If you thought the end of Rocafella was the end of the Young Gunz then you were wrong, at least where it counts. Yes it’s true that once Jay and Dame split the Roc as we knew it was never the same, yet beneath the drama there was always still music - good music if you looked for it - and in that regard the spirit of State Property never left and is still alive today. Of course what made that Philadelphia supergroup so memorable was the combination of their unique talents and chemistry, where they found a balance of cohesion while each member stood out and had their own respective identity.
Take the Young Gunz as a prime example, the duo who was founded by Jay Z when they were still in high school, who both had similar styles to match but were also distinguishable from one another - whereas you knew if it was Chris and you knew if it was Neef - leaving the debate on who’s the nicest from nicetown simply down to preference. It's true that many thought Chris would be the one to have the successful solo career, aided by the rumors that Jay kept him close and even borrowed his flow (an accusation there may be some truth to but is often times exaggerated), as well as the rumor that even Neef once admitted that Chris had a gift that very few spitters could match.
Nonetheless while studio albums never surfaced they both stayed active throughout the years, with Neef pushing out street classics in the Forever Do Me series as Chris did the same with the Networks, most recently putting out the fourth installment that more than anything is reminiscent of that classic Roc-A-Fella feel.
Thus without any more introduction needed, Network 4 is critiqued track by track below:
Make It Through The Night
“If it’s a problem ***** we be where your mom stay, 3 k’s like Andre, better have dessert after my entree, or I’m gon go Kanye, ***** singing in the background Devante, tell em stop singing or it’s gon be a Murder, Ashanti” With both fire wordplay and delivery, Chris murders this fire instrumental and it’s the perfect introduction
Everything They Need ft Neef Buck
“Got the purp, got the percs, we got everything they need…” Despite their catalogue overall being significantly underrated, this one is not one of their better efforts, without a doubt this is a debatable SKIP
“Before I met Mr. Carter or Damon I was slangin on that pavement, this is before entertainment” smh straight 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 after one misfire Chris right back on track and with his patented flow this is one of the best records on the tape.
Life of the Party ft Lil Wayne
“It go Wayne’s World, party time, drugs and girls, sorry mom, middle finger to father time, New Orleans ***** turn up like Mardi Gras” Not the worst Wayne verse not the best Wayne verse but even a hint of autotune can ruin his verse altogether, go ahead file this one in that same category.
Calling All Girls
“From the PR to the DR, to the Asians and Malaysians, I’m just playin they just hatin, vacation in Jamaica, smoking Cali somewhere private I’m just whylin, pick an island St Maarten, St Thomas, I said depending how I’m feelin go Brazilian, or I can go with somethin cuter in Bermuda…” YC absolutely smokes this instrumental and that’s really all there is to it… although since nobody else in Hip Hop media will speak on it I'll go ahead and say more... Chris from the Rockafella era has officially one of the most impeccable MC flows of all time, and that's not even a hot take -that's real life facts - and the truth is in flow that could never be questioned or disputed.
Dope Game ft Freeway & Omillio Sparks
“Brought up in the dope game, dope boy fresh, momma did her best, streets did the rest…” A nice posse cut with about ⅜’s of State Property that definitely delivers, as over gritty production Philadelphia Freeway sounds as hungry as ever on this.
All I Need
“You’re all that I need I be there for you, if you keep it real with me…” Chris remakes the Method Man/Mary J Blige classic and although for his standards he’s in relative cruise control, this delivery over this instrumental (an all time classic and one of RZA’s best) is too perfect to ignore.
Run the Route ft Teff
"She on patron margaritas, I’m henny and I’m weeded, she wine it like Jamaicans I’m just faded tryin to beat it” Chris again is in relative cruise control but again the flow is effortless and if you like the Caribbean influence than you can appreciate this is as a standard album cut.
Back in the Trap ft Oschino & Kur
“From the bodegos to the Maggianos, party hood rats in the trap no y mano y mano make her stash the crack in her crack, blade under tonsils, just a cool ***** about his nacho, with a full ladder for Randy Savage if he’s acting macho” Chris flames the instrumental but truth be told it’s tough for me to respect the Oschino feature, considering he was talking slick on Drink Champs about the Young Gunna and again I just can’t respect it. Always more official when crews stick together, and without knowing either artist personally it seems like that chemistry isn’t really there.
Live By The Code ft Pnb Meen
“Rather see me down and out, want me out in the dark, but I can’t force em to get that malice out of their heart” Solid album cut that embodies the best of Young Chris the Young Gunna in every way… never been critically acclaimed but most critics are on cool-table-lunch-room time and they don’t care enough about the art form to keep it 💯
“I can’t believe I birthed this handsome young star in the making, my creation, shout out your momma for keepin faith and…” Young Chris over the Song Cry instrumental (Just Blaze)… what else you need to know…
Tell The Truth ft D Jones
“Played it like Deion in his prime, when I had the corner, tried to out sell Coca Cola when I had the soda” Off of this hook alone this should be a street certified classic… but you know how the rap game works when it comes down to MCs who can actually rap smh… if Gucci had this hook there’s no doubt this record would be outta here.
Never Say Die ft Wale & Phil Ade
“No, not an album sold yet but they regard me like Marcus Garvey obviously I’m the goat, I’m Ali up on the ropes, I’m Iverson in Game 1, I’m Jordan in that Ferrari about to buy me the same one” This one has Chris, Wale & Phil Ade trade bars while they weave in and out of the verse so effortless that it sounds like they recorded this in the studio together (hopefully they did, and that’s why the record really works.)
No Pity ft Modesty
“In the jungle with gorillas the streets lit up like Thriller, smoking on that Reggie they shootin shit up like Miller” Another 🔥🔥🔥 album cut and it’s all heart and soul.
“This everything that they pretend to be, watch from the frenemies knew em since elementary never thought that he envy me” 💎💎💎 in this and overall it’s another solid album cut… although due to it’s lackluster hook I could see it as a debatable skip
“Heart of the jungle, where he started to rumble, heart of a lion, stood as tall as Mutombo” Nice outro nothing more nothing less
In conclusion this is another solid project to add to Young Chris’s extensive (and far too overlooked) catalogue, and although the throwback instrumentals arguably provide a mixtape feel, there are complete records on this that could have easily been on the debut studio album that never surfaced. Overall the bars and delivery are as potent as ever on this, and the Network series remains one of the best kept secrets that the Twitter tastemakers don’t know about. Real Hip Hop fans on the contrary press play with no hesitation.