It's hard to believe that The Firm's 1997 eponymous album was met with a tepid response. A supergroup featuring Nas, Foxy Brown, AZ, and Nature, The Firm happened to be handled by none other than Dr. Dre. And yet it came and went with little fanfare, despite boasting strong lyrical pedigree and the Good Doctor's craftmanship behind the boards. Now, over twenty-years removed from its initial release, it seems that the project has aged quite nicely. Sonically, The Firm captures a golden era long-gone, cinematic mafioso rap and character-breaking Dr. Dre production. No place is that honed better than on "Phone Tap."
A masterclass in storytelling backed by an eerie Dre banger, "Phone Tap" found the former "Life's A Bitch" compatriots in the midst of plotting and scheming. As is generally the case, the vernacular is impeccable, the vocabulary unmatched. Both men go seamlessly back and forth, while an ominous sense of foreboding creeps within the hypnotic guitar riff. Have you listened to The Firm's debut album recently? On its twenty-second birthday, why not give it a spin?
Keep your eyes open, stay wide, shit is mind-blowing
Look for any sign showing one-time is knowing
About the dynasty, shit is not minor leagues no more
Cats bleed in this cold war
Son we took an oath, then this life took us both
We rich now, milk the whole cow, split the growth
Now I'm on the Conduit, headlights on
Fluid in the windshield wipes gone this light storm