Usually when a breakup occurs, so much attention is given to the main parties involved that others affected often become an afterthought. The Dipset movement suffered a divorce of sorts and almost all the focus has been given to the bad blood between Cam’ron and Jim Jones. Their story’s garnered all the attention, while their contractually obligated “children” (Juelz included) were left to their own devices. Seeking the studio over the psychiatrist’s couch, Ruga Rell is back with another batch of hard nosed lyrics on Get In Line Or Get Lined Up. Although he’s fully capable of creating an album on his own, a little more involvement from the parental units would have helped things greatly.
On “Shine” he pretty much admits it when he says “When will these niggas stop it?/I’m related through blood/but they treat me like I’m adopted/still, still your boy (shine).” Backed by a soul loop and vocal sample à la “Oh Boy, it sounds like he’s putting up a brave front while convincing he can carry on without his Dip Set brethren. A lot of the production present (“Ruga Rell,” “Shoot ‘Em Up,” “D.W.S”) tries to recreate the sound of the Dips in their heyday, but falls short sounding like an inferior re-creation (or leftovers from that time) leaving Rell to carry the album more on his own merits. “If I Die” is one of the few tracks that capture that epic feeling Dip Set tracks carried and Rell sounds invigorated as he spits on staying fly til he dies. At a brisk 2:13, it’s over way too fast and just like that the feeling is gone, as quick as it came.
Lyrically, Rell is a capable rapper well versed in the hood tales and coke raps, but when forced to craft three verses for a song his punchlines are spread a little thin and they become predicable (both the good & bad ones). On “One Eight Seven,” he finds a menacing, brooding beat to compliment his gritty lyrics and steady flow. He actually makes the biggest impression on “Damn I’m Cool,” but unfortunately he’s rapping over Shawty Lo’s “Foolish” and truthfully Stephen Hawking would come correct on this beat. The same goes for his “Hardest (remix)” which features Lil’ Fame and Styles P, where Rell can take a brief respite from being the main attraction.
His other features (40 Cal & Young Buck) add nothing to the equation other than make Rell sound like a breath of fresh air on a couple tracks. Production is what failed him the most on this album as these bargain bin beats do nothing but shift focus on his predictable vocals. It’s like trying to stunt in an outfit from the thrift store and for someone who relies heavily on swag more than anything, it hurts. Left in the lineup by his lonely, he did the best he could, but there’s no one rooting for reconciliation between Cam’ron and Jim more than Hell Rell.