Thursday, 18 February 2010

Great songs from forgotten rap albums part 12

B.G. Knocc Out & Dresta - Life's A Puzzle

I'm guessing that precisely 99.9 % of the readers of this blog reside somewhere where it's currently cold, grey and grim out, so what better way to indulge in some sun-kissed escapism than a lurvely G-Funk number by Eazy E's pals B.G Knocc Out & Dresta? If you thought rappers sympathizing with any ol' scumbag just because they're bruddermen was a modern phenomenom (think : Skillz and his "And it's a damn shame what THEY did to Michael Vick" line from his '07 rap-up) then check out B.G. Knocc Out urging O.J to "keep his head up" here. Anyone up for an experiment where we tell rappers that Hitler's mother was African before asking them for their feelings on holocaust survivor statistics?

Positive K - How The F**k Would You Know?

When I started doing this whole series I swore that I'd stay clear of any obvious, heavily jocked on message boards and boom-bap blog 90s NYC rap albums as the whole concept of the slept-on rap album on the 'net had become an ever decreasing circular discussion which usually concluded with someone saying "Yeah, and what about Nine's 2nd album too?". But sometimes you've just gotta give it up for something from the played-out slept-on east coast canon. Maybe it's the "Chinese girls they call me Dick Swing-Lo" line, or maybe it's the always sublime Just Kissed My Baby sample. All I'm certain of here is that I've been bumpin' this song since I bought Pos's The Skillz Dat Pay Da Bills tape on the same day in late 1992 I also procured a copy of Cube's The Predator and it still makes me go Daaaaamn.

Begetz ft. Half-A-Mil & AZ - Cold Outside

If you're one of the 4 people who reside outside the Perimeters of Brooklyn familiar with Begetz, then you either know him from when he appeared in Above The Rim, or his truly embarrassing dis track to Nas he had out a few years ago. Whichever is the case you weren't missing nada if you ignored his AZ hosted (ie. he appeared on the cover and on 1 song) Ghetto Pass album from 2007. Me? I actually shelled out £5.99 for this shit due to the AZ rope-a-dope (remember this was the point when AZ had come off 2 fine albums and one of the best themed remix albums ever), and because I couldn't find a downloadable link to it anywhere at the time. But I don't regret spending a single penny of that 5 pounds and 99 pence because I love the cheap soul-sample stylings and rags-to-riches theme of Cold Outside like I love a good steak or the news that Ashley Cole will be out for months with a broken ankle. The key to situations like this is that you just have to trick yourself that you've bought a killer one track 12" rather than an otherwise appalling 18 track cd and the feeling of being ripped off quickly disipates.

Juvenile - Krooked Kops

Like pretty much everyone who got into Juve sometime inbetween 400 Degreez and Tha G Code, the first time I heard Juve's pre-Cash Money material on the cobbled together Playaz Of Da Game compilation Ca$h Money Records put out in 2000 was comparable to the time I saw the first season of The Simpsons after getting into the show somewhere around the fourth season : a trip with the different voices and lo-fi production values, but you can see glimpes of the greatness to come. Krooked Kops was from the era from when the Geto Boys were the Pied Pipers of the south leading everone else down various flights of fancy and, as it stands, it's a pretty damn good retread of Crooked Officer down to Juve's rapping which you can get your Office Space on to in Scarface's voice, the catchier-than-the-monkey-in-Outbreak chorus and the pure Till Death Do Us Part era N.O Joe sounding country funk.

Anybody know where Krooked Kops and the similar joints off here like Jivin' originally appeared? They weren't on the D.J Jimi album which Bounce For The Juvenile etc appeared on, nor where they on Juve's debut Being Myself, so where'd they come from?

EDIT : Christ, I've only just realised that it's actually DJ Jimi rhyming on Krooked Kops, innit?

Young Jeezy - That's What's Up

Continuing the above theme, hearing Jeezy's 2003 debut Come Shop Wit' Me after getting into Jeezy sometime around Boyz 'N' Da Hood/Trap Or Die in early 2005 was akin to going back to watch the first series of Seinfeld after you got into it around season three : the main star looks different and hasn't quite grown into character yet, everything feels cheaper, it hasn't quite adapted to the format yet, little touches make it feel quaintly dated (in this case appearances by Bonecrusher and Lil' Jon), and it even has has Claire The Waitress type characters in weed carriers who were never heard from again like 11/29 and Fidank, but at its best it's unmistakedly the basis for what you fell in love with a couple of years later. Jeezy rapping over a Love Rap inspired beat and flipping a classic Rakim rhyme for the intro automatically bestow this with the award for being my favourite tune on Come Shop Wit' Me, but it's the "I know what you're thinkin' : this n*gga here can't rap a lick/but yo' lady in yo' Chevy bumpin' my sheeeeeeit" and "I ain't tryna be funny but how'm I respect y'all/when half the hoes I know ridin' better than y'all?" lines which really make this that shit. Who knew Jeezy had a sense of humour?

Did anybody ever discuss the possibility that Mac Dre, who was regularly doing shows around ATLanta in 2003, heard this and ripped off the hook for his own That's Wusup track in 2004, or was it merely a case of coincidence? And speaking of Mac Dre....

Mac Dre - So Hard

Since Mac Dre's discography is so vast some of his albums have tended to slip between the cracks to everybody other than the most dedicated fiends for Bay shit. Generally, these tend to be the albums from 2000 - 2002 which don't have vaguelly amusing pun-based titles, and their slept-on status isn't exactly a tragedy of Profit getting cancelled after one season proportions as most of them are pretty awful. But, and it's a huge but, it's always worth trawling through twelve shit songs to find those two gems when you come across somehing like So Hard, which is my favourite type of Mac Dre track : an exotic sounding aspiration for la dolce vita imbued with a slight sense of sadness. A Dre-ed out Juicy, basically.


James said...

Great post.

What are some other good songs on that first Jeezy album?

Asher said...

Early Jeezy has always sounded to me like bad imitation Trick Daddy (who these days also sounds like bad imitation Trick Daddy).

Kelvin Mack10zie said...

Trick Daddy and J.T Money rip-offs would definately be an accurate comparison.

James, this, Can We Play The Game (the most Jeezy-ish shit on there), I Ride, and Gangsta Walkin' (this falls into the Trick Daddy rip-off by the way of ATL circa Crunk category, but it's a good uptempo stomper) are the ones I like.

Forget the rest, although we did get open to Take It To The Floor with Bonecrusher after bumpin' the shit out of Never Scared remix one sunday afternoon in summer '06.

scjoha said...

The first Jeezy album is Thuggin Under the Influence from 2001. He called himself Lil J back then:

Most of the songs from this album were reused on Come Shop Wit Me.

Kelvin Mack10zie said...

No fuckin' way.

Very interesting.