh” void atypically filled here (I’m speaking, in particular, of the raucous call-and-response track “Who I Be”). “Tell Me” is misogyny at it’s finest, but P and C-Murder manage to make it entertaining.
The only times Silkk and company manage to break up the monotony are on songs such as “You Ain’t Gotta Lie to Kick It” and “Me and You.” The latter finds Silkk letting his personal friends know that just because he’s a high profile rapper, you don’t have to brag about what you don’t have to be down with him. Big Ed and Mia X drop admirable verses as well and, as usual, they are the highlights (as well as the perfect production), but Silkk is, nonetheless, tolerable. “Me and You,” however, is a dedication to Silkk’s fallen brother who was murdered a few years prior to this album’s release. It’s a touching, heartfelt song and Silkk expresses himself beautifully. It’s one of the rare moments on the album where there isn’t an over-reliance on cliché thug themes and sexually explicit rhymes to push the rapping forward.
No, Charge It 2 da Game is nothing truly spectacular in terms of originality or ingenuity, but it’s one of No Limit’s most consistent albums yet. Right up there with C-Murder’s Life or Death and Bossalinie, Master P’s Ghetto D and Tru’s Tru 2 da Game, Silkk’s Charge It 2 da Game is again, one of the most important records in No Limit history. Silkk is a mediocre rapper at best, and the guests are usually better MCs than he is, but the production is perfect and this is one of the rare moments where one of No Limit’s LPs doesn’t feel like cheap product.Powered by Sidelines