Luniz – Operation Stackola (1995)
Operation Stackola remains Luniz’ most successful album to date, having sold more than one million records since it was released on July 4, 1995. Propelled by the wildly popular hit single “I Got 5 On It,” Operation Stackola knocked Michael Jackson’s HIStory off the top of the R&B charts and earned Luniz a permanent spot in the West Coast hip-hop pantheon.
Released when g-funk’s dominance over the hip-hop airwaves was waning, Operation Stackola typifies the mid-’90s West Coast sound, with lazy, sub woofer-rattling bass lines layered over laid back drum patterns, ’80s-style synths and funky guitar riffs. Further atmosphere is provided by various eerie sound effects which lurk ominously in the album’s background, evoking visions of San Andreas style drive-bys and block parties a la Ain’t Nuthin’ But A G Thang.
Yukmouth and Numskull, the group’s mcs, rarely stray from the gangsta rap blueprint and manage to rhyme about all the usual suspects – drugs, women, money, violence etc. Fortunately, the duo are talented rappers and their rhymes are delivered with just enough skill to keep the listener interested for a few songs beyond “I Got 5 On It.” However, by that point the album’s beats begin to sound the same and boredom inevitably sets in. Although the album starts off on a high (you’ll be nodding your head to “Put the Lead on Ya”), Luniz’ strict adherence to the West Coast formula (it was on the decline for a reason) means Operation Stackola will be remembered only for its hit single.