XXL Review: 8Ball & MJG - Ridin' High

The current wave of Southern dominance has resuscitated the careers of pioneers like UGK and Three 6 Mafia. Unfortunately, 8Ball & MJG haven't been able to add their name to that list of born-again stars just yet. In 2004, the Memphis duo tried to cash in, but their unfocused Bad Boy disc Living Legends derailed those plans. So on their seventh album, Ridin' High, Ball & G go back to the basics and let their raw chemistry run wild.

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112 met each other in a high school in Atlanta where they begun singing at school and at their local church and this is where they caught the eye of their future managers Courtney Sills and Kevin Wales. They hooked P. Diddy up with 112 and he immediately offered them a contract to become the first male urban group on Bad Boy Entertainment. They were unleashed to the world with ‘Only You' which caught the eye of many and despite being overshadowed by the incredible success of Ma$e and The Notorious B.I.G. they hit platinum easily and enjoyed more hit singles including ‘Cupid' and others in their ballad filled album.

Their follow up album ‘Room 112' was released in 1998 where they changed around their formula a little bit and got more into a romantic feel in their songs and it was a success. Starting off with the sexy hit ‘Anywhere' they got the recognition they deserved and their album eventually hit multi platinum and is one of the best R&B albums to date. The album saw more works with Faith Evans, Ma$e and incredible hitman Stevie J after success of first album. They have also contributed to Bad Boys history in collaborations in an important role in ‘I'll be missing You' which they received a Grammy for.

112's transition from ballads to love/sexy songs was complete by ‘Part III' which saw incredible success with single ‘Peaches and Cream'. By 2003 their collaboration with the Bad Boy family had decreased significantly and their displeasure with the CEO of Bad Boy, P. Diddy, was clear. They were unhappy with their contracts and they dealt with this by conjuring up a deal with Def Jam records yet Diddy managed to secure a 50/50 deal. 112's reasons are rounded up in the song ‘Everyday' from Hot & Wet which basically evolve around money. Aside from this song the new album lacked the variety needed and received poorer reviews than they were used to and together with a lackluster lead single their album failed to hit the sales needed. Mark my words these boys will come back stronger but they need to step their game back up and try and recapture the magic they had with Bad Boy. .