Tuesday, 7 July 2009
Great songs from forgotten rap albums part 8
Coz ft. Bun B - Rollin' Thru
Ah, the joys of Discogs.com, where a man can find hitherto unheard Bun B guest appearances on obscure 1996 west coast gang$ta-rap albums named after Roger Moore's last James Bond movie when casually browsing Bernard's section. Information about the album or Coz himself isn't exactly forthcoming (this album gets love in countries as far wide as Germany and Brazil judging by the mp3 blog links google brings up) but what i can tell you with a degree of certainty is that this N.O Joe produced track is some caliginous gank$ta shit which opens with a classic Bun verse and then continues with Coz holding his own for the duration of it. Vintage trillness by the way of the West.
Spoonie Gee - Spoonie Gee
Spoonie Gee - Hit Man
Although every male under the age of 40 on earth now knows The Godfather since it featured in GTA : San Andreas, and Spoonie's early tracks like Spoonin' Rap, Love Rap and New Rap Language are legendary, his long awaited debut album remains strangely underappreciated despite featuring the aforementioned GTA approved hit and having both both Marley Marl and Teddy Riley (*1) on board for production duties. The reason Spoonie fared better than a lot of his old school peers during the various mutations rap went through during the 80s and managed to drop classic shit from '79 to '89 is that his natural voice and effortless flow just sounded comfortable over anything (this is also why Slick Rick still gets work nowadays and always steals the show on any song he features on), whereas his peers were constantly tweaking their cadences to try and compete with LL and Rakim or sounding distinctly archaic compared to them by the turn of 1986. Didn't hurt him working with the best beatsmiths like Pumpkin, Davy Dmx and Marley Marl either, 'spose. Anyway, here we have Spoonie spreading love in his own direction with an eponymous ode to himself produced by Marley, which was the first tune to use the Ohio Players sample which later found fame on Mary & Puba's What's The 411? (*2); While Hit Man is a proto-New Jack Swing production by Teddy with Spoonie rapping about a ruthless killer for hire, who was, as Spoonie told Mike Allen, a real life former friend of his.
4-2 Tha Dome - One In The Chamber
4-2 Tha Dome - Blame It On Society
An EP rather than an LP, this short but sweet dose of mid 90s Alabama gang$ta-rap by the duo of G-Money and Mr Tre 8 is a compelling little release which chronicles life deep in the heart of Birmingham, Alabama over production which is an amalgamation of 60% Cali' G-Funk and 40% post-The Diary RAP-A-LOT style beats. These two tracks best demonstrate both sides of the 4-2 Tha Dome coin : ig'nant, male fantasty bullshit slicktalk on One In The Chamber and matter-of-fact introspective descriptions of getting by in a city which is ravaged by poverty, racism and corruption on the title track Blame It On Society, which is as close to what it'd sound like if Straight Up Menace by MC Eiht and I Seen A Man Die by Scarface had a bootiful baby boy.
Wise Intelligent - I'm Him
Wise Intelligent - A Genocide
Not only already forgotten, this one went by largely unnoticed by pretty much everyone, including me, other than the Fat Lace boys and Noz back in 2006. Here we find Wise retaining what made him so dope in the Poor Righteous Teachers days and making the rarest of beast currently found in the rap jungle : a modern conscious backpacker album by a veteran east coast rapper that's neither earnestly dull or hectoringly preachy. I'm Him is the self mythologising joint with Wise reminding us who he is; A Genocide, on the other hand, is Wise's take on Ice T's New Jack Hustler : a first person account of a shorty caught up in the streets and system, with added Contra conspiracies which manage to avoid the cliched sloganeering atypical of turds like Immortal Technique.
*1 - Check out Superix's recent Teddy Riley download-mix : Teddy Riley : King Of Swing which covers everything from Teddy's 80s tracks for rappers like Classical II, Spoonie Gee and Heavy D, to his classic New Jack Swing cuts for Guy, Bobby Brown, Keith Sweat and Redhead Kingpin, right up to his 90s hits for M.J, Wrex-N-Effect and, of course, Blackstreet. The best mix of the summer so far.
*2 - Mary J. Blige and Grand Puba doing What's the 411? on YO! is one of my favourite tv performances ever :
The leisurely pace of the rendition, 'Puba in the finest
Polo had to offer at the time (why does Polo never fit me like that?) and denim-shorts which somehow manage to look fly on him, a young Mary lookin' like a even foxier version of Hilary from The Fresh Prince in a triple denim outfit, Puba's adlibbing during Mary's verse, Stud Doogie as the hype man par excellance.. perfection. Even better than that In Living Colour performance of 360 (What Goes Around) which Meaning Of Dope put up, although Puba's outfit is superior in that one.