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Do or Die

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It seems like only yesterday that Do Or Die invaded the scene with their debut album, Picture This (gold) and proved that Bone Thugs-N-Harmony were not the only talent the Mid-West had to offer. The group first gained recognition from their platinum single "Po Pimp," which seemingly bumped on the radio forever, followed by "Playa Like Me and You" and "Paper Chase" to name a few. Now, back to set another mark with their sophomore album, this Chi-town trio is "Still Po Pimpin'," "Ballin" and "Choppin Up That Paper," asking the risky question Headz Or Tailz.

Consequently, just how risky is that question when one is dealing with three brothers who speak realistically no matter how positive or negative the truth may be. Take for instance their name, Do or Die: "In everyday life you either do or you die, that's the only way to survive, that's the way we live." says N.A.R.D. Elaborating on their "keepin' it real" philosophy conveyed in the title of this album, group member A-K asserts that "Life is basically a coin toss... you can flip it on either side. Somebody's gotta win and somebody's gotta lose. We're trying to win, that's why we took our time putting this album together. We wanted to make sure that we came with another winner." And when you find your head noddin' and speakers bumpin' to their smoothed-out, tongue-twistin', staccato flow all over again, it becomes apparent... "another winner" it is.

However, the road to success has in no way been one void of bumps, forks and obstacles. Thirteen years was the length of time it took these tenacious young men to "make it." "We had to basically put ourselves out there. If that meant selling our tapes out of our trunks, that's what we did. We wanted to get local support first before we tried to go anywhere else." In addition to their own personal trials and tribulations, Belo gives insight on the effect their community and environment has had on the group. He states "A lot of brothers are going through so much pain and agony. We've been through so many shoot-outs and all that stuff, that we hit the Bible and started reading. From then on, we make a promise to find something positive to do with our lives and rap is what we wanted to do."

No doubt, rapping is what they were born to do.

The arrival of Headz Or Tailz has been highly anticipated, a consideration seriously taken into account by the group. If anyone is looking for commanding basslines, "off the hook" lyrics and an album packed with substance, they need not look any further. This album indicates just that with such melodic, nonetheless bangin' tracks as "Choppin' Up That Paper," "Just Ballin," "Pimpology," and the eagerly awaited follow-up to their platinum hit "Po Pimp," "Still Po Pimpin." But just as the album's title states, the mood is flipped and the audience is given a dose of that hardcore, Chi-town flavor with tracks like "Under Surveillance" and "Who Am I," featuring Scarface. Also included is the vicious rebuttal to Bone Thugs-N-Harmony's single, "Look Into My Eyes," that makes accusations of Do or Die "cloning" their style in "Bustin' Back." According to N.A.R.D., the group is upset that Bone has dissed one of their very biggest supporters, Chicago rappers, as if they have a patent on the tongue-twisting flow. "If they're just looking for a little friendly competition, that's fine; we're not trying to start any trouble. But if it's more to it, we ain't dodgin' nothin' either."

Fortunately, the group did not harp on this issue and saturate this project with negative innuendoes directed toward the Cleveland group. Instead, the audience is taken for yet another loop with both a more playeristic vibe in "Nobody's Home" (featuring Johnny P and Danny Boy), and the romantic, yet sexually suggestive slow groove, "Can I" (featuring vocals from newcomers Beyond Content - an R&B group which Do Or Die discovered and is currently developing. Obviously, an album from Do Or Die wouldn't be complete without a "Lil' Summ Summ" for the ladies.

Produced by some of the best in the business such as Mike Dean, The Legendary Tractster and Mr. Lee, along with guest appearances from Bushwick Bill, Twista and Lil' Chilla of the up and coming group Snypaz, Headz Or Tailz proves that this "winner" was certainly worth the wait.

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