For those out of the loop Randy Nichols better known as Ransom is a Jersey City MC by way of Brooklyn, one who’s held an underground legend status for more than decade now, releasing classic mixtapes under the A Team moniker with fellow MC Hitchcock, followed by appearing on countless DJ Clue and Desert Storm mixtapes where he solidified his spot as one of the premier East Coast spitters on the rise in Hip Hop. Ransom also has some viral moments to his name, most notably the infamous beef with Joe Budden back in the day that played out on VladTV, and more recently ghostwriting claims for Nicki Minaj early in her career. Nonetheless it’s the year 2017 and Ransom still has more to say, evident in his new mixtape Greatest Rapper Alive that although ambitious still puts in a genuine effort to live up to it’s name.
Without further introduction needed, Greatest Rapper Alive is critiqued track by track below
These Three Words
“While others chase the money, bitches, and the limelight, I’m in the studio making sure every rhyme tight, verse here, verse there, a crazy metaphor I dropped on the third snare, I’m tryin to get right making sure that the words clear, because if they don’t get it I swear is my worst fear” The opening records samples Stevie Wonder’s classic record from Spike Lee’s Jungle Fever soundtrack, and for that reason alone this one deserves some acknowledgment. Decent record overall.
“I’m in the class by myself like ya’ll ***** just playing hooky, they talk a lil crazy but not too insane to push me, my pops getting slain it shook me, I never made excuses tho, that’s why I got that 9-5 Nas wearing that Kufi flow. “ Another decent album cut over a gospel/soul sample and I’m not mad at this… this is real Hip Hop and I’m here for it
Broken Promises ft J.R.
“I’m not religious I’m just a cynic, cynical cause I don’t feel that shit in your spirit, they tell me yea yea you can rap but they ain’t gon hear it, you need to dumb it down for these people to ever feel it” Nice simple piano instrumental and this one reallllll niiiiiiice. This one 🔥🔥🔥 including a solid guest verse and a hook that hits home making this the best record on the project thus far
Xtreme Negligence ft Stack Bundles
“Hoes staring at us like the Planet of the Bapes out, captain save-a-hoe ass ***** I pull your capes out” RIP Stack Bundles your legacy lives on to this day and this one right here’s a heater 🔥🔥🔥 solid album cut.
“No squad around me, I need my space like the stars around me, scar your bounty I’m just keeping it cordial because god has found me, hard to doubt me, I used to lock in for the guards to count me, word to Bundles I’m avenging his death like I’m Robert Downey, father crowne me, I’m born to be King, my pain is known change your tone I ain’t just spittin no scene from the Game of Thrones, flame the chrome see how corners get played in the danger zone, this ain’t a poem I spit it all from my heart that was made from stone” SMH 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 on this record Ransom really is the Greatest Rapper Alive 🔥🔥🔥🔥this one produced by Lil Eto is phenomenal music and Hip Hop in it’s purest form.
“Nowhere average, can’t compare Ran with these purple haired ******” Bars on this but this one could be considered filler. Still not trash at all just lukewarm fire.
“Here’s a story to break through, your day one ***** been jealous since day two” FACTS… fux with this one 💯💯💯
Shameful (Intermission) ft J.R.
“No shame your honor we selling dope in exchange for dollars” Over a familiar sample this a debatable skip, but for loyal fans Ransom & JR do their numbers and this another decent album cut no more no less.
Bad Decisions ft Rome
“Put your whole business in the air for a fly bitch, from the projects, who ain’t got shit, but a bag that she probably had to shoplift” Ransom switches it up and talks about the temptations involved with infidelities, complete with a drastic change in production around the 3 minute mark that sounds almost cinematic. This could have been generic but it’s actually a creative concept record. This is dope all the way around.
True Hollywood Stories
“Now throughout my career I’ve dated a couple models, my boys said with my luck I should play the lotto” Ran on his fly shit that provides a nice balance to the project, I fux with this one too.
J.A.M.A.L. (Just Another MC After Love)
“He never sold raw but rap like he did before, rap like he was a killer and put them body in morgues, but he just played ball his boys were behind the wall…” Ransom in storytellin mode and he’s flexin 💪💪💪
The Quick & the Dead
“Stood over his body my finger glued to the trigger, he said if it was anyone glad it was you my *****, damn I hate that you had to go, I cocked back and sent a hot verse right through his skull… BANG!” This is competitive Hip Hop at it’s finest, as Ransom spits three hypothetical verses in which he battle raps Meek Mill, J Cole, and Kendrick Lamar, and when the dust settles there’s only one man left standing. It’s all friendly fire and good competition and I don’t see how can you knock it. Great outro record and closure to a very cohesive project.
Truthfully speaking this project far better than I imagined before I pressed play, and after 12 records and 50 minutes I have to salute Ransom for embodying the essence of Hip Hop in every way. I was always into the music in the mid 2000’s but I must have slipped up, hit my head, and forgot, as really all signs suggest that Ran never fell off and been fire since the beginning. All the same it’s hard to pick standouts on the project because it’s quality front to back, yet for those just tuning it start with The Mystery and delve further into the music from there. Salute to Ransom, Jersey, and East Coast rap altogether, this project is the spirit of Hip Hop and deserves much more appreciation for all that it represents.