In Hip Hop History Today “Kool G Rap & DJ Polo released Wanted Dead or Alive” August 13, 1990

Wanted: Dead or Alive is the second album by the hip hop duo Kool G Rap & DJ Polo. The album was released a year after the duo’s debut, Road to the Riches and received greater acclaim from most music critics. The singles “Streets of New York” and “Erase Racism” received notable airplay on Yo! MTV Raps and the former is credited by Nas as being influential on his song “N.Y. State of Mind” from his critically acclaimed album Illmatic. Lyrically, the album shows a greater variety of themes, from the battle rap braggadocio that dominated Road to the Riches, to topics of crime, poverty, racism (“Erase Racism”), and raunchy sex rap (“Talk Like Sex”). Perhaps most significantly, there is greater emphasis on vivid descriptions of crime and urban squalor (“Streets of New York”) and references to organized crime, gang violence, contract killing, and Mafia films (the title track, “Money in the Bank”, “Death Wish”), which helped cement Kool G Rap’s reputation as the founder of mafioso rap. Listen to Wanted: Dead or Alive above.

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