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I’ll never forget the first time I heard TRU’s landmark “Tru 2 Da Game” album. I was at my homie’s house getting one of those ghetto ass tattoos on my right arm (which I regretted until getting it covered up some years later). I had no business doing that kind of shit at my age (early teens), but I was home alone, and bored out my mind.

Anyway. I’m over there, and my mans pressed play. First thing I heard was Master P, talking to his son (who we’d come to know as Lil’ Romeo) about some basic hood facts of life . The next song, “No Limit Soldiers” was the unanimous favorite of everybody in the crib, and on the house. They played that joint about 3 times before letting the rest of the album run.

Check It Out: Master P, Mystikal, Silkk the Shocker & Mia X Slay No Limit Reunion Performance [VIDEO]

I’ll admit it, Personally, I wasn’t a fan of these guys. I’d heard a few joints from Master P prior to that (Ice Cream Man, Is There a Heaven for a Gangsta?), but he wasn’t a household name just yet. Silkk The Shocker had dropped the “The Shocker” LP by then, but after running it once, I pretty much ignored it, and him, because I couldn’t get over the speech impediment that spilled into his rap delivery, and C-Murder, well, I hadn’t heard of him prior to “Tru 2 Da Game.” Neither one of them were the best rappers in the world, but as I sat there getting my arm tortured for 3 hours, this was the only album we listened to, and honestly, it wasn’t a bad album. Mia X was a standout to me; she showed out every time she made a cameo appearance.

The singles were respectable, and thus, the highlights on the album, as they played to the popularity of the samples (“I Always Feel Like” jacked Rockwell’s only hit “Watching Me,” and “Fedz” shamelessly ripped Aaliyah’s “If Your Girl Only Knew”). The music wasn’t polished like, say, a Death Row or Bad Boy album, and it was rough around the edges, but it worked…it worked for the hood. The lowpoint, was the quantity over quality aspect of the album. This was a double CD, and sitting through THAT many songs from anybody was a task if every song wasn’t dope like that.

On the other hand, perhaps P was onto something. The quantity over quality format became the standard for No Limit releases, as there was rarely less than 20 tracks on any of the several releases put out by the label over the course of 3 years, and this album in particular seemed to serve as a template for future releases (almost every album released by the label that year led with a “Soldier” posse cut, and the in-house production team Beats By The Pound were working overtime to churn out the product (and drastically improving while doing it). It all proved to be extremely successful for them, as they were the number one rap label for the next couple of years.

While, musically, it may not have stacked up to albums like Master P’s own “Ghetto D” and Mystikal’s “Unpredictable,” “Tru 2 Da Game” quickly sold 2 million copies and set the tone for one of the most historic runs in hip-hop history. For that reason alone, it should always be paid its proper respect.

Follow Reg Young On Twitter At @RegYoung

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Tru “TRU 2 Da Game 20 Years Later  was originally published on