Label: Mercury Records
The sophomore album from N.Y.C.'s O.C. is one of rap's great unrecognized albums. The basic formula hasn't changed since O.C.'s debut: hard drums; loose, jazzy loops; and intelligent rhymes about compromised rappers, self-determination and black pride. O.C. seems to have pared back his vocabulary and imagery so that his lines are more concise and easily discernable. The album also boasts great guest appearances: Big L shows up for "Dangerous"; DJ Premier mans the boards for a handful of tracks, including standout "My World"; and Organized Konfusion pop in for "War Games."