Illuminated by K-Def's slick production skills and with a little help from friend and big-time super producer Marley Marl, Turnaround: A Long Awaited Drama had a fresh sound and became an underground success. The album, recorded at Marley Marl's legendary House of Hits studio, was a showcase for amplified crime-rhyme. The hit single "Real Live S**t" benefited from a prodigious timpani drum track laid down by Marl, and the album also featured an all-star remix of the track with appearances from Ghostface Killah and Cappadonna from the Wu-Tang family. K-Def's production inflated the album with thick, heavy drum kicks and subtle strings, while Larry O's raw and unpretentious lyrics revolved around drug trafficking and its many perils.

1. Intro
2. Pop The Trunk
3. The Gimmicks
4. They Got Me
5. Ain't No Love
6. Iceberg Slick
7. Larry-O-Meets Iceberg Slick
8. All I Ask Of You (Commin' Thru) feat. Raphael Saadiq
9. The Turnaround
10. Trilogy Of Error
11. Real Live Shit
12. Day You Die
13. Crime Is Money
14. Money & Shows
15. Real Live Shit (Remix) feat. Cappadonna, Ghostface Killah, Killa Sin & Lord Tariq

The kick and snare combinations are familiar to that era in hip hop but what takes D-Def’s production to another level are the additional sounds he incorporates into his beats. At times he his just straight innovative with the different styles that he merges on one track. Pop The Trunk sounds like an action scene out of a 70s movie, congos can be heard rapidly pounding in the background accompanied by a violin vibrating on the same note throughout. Larry-O flows nice and smooth over the beat, ‘A clean sweep, when I creep on your click like the Grim Reap, I freak your technique, rhyming in my sleep’
A funky bass dominates The Gimmicks, a track that comes to life at the chorus thanks to the epic strings which take on a laidback melody that is almost west-coast.
Ain’t No Love has the emcee talking about the harsh realities of life in the inner city and once again K-Def ‘s production completely illustrates the content. The strings and vocals shift pitch and seem almost random but work together to create an eerie and haunting atmosphere and bring to life the chorus, ‘Ain’t no love in the heart of the city.Crime Is Money is the other track on the album which is just, well, weird..but it works, and that’s the beauty of it. Real Live Shit Remix featured the same beat as the original but Killa Sin shines on that track for me. As for The Turnaround, all I can say is: Drums. Drums, drums, drums. This is the muthaf***ing neck breaker of the album. I would DEFINITELY recommend this album; I know that it has been slept on. The only downside for me personally is that the common theme of drug trafficking, ‘turning white to green’ and related topics seem to run through the entire album. In fact, similar lyrics stood out to me on a number of tracks. Don’t get me wrong, Larry-O is nice on the mic, his flow is ill and dances steadily over every beat, but by the time I’d reached Crime Is Money (‘…In the land of gambling, hustling, drug trafficking, murdering, muscling…’), I sensed a little déjà vu. In some ways, because the subject matter isn’t that mentally challenging (or if you do find it challenging, you would’ve caught on by the 5th or 6th track I promise), it makes the production all the more outstanding. K-Def appears ahead of his time on this joint, sounding almost experimental. Combining random, solitary sounds with orchestral ones and lacing epic strings over a funk foundation for example. It’s fascinating identifying all the different sounds and even genres he puts together and where he could’ve gotten his inspiration from. The fact that this is 1996?? Gotdayum, you have to cop it just for that. What are you waiting for?!


"The Turnaround"

"Real Live Shit (Remix)" feat. Cappadonna, Ghostface Killah, Killa Sin & Lord Tariq