2 Pistols - Death Before Dishonor

Posted June 16, 2008
Tags: 2 Pistols,

What’s in a name? Would that which we call Biggie or Tupac by any other name still rhyme as...

Death Before Dishonor Album Review

What’s in a name? Would that which we call Biggie or Tupac by any other name still rhyme as sweet? Ok, I know Shakespeare wasn’t exactly talking about hip-hop when he wrote those famous lines (well, not those exact lines), but the man did have a good point. Wouldn’t Snoop’s rhymes be just as epically blunted if he went by Calvin Broadus, and why couldn’t Earl Simmons spit the same ferocious verse as DMX? A name is just a name, it’s the rapper behind the name that matters.

Actually, now that I think about it, f**k that. In hip-hop a name is everything. Rappers make a living based on the words they choose, and nothing’s more important then the one they choose to represent themselves. If there’s anyone who knows what I’m talking about it’s 2 Pistols. Dos Pistolas, as they call him in Mexico, worked his way up Florida’s burgeoning rap ladder through a combination of business savvy and street cred, helped in no small part by his illegally themed moniker. But now that 2 Pistols has hit the the big-time with his debut album Death Before Dishonor his once fearsome name has become a bit of a detriment, a fact he alluded to during his interview with the big homey DJ Z. After all, what parent wants to hear their kid say, “Can I have twenty bucks to go buy the 2 Pistols album?”

The name clearly hasn’t stopped him from killing BET’s video rotation with his single She Got It, a track that rides the suddenly popular “thug in love” style to surefire radio success. She Got It is a hit because it’s good music, plain and simple, but the real question is how much credit 2 Pistols deserves for its success? The J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, who are largely responsible for Death Before Dishonor’s onslaught of stellar production work, have crafted a beat that’s equal parts sonic sugar and spice, and at this point T-Pain could lay down a chorus for Radiohead and it’d dominate the hip-hop charts. As for 2 Pistols, he...um...raps. It’s a perfectly decent performance, but there’s no way anyone’s quoting a single line from She Got It beside the hook in a year, other than maybe the two lines he steals from Hova (bonus points if you know what I’m referring to).

The best way to see if 2 Pistols can make chart magic without the Jesus Christ of Choruses (that’d be T-Pain) is to flip through the handful of other songs on Death Before Dishonor that follow in its audio footsteps. You Know Me, That’s My Word, they’re all basically the same song; just substitute a Trey Songz for a Ray J hook, change the lyrical emphasis from “baby girl, you know my situation“ to “we ain’t gotta f**k I just wanna hold ya “ and call it a wrap. On all these tracks 2 Pistols is doing his thing, and I have to give him respect for that, unfortunately his thing’s just not that memorable.

When Duas Pistolas, as he’s known in Brazil, isn’t apologizing to his lady for running the streets he’s busy running the streets. Death Before Dishonor has more than it’s fair share of certified bangers, starting with Eyes Closed, a grinding joint that shows why he got his name in the first place, thanks to the requisite coke-cooking references. It’s the more of the same on We Run This, a starkly punching track that pulls in Slick Pulla and Blood Raw to throw heavy lyrical weight around. If you like We Run This than you’re going to love Been Throwing Money and Get Money Mane (notice a theme?), and as long as I’m at it I might as well throw in Lookin Down On Em and Candy Coated Diamonds. Hell, just to make sure I list every track on this album let’s throw in Robbery and call it a day.

The point I’m trying to make is that Death Before Dishonor doesn’t exactly cover a lot of musical ground, it’s essentially She Got It and Eyes Closed remixed and re-titled for an entire album. So if you’re feeling those songs and you have a high tolerance for repetition then Death Before Dishonor is the album for you. If not, I’m afraid even the great name won’t be enough to make 2 Pistols a rap star. In fact, I’ve got a bad feeling that in a few months he’ll be happy if people refer to him as 2 Hits.

DJBooth Rating - 2.5 Spins

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Posted June 16, 2008
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