Yukmouth was my favorite rapper for about a year of my adolescence. I got a used copy of The Luniz second album, Lunitik Muzik (1997), toward the end of my 8th grade year and loved it. I played that album religiously. The Luniz were like a Westcoast version of Redman, with whom they collaborated on the track “Hypnotize. They were humorous but hardened. Yukmouth was especially engaging. His style was both smooth and edgy. Sorta of like early Snoop Lion, but with that Bay area flair.
At some point in 1998, Yukmouth signed with Rap-A-Lot, which only increased my fandom. The resulting double album, Thugged Out: The Albulation (1998), is full of solid material, but I remember being disappointed during my first listen. Gone was the wit and fun that was a major part of the Luniz music. Thugged Out very much reflected its title. It was a gritty exploration of street life. Yuk’s voice was more gravely and his style much less smooth. I eventually, however, grew to like the release. “In My Blood pt II,” while a slightly inferior version of its predecessor (mostly due to Big Mike’s incredible verse on the original), is my favorite song on the album. The epic “City of Dope” runs a close second. “Still Ballin” was one of the best (of many) Tupac tributes released during that period and was the album’s lead single. Check it out below.