Dude was merkin' the blog game in the same way he killed the magazine game back when he contibuted to Fat Lace and HHC with his posts about why Eazy had a better solo post-N.W.A career than Dre (I digagree but his argument was convincing), the 15-minute socialising rule when out at bars/clubs in NYC (applicable anywhere, imo), and the like being some of the best blogging of 2009. But it's been over 9 months now since he last dropped a post so what happened? Did he get his wifey up the duff? Did he just bounce to Twitter? Or did he tire of Dante trying to pay him in unsold 10 Deep New Era caps and retire altogether? I cannae tell you since I'm not privvy to such insider information, so, instead, here's a tribute to a now possibly moribund blog via eight songs which are somehow related to J-Zone. Special shout outs go to other 'Zone favourites like MobStyle, Poison Clan, Kool G. Rap, The Convicts, Akinyele, Tweedy Bird Loc, Big L, Master P/TRU, R.A The Rugged Man, and Big Tymers - I love all youze guys too, but nine paragraphs is more than enough for today.
JT Money - Ho Problems
There might not be enough space to accomodate Poison Clan as a group here, but you really thought this was going to be a J-Zone post with no J.T Money whatsoever? C'mon now. I was already a fan of t' Clan from back in the day, but it was 'Zone's co-sign of JT's Pimpin' On Wax solo debut from 1999 in HHC which persuaded me it might be worth investigating and this was the album's Captain Save-A-Hoe with JT railing against guys losing their minds over the fairer sex. What you call love may have been invented by Don Draper to sell nylons, but the concept of men feeling a profound passion for women basically continues to exist today so rappers like JT Money, E-40 etc can use it as a tool which allows them to point out smitten dudes and go "lol fag!".
Slick Rick - Bond
Remember J-Zone's Fat Lace piece on Vance Wright where he prefaced the interview with a bold claim that The Ruler's Back is a better album than The Great Adventures Of.. and backed up his position by mentioning Bond being THE shit? Of course, he was bugging about The Ruler's Back (not a particularly good album, but, like Behind Bars you can snip that shit down to an excellent 5 song EP consisting of King, I Shouldn't Have Done It, Bond, Moses, and Mistakes Of A Woman In Love With Other Men), but Bond is classic Ricky, where his storytelling has never been more elaborate and Vance's production is what I imagine would've happened if The Bomb Squad had been asked to score a Hanna-Barbera cartoon.
Bustdown - Nasty Bitch
A New Orleans classic released on Luke's label, J-Zone's praise for this in Fat Lace and HHC did for this what that DJ Ivory Hear No Evil mix did for Years To Build by 360 Degrees and it's now an internet rap-nerd classic which Robbie Unkut has posted at least 54 times to date. It's a shame that the rest of Bustdown's LP remains so underrated because Putcha' Ballys On and Pissin' Razor Blades are both pretty great too.
Go Rilla Pimp AKA J-Zone & Dick Stallion - Pimp Olympics
Hidden as the bonus track on the IG'NANT mixtape, Pimp Olympics with Dick Stallion manages to distill J-Zone's taste in rap into just under three minutes better than anything else in his catalogue : it sounds like some old Rap-A-Lot shit by the Geto Boys or The Convicts (that King James by Roy Ayers sample is too sweet), it features the type of misogyny you'd expect to find on an Eazy E or Poison Clan record and it lasps into Big Tymers style absurdity with boasts about "backslapped so much my pimp hand done went platinum" and "fuck training wheels, my son got dubs/on a bmx hummer, n*gga, welcome to the club". The perfect accompaniment to the likes of I'm So Bad by UGK and Gorilla Pimp by Project Pat on IG'NANT
Lil' Slim - Neighborhood Terror
I dunno what J-Zone thinks about Lil' Slim, but he's oftern mentioned Mannie Fresh being one of the production GOATs so that's enough to warrant Neighborhood Terror a place as Slim's 1995 Thug'n & Pluggin' album is one of the Ca$h Money releases where Mannie started to expand beyond Bounce and develop his own sound. Slim was the most west coast influenced rapper from the pre-Hot Boy$ era and this is Mannie reimagining G-Funk through a New Orleans filter with Slim throwing in references to All Stars and Dickies in amongst chronicling why he's the scourge of his street who has his neighbours twitching through their net curtains. Speaking of Dickies, that new Dickies X The Hideout collaboration line got some real gems in the shirt department for those of us who want something a little more finely tailored nowadays.
Eazy-E & Ron-De-Vu - Fat Girl
Yeah, I know Sorry Louie is the Eazy song that's most synonymous with J-Zone and I'm a Still A N*gga guy myself as far as Eazy's solo work goes, but there's a method to my madness here since Fat Girl from the N.W.A And The Posse album, which find's Eazy resorting to desperate measures when being pursued by a neighbourhod wildebeest over Ron-De-Vu's raspy beatboxing, may have been the inspiration for this classic from 'Zone's Bo$$ Hog Barbarians album with Celph Titled :
Bo$$ Hog Barbarians - The Weight Debate
See, I told you that rap deals with the important male issues of the day that no other genre of music will tackle, which means that rap mutated from the black CNN to an audio version of FHM. Hell, we even get a contrast of diffrent racial thought processes here with Celph spending the duration of his verse salivating over what 'Zone spent his verse bemoaning. Big mama said knock one out.
Suga Free - Still Rather Give U My Bitch
In a post-Prince world, Suga Free is the only man on earth who can use the letter U in place of the word You and not come off like a text message from your bird/female bff/cousin. I was a fan of Free's verses on DJ Quik's Rhythm-Al-Ism but I didn't know dook had already released a solo album until one of 'Zone's Ig'nance pieces in Fat Lace praised I'd Rather Give You My Bitch as being one of the genre's foremost anthems. This sequel would be his Here, My Dear as it sees him railing about his former wife, and Sug' should basically just make an entire album of follow-ups to every song on Street Gospel because he spits that fire & brimstone like Ian Paisley with a perm on this and the awesome Why U Bullshittin' 2.