Only a year after releasing his exceptional debut The Realness, Cormega returns with The True Meaning, strengthening his legacy as New York's Queensbridge housing project's most consistently dope emcee. The first album was universally praised by both the critics and the streets alike, so heads might be worried about that all-too-common sophomore slump. Fortunately, Cormega more than puts those fears to rest, unleashing another top-notch LP brimming with the fantastic beats and vivid thug poetry that are his trademark.
The new record is built largely on similar themes: loyalty and betrayal, criminal endeavors, and his undying love for QB. "Verbal Graffiti" sports a crazy plucked guitar-and-bells beat, as Mega speaks about his drug-dealing past. He tells three different stories on the emotionally charged "Live Ya Life," relating the tales of a mother whose son is locked up, a single female with low self-esteem, and a drug addicted parent who loses her children to the government. A sweeping, piano-heavy production and lush female chorus round out the pain with smoothness.
He also addresses his much publicized falling out with Nas on "Love In, Love Out," but it's less of a dis and more a detailed explanation of what went down, set to some great bass-and-chimes action from J. Love.
While the album is a little short, the level of quality -- both rhymes and beats -- is so high that it really doesn't matter. Riding soulful, sample-based production, Cormega's expert prose and thoughtful lyricism shine.