Wednesday, October 11, 2006

My Sister Site ... Or Should I Say "Sista" Site?

For all my readers (both of you) please check out my companion site, created by my longtime companion and dear dear friend Mike "Don" Jerome Cialini. He calls the site Number One Chief Rocka, and it is an excellent hip hop lyrics blog.

Mike tackles A Tribe Called Quest (one good verse, one bad), The GZA, Tim Dog, Gang Starr, Big L, Nas and more. Check it out and drop a comment.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Bo$$ - "Recipe of a Hoe"

Bo$$ used to scare the shit outta me. Bo$$ was an unlikely name for a female rapper, but she had the goods. She had a hard voice, decent lyrics and really good beats. (This video has a little hiss, but you can get the idea of it. Also, I'm printing the dirty version of the lyrics, which are so much dirtier than the video version.)

Bo$$ knew how to get the funk out of the West Coast sound at the time, right before it all turned into phony g-funk garbage. The video is little more than Bo$$ running around in a Carhart jacket, skullcap and black Loc's in the ghetto with a sepia-toned spotlight on her. But the song is nice. I love the "ya, ya gotta, ya-ya ya gotta, ya gotta let a hoe be a hoe!" chorus and the smooth bassline. They don't make 'em like this anymore.

[Note: the embedding was removed on this video, but you can find it by clicking HERE.]

If yous a tramp 4ss n***a or no good n***a you get dissed quick!
But ain't no tellin ya know my personalities split
I could just gank you for
Your s**t without a warning
Or f**k it!
Shoot you now and get all this
S**t over with by the morning!
F**k yeah!
I'm feelin' on full too
Another reason ya hoe cards pulled fool
I'm down with all this s**t you poppin'
Hell f**k Naw!
I don't wanna put a stoppin' to your hoe hoppin'
Cuz when ya' runnin the motha f**kin streets
In between the sheets every
Week screwin freak after freak
BO$$ is straight kickin' in the do' at ya crib
With enough time to kill a 40 O.Z. thats how I live!
Jackin' for cash and jewelry and all that s**t
Then off to the pawn shop to get another fat 4ss grip
And that's exactly how it is g!
On the real tip..tip...tip..
I know the f**kin' recipe!

Young Black Teenagers - "Tap the Bottle"

Oh boy. If these dudes didn't try so hard to act black, this song would have been easily as big a hit as "Jump Around."

Their name, after all, is Young Black Teenagers, and they are all very clearly caucasian. We all wanted to be black back then, babies. We just didn't call ourselves that. It is very uncomfortable to watch white guys with dreadlocks speak in urban dictions. However they do throw a black guy in for about two lines about 3.5 minutes in to show their cred.

This song could also be seen as a bit of a rip-off of "Jump Around" in several ways. Let's count them.

1) The intro where they are saying "Camron is in the house and uh..." etc is a direct rip off of the "The House of Pain is in effect ya'll..." intro of "Jump Around." Look it up.

2) It has lots of white people jumping around in a semi-rhythmic motion.

3) It has the same kind of screeching, squealing sound effect as House of Pain used with the Prince sample from "Gett Off." (Look THAT up too!)

Having said all that... it is a really kick-ass song, and really encapsulates the high-energy type of thing that was coming out in 1992. And it's not nearly as overplayed as "Jump Around" to be relegated to musical wallpaper when it comes on. I still get a genuine thrill out of hearing it.

Okay here I go Shorty tap the forty O smash
To a pass, if ya crash make a dash to the trash
Tap a cap, have alot and not alot not a little
Don't grade upon the label take a guzzle, don't dribble
I got the supercalafragileisticexpialadoucious
You're commin to close to this, I get ferocious
Coax this rhyme, smoke this rhyme hype
When we rock it up on the mic, we rock the mic right
Pass the funnel to the tunnel like it's busy till I'm dizzy
Never pass it to get fizzy cause the guard gets busy
Who is he?
Damn just pass the code decipher
When I hit the dress bottom buy a can of Red Stripe

D-Nice - "Call Me D-Nice"

Many years before Stuart Scott began calling every athlete who's name began with the letter "D" D-Nice, there was this guy, the real D-Nice. He was also known as the Human TR-808, which I can't figure out, because I don't remember him doing a beatbox even once. Of course, KRS-ONE continued calling himself "DJ KRS" for the longest time and I don't think I ever heard him cut up one record.

Anyway, D-Nice was one of the earlier members of Boogie Down Productions, and by most accounts, he got DJ Scott La Rock killed (despite what others may think). D-Nice was a relatively good lyricist, though he fell into that kind of tried-and-true BDP mold: always trying to be conscious, always having KRS-ONE's back, etc.

One of my favorite memories of this album goes like this: I'm listening to this album with my boy Mike Cialini, and there is a song called "The TR-808 is Coming" and as was KRS's custom, he would always tell you what year that song in question was fresh for. The album came out in 1990, so KRS says the song is "fresh for 1990, and also fresh for nineteen ninety one and two." Flash forward a couple years to 1993; Cialini and I are inexplicably listening to this album and that song comes on. He says "fresh for nineteen ninety one and two" and I say to Mike, "Man, he's right this song sucks now. I remember thinking it was good last year."

I guess you had to be there.

I start to think, a very big conscious all around me
Who will be the sucker MC to try to doubt me
Is it you, or you, or you, or you, or him
But I'm like a tree and every lyric is a limb
You throw it on the turntable, very unstable
But you gamble because you need that example
There's a 1000 MC's on the planet earth now
What is the word you say to get hers
Some like to explain, some talk educated
Some like McBoo, he's X-rated
I like to think of myself as a pure rebel
A radical thinker on a musical level
'Cause suckers wanna stop me and girls wanna kiss
Wherever I go, yo, it seems I can't be dis
'Cause my name is D-Nice but all the girls call me Derek
It ran through my crew so I guess I've inherit
The job of explaining and also retaining
The fact D-Nice is remaining
Not a king nor a prince but as a teacher
Wit dopies like this, I know I'm gonna reach ya
So now I don't think you should all despise
This fact D-Nice is on a rise
Straight to the top like a bubble of water
It's a slaughter so I think you oughta
Think realistically, not egotistically
It's suicide if you even think of dissing me
'Cause if you try, I'm a make you wait
To learn the reason I'm the 808, but just call me D-Nice

Friday, October 06, 2006

Wu-Tang Forever: Director's Cut

Okay, so I am attaching this video for "Triumph" by the Wu-Tang Clan here as an excuse for the rest of this blog. It's strictly an excuse. I will make no comment of the overblown dramatics of the silly "Killer Beez" story line or the cheapo Brett Ratner direction and graphics. That's not why I'm here.

First, a little background.

Many of us remember the summer of 1997. I think it was July. Third Eye Blind was teaching us all how to smile again. Men in Black was taking the nation by storm. I was between my junior and senior years in college, painting dorms and just kicking ass in general.

The most anticipated albums of that summer in William H. Shannon's world were Wu-Tang Forever by the Wu-Tang Clan and For the People by the Boot Camp Clik. I would have to say that both were disappointments. I only listened to For the People once straight through because I thought it was that much of a piece of crap. The Wu album was also not very good, but with an asterisk.

*The album would have been good if they could have cut it in half.

I know I sound like a bit of a hypocrite here, because I was just bitching about how Nas's first album was too short, and now here I am blaming the Wu for packing two full discs worth of music. But let's face it, the album is mediocre because it has too much music on it. The album is so jam-packed with dead weight that I could barely listen to it without wearing out the "next track" button on my CD player.

So I did something that may have never been done in the history of modern home recording: I made my own version of Wu-Tang Forever. I did this by burning my own single-disc copy of the album, and eliminating all the bad songs on it.

For example, you will find no record of the very first track, "Wu-Revolution," on the director's cut of Wu-Tang Forever. Nor will you find awful songs like "Black Shampoo" or "For Heaven's Sake."

In fact, here is the track list:

  1. Reunited
  2. Cash Still Rules/Scary Hours (Still Don't Nothin Move But the Money)
  3. Visionz
  4. As High As Wu-Tang Get
  5. Severe Punishment
  6. Older Gods
  7. Maria
  8. A Better Tomorrow
  9. It's Yourz
  10. The City
  11. The Projects
  12. Bells of War
  13. Duck Seazon
  14. Triumph
  15. Deadly Melody
  16. Hellz Wind Staff
  17. Heaterz

Notice, from the first disc, I have removed "Wu-Revolution" and "For Heaven's Sake," only two tracks, finally confirming for the world that the first disc of this album was far superior. From the second disc, the cutting was much more ruthless. I removed "Intro," "Impossible," "Little Ghetto Boys," "The MGM," "Dog Sh*t," "Black Shampoo," "Second Coming" and "The Closing." What a crappy second disc.

I still claim that if the Wu had simply gone with this track listing on a single disc rather than the one they came up with, Wu-Tang Forever would be considered an outstanding album. Certainly not as good as their first, but close. It's a solid album all around, just with too much filler. The album never gathers any momentum because of some seriously mediocre songs.

If the Wu or any other rap group would like a little A&R help, go ahead and give me a holler. I mean after all, Wu-Tang, who's your A&R? A mountain climber who plays an electric guitar? But he don't know the meaning of "dope" when he's looking for a suit-and-tie rap that's cleaner than a bar of soap.

[By the way, fellas. I am really enjoying the comments on this blog lately. Keep them coming. It will definitely inspire me to post more often.]

Luke - "Cowards in Compton" (feat. Clayvosie and JT Money)

You asked for it, you got it.

Okay, so it's not that great a song, and Luke doesn't perform anything that could be considered a "rap" on it. (He's more like the narrator.) But for sheer chutzpah, this song had it back in the day. Back when few people were ready to mess with Death Row Records. But when the feud between Dr. Dre and Luke (aka Luther Campbell, formerly Luke Skywalker of 2 Live Crew) came out on Dre's 1992 album The Chronic, Luke had to respond.

Essentially, Luke uses this song to call out Dre and Snoop for being gangsters, when in actuality, Dre had been part of the electro-soul group World Class Wreckin' Cru, where he would routinely wear makeup and shiny outfits.

The video does a pretty good job making fun of Dre's two signature videos of this time period -- "Dre Day" and "Nuthin' But a G Thang."

The lyrics are actually pretty good, but the beat is typical Miami gangster stuff.

It's about time for me to tear the roof off the mother
I grab the gat to make you punks run for cover
You can fool a groupie, but you can't fool a gangsta
1985, you used to be a prankster
Down with Lonzo and the Wreckin' Cru
Turnin' off the lights and dressin' like women too
Everybody on Death Row must be a joke
I put a level to the chair and watch you punks smoke
Real gangstas don't follow punks down here
I guess your boy Snoopie Dogg must be a queer
So who the hell you gonna blast here in Miami?
Step to me and I'll kill your whol' family
And I do mean hoe', you think I'm playin', son?
I got my glock to your head, now where you gonna run?
Before you diss my homie Luke, you better think twice
I'll pull a trigger, punk, and turn off your life

Nasty Nas - "Halftime"

Some of you who were listening to rap music in 1994 remember when the Source gave a five mic review to Nas's Illmatic album. And this was back when "Five Mics" actually meant something at the Source. Unlike now...(Li'l Kim's "The Naked Truth"???? Are you kidding me???)

Anyway, Illmatic actually is a great album, even though it's only 10 tracks long and the first track is an intro. But one of the tracks on the album is from 1992, when Nasir Jones was known as "Nasty Nas." He had previously dropped a couple verses on posse cuts like Main Source's "Live at the BBQ" and MC Serch's "Back to the Grill." But this song is the one that got my attention.

It has a hot bassline, that awesome horn riff and that unusual wailing voice. The video isn't much, but the lyrics are great; tight but versatile. I love the flow on this song. The multi-syllabic rhyme scheme was still in its early stages and this song showcases it beautifully, damn-near making every word rhyme in multiple sentences. I was a little disappointed when I heard he was changing his name to just "Nas," especially since so many people out of the loop pronounced it "Nass." Of course those same people would have said "Nasty Nass" anyway so what do I care. This song was the first glimpse of what Nas would have to offer as a solo artist, and not just a mic-for-hire.

I got it going on, even flip 'em on this song
Every afternoon, I kick half the tune
And in the darkness, I'm heartless like when the narcs hit
Word to Marcus Garvey or heartless Sparkton
Cuz when I blast the herb, that's my word
I be slaying them fast, doing this, that and third
But chill, past the entree and let's lay
I bag bitches up at John Jay and hit a mantinee
Putting hits on 5-0
Cuz when it's my time to go, I wait for God wit the fo-fo
And biters can't come near
And yo, go to hell to the foul cop who shot Garcia
I won't plant seeds, don't need an extra mouth I can't feed
That's extra Phillie change, more cash for that weed
This goes out to Manhatten, the island of Staten
Brooklyn, Queens is living fat and
The Boogie Down, nuff props, enough clout
Ill Will, rest in peace, yo, I'm out