When a veteran old-school rapper comes out with a new album, people are sometimes skeptical, particularly if it has been a long time since the artist has had anything out. They wonder if he’s been able to “keep up with the times”, if his music can be relevant to today. Any such concerns regarding Gangsta Blac should dissolve upon hearing the very first track of Return of the Gangsta, the long-awaited new album from the legendary South Memphis artist. Songs such as “Gangsta, Gangsta” and the obvious single “Go Hard, Go Ham” are so packed with raw energy that it sounds as if it was just yesterday that we were hearing “S.O.U.T.H. Parkway”. Nor does Blac merely pick up where he left off, but in many ways this new album reveals him as an artist continuing to grow and develop, while never losing sight of the traditional Memphis rap foundation from where he came. Only one well-known Memphis rapper is featured on the album, Mac E on the song “I Be”, but Blac and his young cohorts maintain enthusiasm and interest throughout. Return of the Gangsta is a triumphant return for one of Memphis’ most important voices. Here’s hoping he doesn’t stay away that long ever again. 

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