Album: Soul On Ice

Ras Kass was supposed to be the artist that proved the West Coast could compete with the best of New York's lyricists, but when his debut album Soul On Ice dropped, something didn't quite connect. The rhymes were good, but over B-list beats, it wasn't the game-changer that many were expecting, and it ended up caught in the middle ground between California's gangsta rap fans and New York's Nas and Biggie heads, not totally pleasing either camp. Dismayed by the outcome, Ras reached out to Diamond D, who remixed the album's title track, lacing it with menacing, high-level production of squealing strings and a simple guitar chord. Embolden by the changes, Ras Kass stepped into the booth and laid down a fire new verse. "I'm spitting razor sharp quotes/Trying to slit the pope's throat," he rapped. Although it didn't even make the main pressing of the album, "Soul on Ice (Remix)" was the Ras Kass track that everyone was waiting for, and it finally proved that his unique brand of West Coast lyricism could live up to the hype. —Chris Mench