Thursday, 8 April 2010

Oh shit - Mo City Don Freestyle has a video

Z-Ro - Mo City Don Freestyle



(It starts at around the 1:15 mark).

When I say video, it's just 'Ro in a blue hoody standing around in an undisclosed location as Trae, Lil' Boss, Jay'Ton and some other weed-carriers mill around in the background, but that's it needs to be. As far as rap-merchandise goes, I'd really like one of those A.B.N vests Jay-Ton is wearing to lounge around the house this summer. Where can I get one?

So, according to the rankings on my Mp3 player, this is one of my 10 most listened to songs of the last 5 years alongside such imperishable all-time favourites like Vocal Test by Integrity, Area by De La, Real N*ggaz Don't Die by NWA, and Walk Like A Man by Frankie Valli & The 4 Seasons, yet despite the fact that I've apparently listened to it over 500 times I still don't know if I could flawlessly recite the whole thing acapella when inebriated and packed toe-to-toe with the local riff-raff in a grubby watering hole like your average Houston resident can :



A fact which Wheelchair Jimmy exploited when he happened to be in town. This is basically the rap equivalent of Mick Foley's shameless playing to the crowd where he mentions the city he's in mid-shoot and then gives a thumbs up to the assembled rabble as they whoop with delight :



I initially thought Mo City Don Freestyle was intended to honour DJ Screw as it has the feel of a classic Screw tape freestyle (though it doesn't sound half as good Screwed And Chopped as Respect My Mind) with a tip of the hat to Paid In Full, and I suppose there's elements of both present, but an interview with 'Ro a few years back brought forth the revelation that the track was in fact a homage to DJ Jimi & Juvenile's N.O classic Bounce For The Juvenile :

DJ Jimi & Juvenile - Bounce For The Juvenile



And it's like "Oh shit!". And not just because he's obviously rapping over the Paid In Full remix like Juve' did, but stylistically, you can hear it with his delivery and the way he drifts from rapping to harmonizing so effortlessly. I always tend to think of the key influences to 'Rother's harmonizing being Pimp C, Bone Thugs & Harmony, Nate Dogg, and 3-2, but you listen to this and slightly later Solja Rags era Juvenile tracks and it dawns on you just how big of a Juve' influence there is to Z-Ro's style in genral too.

Dennis Edwards - Don't Look Any Further



So, I guess this would be as good a time as any to look back at some key Southern uses of Don't Look Any Further and the Paid In Full remix sample. Let's completely ignore I'm A D-Boy by Weezy & Birdman, though, eh? Partially because it neither works as a tribute to an N.O classic (unlike Go D.J) or a token track designed for the N.Y market (unlike, say, Tha Mobb which is just a perfect filtering of Dipset through an N.O Lense), but mainly because Univeral Records are firing Cease And Desist orders at rap bloggaz posting songs by their artists left, right and centre and your boy here is hiding in the trenches right now. Man, why didn't I read that post by Rafi on Oh Word about the situation more carefully?

Lil' Slim - Bounce Slide Ride



Ain't gon' lie, I was completely oblivious to the existence of this track and Lil' Slim's first tape The Game Is Cold (which is so impossible to find outside of the south that a copy has never appeared on eBay and it isn't even listed on Discogs) until Noz posted this as part of his 2nd N.O Bounce compilation. You thought trend records were the domain of the Roxanne saga in the 80s and the more recent Crank Dat craze? Me too, but we've got eggs on our faces right now as Slim's semi-tribute to Bounce For The Juvenile came hot on its trail in 1992.

Scarface - Mr Scarface Part 3 The Final Chapter



Scarface's The World Is Yours was a weird album which found itself caught in a limbo between DJ Ready Red's 1991 N.Y/L.A-derived sound on Mr Scarface Is Back/We Can't Be Stopped and N.O Joe's 1993 Till Death Do Us Part gumbo-funk where a good portion of the songs didn't quite knock accordingly due to the production nexus they found themselves a part of, so it's no suprise that the 2 best songs on the tape were so successful because they fell squarely into either camp; You could imagine Dying With Your Boots On as another 'Face solo track on Till Death Do Us Part next to It Ain't and Cereal Killer, and Mr Scarface Part 3 The Final Chapter still sounds fresh despite the played-out Dennis Edwards and Commodores samples, and closes the Mr Scarface trilogy on a Army Of Darkness styled truimphant note, as opposed to, y'know, an anticlimatic Godfather 3 or Return Of The Jedi type one. Seriously, is there a finer trilogy valediction than Army Of Darkness?

UGK ft. Three 6 Mafia - Like A Pimp



It was odd that two groups with such distinct sounds which helped define their respective regions would opt for a backing track drenched in New York history for Three 6's first appearance on a UGK song, but the Country-Rap is strong on this one as it's a replay by Pimp C full of lavish guitar flicks rather than a sample giving the song a looser, more trunk-friendly feel. Throw in a classic Pimp hook, pronged scratches and great verses all around (my, doesn't DJ Paul rip it?) and a song which makes you curse the fact that both groups only made a handful of records together.

12 comments:

scjoha said...

Skipping the DMG and 2Low tracks, The World Is Yours is my favorite Scarface album. Perfect N.O. Joe/Bido swamp funk. Fav: The Wall and Let Me Roll (classic video to the latter).

brad said...

"the world is yours" is a good lp, mate.

not a classic like "mr scarface" or "the diary" but a good solid lp.

MF said...

My pal Chek really rates The World Is Yours too. I just don't hear it, but I will admit that The Wall is a good song.

scjoha said...

Well, I like the music on TWIY a little better. It's interesting how in one year N.O. Joe went from that unique swamp funk on TWIY and Geto Boys' Till Death Do Us Part to that much slicker, a little generic G-Funk on Diary (O.K. Mike Dean had a hand in it, too). Unfortunately there aren't credits for each song on TWIY and TDDUP, so I can't say for sure if it's really N.O. Joe who's mainly responsible for the sound on those two albums. Maybe it's more Bido. Anyway, I like the sound of early Rap-A-Lot a little better than the G-Funk on post-Diary RAL albums. The best G-Funk outside of Cali comes from Texas, but that swamp funk (also to be found on UGK's Super Tight) is what made RAL (and UGK) really unique and great. (Maybe that's also why I like Super Tight a little better than Ridin' Dirty, which sported some nice, slick G-Funk, courtesy of N.O'. Joe, rather than the moody, jazzy, bluesy sounds of ST.) Lyrically the later album is more refined, more mature (Diary and Ridin Dirty, respectively), but soundwise I like the precediAnd ng ones a bit more. scarface's maturity/deepness is on full display on The Wall and Now Ya Feel Me, though.

scjoha said...

And thanks for this post, MF. It made me aware how great a rapper Z-Ro is/can be. He flows so great, effortlessly here. Impressive how the crowd recites the whole song, on beat (without the beat).
What other Z-Ro songs/albums do you recommend?
Cause I really love me some Texas shit, like I said, UGK, Scarface, but besides that only early RAL albums.
Only ABN shit I was listening to regularly was Trae's Swang (checked it because of the Pimp verse)and that is one of the greatest songs of the last decade (all three versions are equally great, the OG without Pimp, but with the Lady in my Life sample, the version with Pimp and replayed sample, and the album version without any hint of the MJ song).
But somehow I never felt like listening to one of his or Ro's albums. Dunno why. I prolly really should dl and listen to the songs maynholup is posting on CB.

tray said...

I didn't know Tha Mobb was Dipsetesque. 'Real N*ggaz Don't Die' is a masterpiece. So is the whole album, really. You look at reviews from the time and they're all like, it's an exploitative album for white kids, and you're like, exactly, it's the greatest posturing gangsta rap album for white kids ever made.

MF said...

Precisely, Tray. I had a carte-blanche dj oppurtnity a couple of sundays back where I didn't have any bad language constraints and I pretty much themed my entire first set around the key songs from that album as an exercise in dick-swinging, because you can't play Real N*ggaz Don't Die or Findum, Fuckum & Flee and not feel like the baddest man on the planet.

I'm glad to see that album had somewhat of a critical reappraisal in the last decade too because it was completely overshadowed by Ice Cube at the time and then almost forgotten by the time The Chronic came out.

Tha Mobb is total Dipset to me. Best Rapper Alive too, actually.

MF said...

Scjoha, I completely agree on TDDUP, i just don't think TWIY is anywhere near as good as example of Swamp-Funk (great description, btw) as it. Are you a fan of Big Mike's first cd?

As far as Z-Ro goes, I'd go straight for his first two R-A-L albums The Life Of Joseph W. McVey and Let The Truth Be Told to start. Then head back to his debut Look What You Did To Me, the first Guerilla Maab cd and the A.B.N album from 2008.

If you're really fiending for more 'Ro after that then perhaps tryZ-Ro Vs. The World, King Of Da Ghetto, the Kings Of The South mixtape with Lil' Flip, and Cocaine.

After that his albums are patchy as fuck but there's still some gems here and there.

tray said...

That's the trouble with so much criticism, music, film, whatever; it's like, you may not like rappers who expressly disclaim Afrocentricity (Ren: "I'm not with the black shit so I'm not going to yell that") and are full of pseudo-transgressive shit, or directors who make movies about big bad Communists, but acknowledge, given what they're trying to do, the fucking greatness of Niggaz4life, Pickup on South Street, My Son John. Especially when the message that the stupid critic imputes to the piece of work in question isn't even really what's going on there but they're just too dense to see that because the movie "happily" ends with the offing of some Communist spy.

MF said...

Ren was the lyrical Lee Marvin. I remember reading a Scarface interview a few years back where he said that Ren set the benchmark for sheer cold hardness on that LP.

If you jiggle around with the Efil4zaggin tracklist to include some of the songs from 100 Miles And Runnin' it's genuinely unfuckwithable.

tray said...

Ren's just ridiculous on that album, that's got to be one of the best performances any rapper has ever turned in on a given album. There's not a line he says that isn't said so forcefully that you couldn't sample it into an amazing hook.

MF said...

THE SOUND OF THE 9 WENT BANG
AND ALL OVER THE WALL WAS HIS MOTHERFUCKIN' BRAIN
'CAUSE I'M A N*GGA YOU CAN'T SLEEP ON
SO SET THE ALARM 'CAUSE I HIT LIKE A MOTHERFUCKIN' BOMB

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