Best Songs: "Talk It Like I Bring It," "Mr. Whomp Whomp," "Trip To London"
As the No Limit tank rolled into 1999, their dominance began to slip. Their crosstown rival Cash Money were the new kids on the block, with a fresh look and sound that burned up the airwaves after the release of Juvenile’s 400 Degreez. Market oversaturation also played a big part, as No Limit released an astonishing 23 albums in 1998, and were seemingly everywhere at once. P retired but continued to rap, but it seemed like he was more interested in making the NBA than running his label. No Limit was dropping movies, managing athletes, and even began wrestling for the WCW—fans began to get burned out.
By the summer of ‘99, rumors of soldiers going AWOL ran rampant, and the release of Fiend’s Street Life raised more red flags. First, P was nowhere to be found on the album—and the same was true of his brothers C and Silkk. Only a few of the No Limit regulars popped up to feature, and despite being produced almost entirely by KLC, the album had a different, more soulful sound. In fact, Street Life was the last No Limit release to be produced entirely by the original Beats By The Pound, who had two feet out the door when the album hit shelves. Fiend jumped ship a few months later, and P spent the rest of 1999 restructuring what was left of the Tank.
Looking back, Street Life was more than just a Fiend solo album, it was also Beats By The Pound’s swan song on No Limit. Their sound was changing sonically, and Street Life is a glimpse into where it was headed. It’s a shame both sides weren’t able to mend their differences, because despite the waning of No Limit’s influence, there was still plenty of gas left in the Tank.