Cormega – Born & Raised Album Review
Monday October 19th 2009,
Filed under: Albums,Cormega Week,Reviews
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The struggle between artistic growth and keeping the listener’s happy is a delicate balance for any musician, even more so in the ever-fickle rap world. Do you keep making remaking the same songs that got you fans in the first place or try and test the limits of your abilities by stepping outside your comfort zone? Cormega has never been afraid to wear his heart on his sleeve, and even though he fills many of the tracks on Born and Raised with personal sentiment there’s no need for alarm – this isn’t some emo rap shit. Mega just spills it how he sees fit.

The first thing that impresses about this project is the cohesiveness of the overall sound. This actually feels like an real album, constructed with a unified vision and theme behind it, rather than some random collection of tracks to skip through. Take a look at the production line-up as well – minus Lord Finesse, Puffy and Q-Tip, Cormega has managed to assemble the same beat-smith’s that created the classic sounds of Ready To Die and Illmatic. DJ Premier, L.E.S., Pete Rock, Buckwild, Easy Moe Bee, Havoc and Large Professor all contribute, in addition to Fizzy Womack, Nottz, D.R. Period and Ayatollah. On paper, that’s an unbeatable team, right? The good news is pretty much everyone comes through in the clutch. While previous Montana projects have suffered from some patchy beats amongst the gems and the occasional awkward moment in his delivery, he seems to have perfected the formula this time around and doesn’t let a moment go to waste.

In the past, Mega often fed off the energy of his guests, and the same applies here. The rowdy ‘Get It In’ with Lil’ Fame continues the winning chemistry of their previous team-up ‘718’, while ‘Love Your Family’ with Havoc manages to come-off sincere without falling into corny melodrama, and ‘Mega Fresh X’ reveals the fan in Cory as he let’s some of his old favorites get shine in the booth. But it’s ‘Define Yourself’ that proves to be the true declaration of dominance here, as Cor’s old rhyme partner Tragedy delivers another classic sermon and Hav seals the deal with a suitable no-frills approach. On the rest of the record, Montana blends conventional street wisdom with life lessons he’s learned since he adopted the legal hustle, but doesn’t neglect some boats of traditional brag rap and ragging on the comp. When Mega announces that “I’m no longer seeking acceptance from people who aren’t feeling me/or squeezing my weapon for those who aren’t as real as me” it’s clear that we’re listening to an MC who not bowing to the demands of record labels, radio or even his own fans – he knows what the fuck he’s doing at this point, and with his third official solo album he’s finally manged to get all the pieces of the puzzle to fall into place and create the album that we always knew he was capable of. It’s too soon to call, but Born and Raised might just prove to be a modern-day classic.

Album Sampler

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65 Comments so far
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Looking forward to hearing this on the production credits alone. Cormega’s nice with his.

Comment by End Level Boss 10.19.09 @

word up.

Comment by swordfish 10.19.09 @

Album is def one of the strongest of the year as ‘Mega has definitely reached a point in his rhymes where they are authentic, mature, and wise. The all star line up on the beats all brought it, as well. Mega took his time with this record and I’m glad he did. It’s stellar.

Comment by The ILLatino 10.19.09 @

Mega Montana!

Comment by Legend 10.19.09 @

Only a year late–but I’ll take it! I hate how Amazon MP3 store doesn’t break street dates. I gotta wait until midnight to click the buy button!

Comment by Finally 10.19.09 @

Another miss by Corey. This glowing review doesn’t properly cover the fact that yes, while the album does have one cohesive sound, that sound is very wack, and even the Premier beat isn’t all that. Cormega has always layered his vocals too (a sign if a lazy emcee) and now it’s really getting old. The problem is that Mega is just a rapper, not an artist with that artistic vision that separates him from the pack. He’s been at this how long now and still can’t make a dope album? I’m not advising he goes back to selling crack but maybe a GED is in the future for him and he can go to college or something because this rap shit is just not for him anymore. Don’t shoot the messenger since I can admit he does indeed have some classic material under his belt, but that material is easily over a decade old now. I’m just sayin…

Comment by bc-tw 10.19.09 @

^Yeah, I never liked that he used backing tracks so often, I also think it sounded weak as well. I have never cared for his delivery and as such I never liked any of his other albums.
Ill go ahead and say that he is a talented writer, his content is good and he crafts a good verse, but he lacks presence IMO and it would sound alot better coming out of someone elses mouth. Maybe he should ghost write.
I would also agree that he needs another rapper in the track to keep songs interesting to listen to.
The majority of this board is pro Mega and thats cool but I just can see why people think hes all that. Ill give this album a listen anyway to see if it can change my perception.

Comment by T 10.19.09 @

stop trippin fool.

Comment by swordfish 10.19.09 @

i don’t care what anyone says but mega is in my PERSONAL top 5, along with raekwon, nas, tragedy and prodigy. yeah, fuck you too!

Comment by spotrusherz 10.19.09 @

I agree with bc-tw. This album is not anything special. Modern-day classic?? Listen to Fashawn’s album “Boy meets World” and you have the definition of a modern-day classic. Compare the beats, lyrics and depth of these two albums and let me know what you think.

Comment by Krewz 10.19.09 @

Copped it at on Sat since Fat Beats sold out last week. Patiently waiting to bump Born and Raised in the streets of Southside Jamaica Queens.

Comment by junclassic 10.19.09 @

this guy is sooo whack, terrible

Comment by jill 10.19.09 @

dude lost it. album aint shit

Comment by kallywood 10.19.09 @

Great review for a great album.
Especially for nowadays.
If you’re complaining about this album, either you got wack taste or you were expecting way too much and waiting too long.

Comment by verge 10.19.09 @

yeah, that’s true. Cormega got high named prodcuers by low grade beats. I mean I think they are throw away beats from these guys.

Cormega used to say,” I would pick a beat cuz it’s tight not the hottest producer”

Plus, his bars were lazy. The true meaning and The realness are tight. This album is weak compared to those.

Only good song on here is dirty game and rapture.

2/5 mics

Comment by American beauty 10.19.09 @

The album is pretty good. I still prefer “The Realness” or “The True Meaning” to this one at this time. Maybe time will change my mind. I’m going to cop cause I’m a fan. I’ve come to accept the “punch in’s” of his vocals…he’s done that since day one. He is a good writer “Dirty Game” is 3 years old. It was on the “My Brother’s Keeper” album with Lake.

Correction tho. This is Mega’s 4th album. The The Realness, The True Meaning, and The Testament. 6 if you want to count Legal Hustle and/or Who Am I?

Comment by Thomas 10.19.09 @

“minus Puffy and Q-Tip, Cormega has managed to assemble the same beat-smith’s that created the classic sounds of Ready To Die and Illmatic.”

uhhmmmm…. “one love” anyone? one of the best songs on illmatic, produced by q-tip.

Comment by versus 10.19.09 @

this shit is hot

born and raised > Bp3

Comment by dockevoc 10.19.09 @

dope concept with the Phase 2-ish cover for that joint..wonder who put that together….MEGA MONTANA, album is a banger.

Comment by SUPERBADEMCEESOLACE 10.19.09 @

most overrated rapper of all time

Comment by craig 10.20.09 @


Take off your backpack, hang up your trucker hat and take a trip to the bridge.

Comment by ben profane 10.20.09 @

i heard that preemo track and i don’t know what dude was talking about that joint is tight. mega spits fire.

Comment by kaybee 10.20.09 @

@Thomas: “Correction tho. This is Mega’s 4th album.”
He calls this his third official solo.

@Krewz: Fashawn’s album is nice but the Mega bangs harder.

Comment by Robbie 10.20.09 @

I listened to this album in the weekend and thought it was disappointing. It can’t come close to The Realness” or “The True Meaning” which to be are one of the best albums ever created.

Also, I can’t take a reviewer seriously when he reviews a Cormega album and doesn’t complain about the fact that he rhymes off beat a lot. If I got a dollar for every time this dude raps off beat I would be a motherfucking millionaire. This shit annoyed the fuck outta me when the realness and true meaning dropped. Now seven years later and dude still doesn’t know how to ride a beat. Shit is pathetic.

Plus, I lost a little respect for Mega with his dumb ass comments on Drake. Like rap is only for poor people. Might that be the reason for him dropping lackluster albums? So he can stay broke and keep rapping.

Comment by JohnBlack 10.20.09 @

^ What’s a Drake?

Comment by Robbie 10.20.09 @

lyrics lyrics lyrics. his raps arent always on beat cos there syncopated dummies.

all these dilla biters with kicks and snares going all over the place and people are loving it, but mega gets hated. Shiiit.

Comment by gx 10.20.09 @

I think this will be an album that ends up growing on a ton of people. We are listening to a more grown, but still introspective and spttin that realness, Cory (and 7 years after The True Meaning,evolution is justified). It’s clear how much effort was put into this project getting striaght legends on guest appearences and production.

October 20, 2010, the haters will be feelin this.

Comment by jimmy 10.20.09 @

Not liking something does not equate hate.

The fact of the matter is that there’s no excuse for a lackluster product when you have access to beats from the producers of this album. Dirty Game is dope but it was on the Lakey Da Kidd album 3 fucking years ago!

I think the bottom line is that we all expect so much out of Cormega and have routinely come away disappointed as of late (past few years). Not to mention on a personal front, I lost tons of respect for him when he tried to shit on Nas, the very man to whom Mega owes his entire rap existence! And Nas still put him on the QB’s Finest album, which, I will admit, Mega had a couple of hot verses on. However, that was close to a decade ago.

I agree with the person who said maybe he should turn to ghostwriting. No shame in that. But this album is lacking. I think that much is obvious. This reviewer was obviously biased because everything from the beats to the rhymes to the presence of the main rapper is lacking. Using all those guest rappers is a crutch and proof Mega can’t stand on his own any longer.

Comment by bc-tw 10.20.09 @

.. well it aint the realness but if shit iz hood, shit iz good… dat track “the other side” by fizzy womack… …iz juss crack to smoke wit a trumpet…

Comment by donaleski 10.20.09 @

Robbie, what happened to the Beck’s rating system?

Comment by turtle 10.20.09 @

to any who says cormega is overrated or that this album is not a classic is a fool. you must not listen to rap music or know anything about hip hop, cormega is the best rapper alive i do not care what any of you say nobody can touch him. none of you even mention how the lyrics in rapture are among the greatest of all time. if you do not know what you are saying and are ignorant please keep your worthless opinions to your self

Comment by cb 10.20.09 @

I always thought Mega was a good MC that suffered from mostly terrible beats. He does some gems but I never really checked for him coz there’s not one album of his that I would say is consistently good, so I never really checked for him. He does have some really dope songs though. Need to check this album out

Comment by boogs 10.20.09 @

Don’t know how anybody could say the don’t feel, Mega, point blank. The Realness and True Meaning are both great albums, and ‘Mega seems like a man of integrity, and a self-made, secure professional who achieved what he has “the right way.”

I gave this album a few spins over the weekend, and wasn’t overly impressed — at least by the standards I set for an artist of Mega’s caliber. But, at the same time, both of Mega’s previous albums grew on me over time (though my initial reaction to both of them was stronger than it was to this one). A solid effort by a damn good MC. Modern classic? I’m skeptical, but won’t yet entirely rule it out.

Comment by digglahhh 10.20.09 @

3 mics, he got some duds from what an all star lineup. Havoc and Large Pro came thru, but Pete/Premo/LES/Nottz and especially Easy Mo could have done so much better. And the fact this was 7 years in the making magnifies it

Solid album, but ill probably be playing Realness as much if not more than this in a few months. off a few listens id say the lyrics will have to hold up something amazing for it to retain replay, because the beats do not grab you

Comment by nick 10.20.09 @

yo if corey reads this, he needs to know that legal hustle failed HARD with the release of this album. I went to cop it today at Amoeba in San Francisco, which is a huge new/used music store and one of the few places people still go to buy albums from people like Cormega. They had not received a single copy of Born and Raised. Which sucks, because if you can’t buy an album like this at Amoeba, your only options are itunes or Amazon. I doubt they’re stocking this shit at best buy, and there really are only a (shrinking) handful of real music stores left (even in a city like San Francisco), and some of those are either vinyl only or don’t carry hip-hop. I’m a fan and a collector, so I’ll find a way to cop this regardless, but most people in my position would just say “fuck it” and download the album illegally. Not getting shipments to the few places that still can move an album by Cormega represents a massive fail on the part of Legal Hustle. Hopefully they get their shit together and get some CDs into stores this week.

Comment by hook 10.20.09 @

I myself am feeling this record.

Great production and guest line-up always helps.


Comment by Crisis 10.21.09 @

that ‘Rapture’ joint alone make this a must-buy 4 me

Comment by dj blendz 10.21.09 @

Happy to be corrected but I don’t think Hav had any beats on Illmatic or RTD.

Comment by Chris 10.21.09 @

@Chris: You’re right, I was thinking of Biggie’s second for some reason.

Comment by Robbie 10.21.09 @

@Robbie: Whatever happended to ‘Salute to Weed Carriers’… Jump the shark??


BTW: I still love re-reading all the old W/C posts! Still providing many a laugh even after all this time. Props.

Comment by Crisis 10.21.09 @

as an avid Corey fan, the best thing about this album is the coverart, so sad…

Comment by SuvioBlue 10.21.09 @

i heard the album and it’s definitely dope. if you like the realness and the true meaning then uhhh how can you not like this? some of the beats on this make me feel like i’m fucking in QB!
4/5 mics from me.
and it’s better than BP3

Comment by kaybee 10.21.09 @

what did Havoc produce on RTD and Illmatic?

Comment by Arkitek 10.21.09 @

^sorry, didn’t read a few posts above.
question answered.

Comment by Arkitek 10.21.09 @

some of yall talkin about him overlapping his vocals….yea its true but his shit sounds correct

some people can spit fast some people cant, shit i smoked so many blunts my lungs dont have that type of air capacity, remember big pun’s nasty breaths in the middle of the songs? huuuhhhh at least megas shit sounds good overall

as far as the dj premier beat goes its better then any beat from Blaq Po’s album so how is that bad? some hip hop fans are too picky man

Comment by G 10.21.09 @

This album’s not his best ,even with all these producers,but cormega is still a dope mc.BEST album i heard this year is FREESTYLEPROFESSORS GRYMETYME buckwild caught a body on “lord’s Prayer”!and show,diamond,finesse and branesparker production easily DESTROYS this album in my opinion!

Comment by Dj Spins 10.22.09 @

I’m feeling this album. Robbie’s right, it sounds like an album too.
It’s Contemporary, but with that classic hiphop feel that you only get if you’re a true head.

Comment by farns 10.22.09 @

“Minus Puffy, Q-Tip”…

and LORD FINESSE, lest we forget.

Comment by Question Marc 10.22.09 @

^ Fixed.

Comment by Robbie 10.22.09 @

first off Mega is a authentic and genuine rapper…cant doubt his credability or rep. Album was highly anticipated and while it is strong i am left with the feeling that it didnt fulfil expectations!! while the realness is raw the true meaning is what i consider a modern day classic (post 1990’s golden era) there isnt any album out there this decade that comes close for me. always support mega and appreciate his craft – didnt feel the album was built on a concept or story from end to end…. the beat for ‘the other side’ is crazy and chilling – tracks like that carry whole albums re: rainy dazy on OB4CL and lifes a bitch on illmatic, start of your ending on the infamous, i would give the album 3.5 out of 5.

Comment by uk mega fan 10.22.09 @

Lord Digga too Rob!

Comment by The Funkologist 10.22.09 @

Intersting. I would just love to know who some of you guys regard as “hot”. I wonder if you would have the audacity to diss legends such as Grand Puba and Big daddy Kane, both of whom appeared on the album with Mega.

Do you really think that these legends of the golden age of Ny hip hop would spit with a dude as whack as you guys are saying? If your dissing mega, your dissing the hip hop integrity of fucking Big daddy Kane. Cmon.

This album is definitely hot. But,If you want to nitpick fine: Perhaps some of the hooks are weak.- ie ” Love your family” I actually like the song, but I’ll admit there may be some lazy vocals in that joint and a few others. Still, Journey, Rapture, Make it Clear, and are nasty. Admittedly,I’m a huge mega fan going back to the mystique generated from Nas'”one love”

You guys are entitled to your opinion. But if your comparing mega to lil wayne, drake, jim jones, or any one along those lines, you guys simply FAIL. We all know there is soooooooooo much weak shit out right now. You can’t honestly say this album at the very least, doesn’t feel more hip hop than alot of the crap being put out right now.

Comment by bb 10.22.09 @

a lot of cats in here are hating big time and must just not be fans of Hip-Hop….this new Mega album is great…one of his best efforts amongst a myriad of good ones…..

Comment by BIG D O 10.22.09 @

yeah album was nice, particularly the prem and the pro joints!

Comment by RowanB 10.23.09 @

I check this site frequently because I can see it appreciates Hip Hop. BUT it only appreciates one form of the art. Namely that “Gutter Project Hallway” variety.

The People that post here generally feel that if it ain’t “hood” It ain’t hip hop. It’s almost like they claim hood status by the artist that they support. I did not buy this Cormega joint so I won’t comment on it. But I used to buy Mega early works and they were pretty good. But as someone stated dude frequently rhymes off beat and sometimes his beats are weak or stale.

Mega’s Aight but he is nowhere near hip hop elite MC’s. He wouldn’t make my top 100. I fuck with most of the artist profiled on this site but they are for the more nuanced “head” and they define only a segment of the culture; not encompass it.

Comment by BKTHoroughbred 10.23.09 @

this album is grown man rap. this album defines what a hip hip album should be…actually let me rephrase that this is what a classic hip hop album should sound like. The way cormega raps is unlike any other rapper, he never is off the flow of the beat and always brings at least one line in every song or freestyle he does that will be stuck in your head. i know its like talking to a wall becuase most of the world loves this new “lollipop rap” that soulja boy and lil wayne helped create. any body that knows and appreciates hip hop knows that this album and cormega define greatness

Comment by cb 10.23.09 @

Cuz talking bout not top 100 mc’s, ru kidding ? Name 100 mc’s tha spit better than Montna. In fac, who is yor top 20? Just by odds aloe, you would have to be including some of the most notoriously whack rappers out right now. Guys like Jim jones, guccie mane, kanye west, soulj oy, the list goes on.

I must reiterate my earlier point of legends such as KRS 1 are willing to associate themselves with Mega. If you diss mega, you are dissing the jdgement of KRS one. I am sure legends like KRS and Big daddy kane wold not go 10 feet near a mic both with some of of yor “top 100 mc’s” if not all of them.

Comment by bb 10.23.09 @


Comment by J.wills From Syracuse Ny 10.25.09 @


Comment by J.wills From Syracuse Ny 10.25.09 @


It’s a walk in the park to name 20 MC’s Betta than Cormega.
7.Daddy Kane
8.Slick Rick
10.Chuck D
13.Scar Face
14.Ice Cube
15.Grand Puba
20.Big Pun

Here’s 21 through 40
27.Beanie Siegal
28.Andre 3000
29.Talib Kweli
31.Kool Moe Dee
32.Grand Master Caz
33.Melle Mel
34.Just Ice
35.Masta Ace
36.Chubb Rock
37.Buck Shot
40.And I’ll throw in a Woman: MC Lyte

Y’all Children are silly. I can go on. I’m a Hip Historian. There’s been many an MC that are more lyrically and technically sound than Mega. AND as I stated in my earlier post:I fux with Mega. I support his art. But to say he is the best or even near the best is type disrespectful. I just picked all out “Mic Legends”. But I can pick random Mc’s that are better than him. for instance:Craig G, Mad Skills, OC, Big L, AZ the list goes on and on….

AND Yes, he’s not even close to being better than Lil Wayne and Kanye

Comment by BKThorougbred 10.25.09 @

Born and raised is sick. gets better with every listen. His best effort since the realness, Nice to hear him over some challangeing beats been waiting for somthing like this for awhile, glad to not be dissapointed

Comment by theshiti'mon 10.31.09 @


cMON MAN…. dmx, ANDRE 3000 STRAIGHT JOKE S AS HOTTTER THAN MEGA. I ALSO HAVE TO SAY YOUR CREDIBILITY IS PRETTY MUCH DESTROYED WHEN YOU DONT HAVE BIG l IN YOUR TOP 3… VERY WEAK MAN. i KNEW YOU WOULD PUT jAY z # 1. This is on a site where there’s a topic listed as ” Is Jay Z the shakes pear of Hip hop” Please.

Dud LL is a simple rymin cat who was hot in the 80’s. I’ll give you cats like G rap, red man, buckshot, but again, you dont even have AZ up there. Chuck D, you gotta be kidding me. Dude is hot more for his message than his flow. I agree with alot of your choices for hot mc’s/ Although many are basic flow dudes from old days- ie Guru… the basic rhyme master. Your omission of Big L speaks volumes about your taste in music.

Comment by bb 10.31.09 @

wow I just noticed your Kanye comment. Props for recognizing Az, but Kanye and Wayne…. I realize now you like that wack shit. Bottom line, Kanye is not Hip hop. Nobody in the hood likes him. And yes, to a certian extent, hip hop is hood. Hip hop did not start in the suburbs.

The song “the message” was not about good times, and bigger faster stronger, ie Kanye and his pop hop bull shit. Hip hop started from the struggle and repesents the struggle. Wayne was hot before he put out bling bling. No his raps are made for white boys and girls. The fact that you say Kanye and wayne are hotter than mega is just an insult to hip hop.

Neithr of them even spit hip hop. They spit pop hop. You still cant say that Fucing KRS one or BIgg sdaddy kane would jump on a song with Andre 3000, or jada. They know real hip hop, they know what reminds them of MC shan and G rap. BTW… how bout rah digga and roxane shante for feamle mc’s.

You are a hip hop historian.. only if hip hop is radio ass music made for people that dont even kow who krs one is. You do not know hip hop. You dint mention Big L. No legends of hip hop liek the ones that spit with mega would rhyme with most of your wack ass list. Expecially not Kanye and Wayne.

Comment by bb 10.31.09 @

Glad to hear the dope reviews Mega is one of only a hand full of artists that I still go out and support in the stores!!! When he came out at the RSC anniverary in 2g out of no where it ptretty much sealed the deal for me even though i was a supporter for years before

Comment by 357NYC 11.01.09 @

If you don’t like mega its becuz you aint live no parts of what we call the street life any true hustler would appreciate Mega Montana

Comment by JASON 09.10.12 @

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