Road to the Riches

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Road to the Riches
Roadtotheriches.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedMarch 14, 1989
Recorded1986–1988
GenreHip hop, East Coast hip hop, Golden age hip hop
Length47:49
LabelCold Chillin'/Warner Bros. Records
25820
ProducerMarley Marl
Kool G Rap & DJ Polo chronology
Road to the Riches
(1989)
Wanted: Dead or Alive
(1990)
Singles from Road to the Riches
  1. "Poison"
    Released: 1988
  2. "Road to the Riches"
    Released: 1988
  3. "Truly Yours"
    Released: 1989
Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4/5 stars[1]
RapReviews9/10[2]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide3.5/5 stars[3]
The Village VoiceB+[4]

Road to the Riches is the debut album by hip hop duo Kool G Rap & DJ Polo, which was released in 1989 on then-prominent hip hop label Cold Chillin' Records. The album is notable in that it set off the mafioso rap trend with the title track "Road to the Riches," which received strong rotation on the TV show Yo! MTV Raps, and was later featured on the old-school hip hop radio station Playback FM from the game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Most of the songs, however, are not crime-related. Other popular songs included "It's a Demo" and "Poison." In 1998, the album was selected as one of The Source's 100 Best Rap Albums.[5]

Album information[edit]

Kool G Rap and DJ Polo were members of the legendary Juice Crew, led by producer Marley Marl. The duo first premiered on Mr. Magic's Rap Attack radio show on 107.5 in 1986 with its first single "It's A Demo." They spent the next few years releasing singles, and eventually wrote and recorded Road to the Riches in 1988, but wasn't released until early 1989. The album showcases G Rap's signature multisyllabic rhyme style with lyric topics ranging from crime, materialism, braggadocio, to love. The production was entirely handled by fellow juice Crew member Marley Marl, who provided a more hard-edged style of production than that of his previous work.

Road to the Riches is often cited as the beginning of the mafioso rap genre, laying the groundwork for future hip hop stars such as Scarface, Nas, Raekwon, Jay-Z, The Notorious B.I.G., and AZ, among others, however the bulk of the album features battle rap lyrics similar to Big Daddy Kane or Rakim without the explicit mafioso or gangsta rap subjects of the title track. G Rap would begin expanding his vivid storytelling and organized crime themes on his next album, Wanted: Dead or Alive and especially on 1992's Live and Let Die.

According to the liner notes in the Roots' Phrenology, "Men at Work" was the song that brought the group together during a lunch period at their high school.

Track listing[edit]

# Title Songwriters Performer (s) Length
1 "Road to the Riches" N. Wilson, M. Williams Kool G Rap 4:48
2 "It's a Demo" N. Wilson, M. Williams Kool G Rap 4:27
3 "Men at Work" N. Wilson, M. Williams Kool G Rap 5:02
4 "Truly Yours" N. Wilson, M. Williams Kool G Rap 5:07
5 "Cars" N. Wilson, M. Williams Kool G Rap 3:07
6 "Trilogy of Terror" N. Wilson, M. Williams Kool G Rap 2:40
7 "She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not" N. Wilson, M. Williams Kool G Rap 5:21
8 "Cold Cuts" N. Wilson, M. Williams DJ Polo 3:52
9 "Rhymes I Express" N. Wilson, M. Williams Kool G Rap 3:47
10 "Poison" N. Wilson, M. Williams Kool G Rap 4:45
11 "Butcher Shop" (CD version only) N. Wilson, M. Williams Kool G Rap 3:44

2006 re-release track listing[edit]

  • All tracks produced by Marley Marl

Disc 1

# Title Songwriters Performer(s)
1 "Road to the Riches" N. Wilson, M. Williams Kool G Rap
2 "It's a Demo" N. Wilson, M. Williams Kool G Rap
3 "Men at Work" N. Wilson, M. Williams Kool G Rap
4 "Truly Yours" N. Wilson, M. Williams Kool G Rap
5 "Cars" N. Wilson, M. Williams Kool G Rap
6 "Trilogy of Terror" N. Wilson, M. Williams Kool G Rap
7 "She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not" N. Wilson, M. Williams Kool G Rap
8 "Cold Cuts" N. Wilson, M. Williams DJ Polo
9 "Rhymes I Express" N. Wilson, M. Williams Kool G Rap
10 "Poison" N. Wilson, M. Williams Kool G Rap
11 "Butcher Shop" N. Wilson, M. Williams Kool G Rap
12 "Radio Album Introduction" N. Wilson
13 "Radio Freestyle" N. Wilson, Craig Morgan Kool G Rap & Craig G
14 "Radio Interview"
15 "Riker's Island Radio Promo" N.Wilson, M. Williams Kool G Rap
16 "Raw (Demo Version)" N. Wilson, Antonio Hardy Big Daddy Kane, Kool G Rap

Disc 2

# Title Songwriters Performer(s)
1 "It's A Demo (Original 12" Version)" N. Wilson, M. Williams Kool G Rap
2 "I'm Fly (Original 12" Version)" N. Wilson, M. Williams Kool G Rap
3 "Riker's Island (Original 12" Version)" N. Wilson, M. Williams Kool G Rap
4 "Rhyme Tyme (Original 12" Version)" N. Wilson, M. Williams Kool G Rap
5 "Poison (Hip Hop Version)" N. Wilson, M. Williams Kool G Rap
6 "Poison (Dub Version)" N. Wilson, M. Williams Kool G Rap
7 "Poison (Remix)" N. Wilson, M. Williams Kool G Rap
8 "Men At Work (Extended Version)" N. Wilson, M. Williams Kool G Rap
9 "It's A Demo (Original 12" Version Instrumental)" N. Wilson, M. Williams
10 "I'm Fly (Original 12" Version Instrumental)" N. Wilson, M. Williams
11 "Riker's Island (Original 12" Version Instrumental)" N. Wilson, M. Williams
12 "Men At Work (Extended Instrumental)" N. Wilson, M. Williams
13 "She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not (Instrumental)" N. Wilson, M. Williams
14 "Men At Work (Acapella)" N. Wilson, M. Williams Kool G Rap

Later samples[edit]

Charts[edit]

Chart (1989) Peak
position
US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums (Billboard)[6] 29

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kellman, Andy. "Road to the Riches – Kool G Rap & DJ Polo". AllMusic. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  2. ^ Pitt, Vern (May 6, 2008). "Kool G. Rap & DJ Polo :: Road to the Riches :: Cold Chillin'/Warner Bros. Records". RapReviews. Retrieved March 7, 2012.
  3. ^ Caramanica, Jon (2004). "Kool G Rap & DJ Polo". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian. The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 465–66. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  4. ^ Christgau, Robert (June 27, 1989). "Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  5. ^ "Rocklist.net...The Source 100 Best Rap Albums & Singles". Rocklistmusic.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-03-07.
  6. ^ "Kool G Rap Chart History (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved March 5, 2017.