Sauce Money, Middle Finger U.

Sauce Money, Middle Finger U. (2000)

Sauce Money, whose debut album Middle Finger U. appears after a prolonged delay, is best known for ghostwriting “I’ll Be Missing You,” Puff Daddy’s 1997 Grammy Award-winning tribute to the Notorious B.I.G. That single turned Biggie Smalls’ tragic murder into a triumphant Broadway-styled spectacle; its superior B-side, “We’ll Always Love Big Poppa,” sparked the careers of The Lox. Yet Sauce Money remained in the shadows, continuing to pen lyrics for other, better-known artists. Perhaps those years of toiling in the rap industry’s salt mines accounts for the overweening self-confidence he exhibits on Middle Finger U. “I even resurrected bitches even when they was wack,” he brags on “C My 1’s.” “Now they wanna give me credit/Even for shit I didn’t do.” Like his mentor Jay-Z, Sauce Money knows how to flow smoothly over a track. His ability to blend in with the surroundings leaves banging cuts like “Face Off 2000,” “Chart Climbing,” “Pregame,” and “What’s My Name” unfettered by lumpy metaphors and hoarsely delivered lyrics. Sauce Money’s rhymes seem superficial upon closer inspection. There are no head-scratching similes or overarching concepts on Middle Finger U, just more of that hardcore NYC rap we’ve all come to know and love. But it’s hard to front on top-shelf production by Clark Kent, Mr. Rapture, Big Jaz and the ubiquitous DJ Premier. Their combined presence powers most of the album’s 18 tracks. You want that rah-rah shit, right? Sauce Money gives it to you. Priority Records.

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