*** MC Ren, "Ruthless for Life," Ruthless/Epic. Overflowing with the uncompromising lyrical slant and the purposely profane approach he helped usher into mainstream music as a member of N.W.A., MC Ren's third full-length release is the Compton native's finest solo work to date. Largely dedicated to his rhyme-writing abilities and his sexual prowess, Ren's menacing words both tantalize and intimidate. Musically, the set features hard-hitting, macabre keyboard and guitar-dominated backdrops.
Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent).
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* Excerpts from these albums and other recent releases are available on The Times' World Wide Web site. Point your browser to: http://www.latimes.com/soundclips