Saturday, August 15, 2009

Monday, August 10, 2009

Kam - "Peace Treaty"

This song comes from that brief moment in about 1992-92 where East Coast and West Coast hip hop sounded very very similar. Kam, in my opinion, was one of the better rappers from the Left Coast from this era, and his album, Neva Again, is outstanding.

This song is about the short-lived peace treaty between L.A. gangs around that time. There was a gang truce after the Rodney King/L.A. Riots. Even though it is anti-caucazoid, it is a very positive song, showing Kam's innocence and/or naivete. The video is in that standard black and white strobe style. And I have to mention that in the color scenes I see a lot of blue and not much red. Could it be that Kam couldn't actually get any Bloods to show up to Crip-town? I wouldn't blame them honestly.

Lookin at the aftermath of the riot
I can still smell the ashes
From all the clashes
But quiet is kept, it wasn't just the blacks
Everybody was lootin, and had each other's backs
We came through in understandin, demandin
Justice, bust this, we all had our hand in
The cookie jar, took it far enough to make a statement
Daryl Gates - that's where all the hate went
We pass by a swap meet
Been shoppin at for years, but it couldn't stop heat
See ya, wouldn't wanna be your next door neighbor
Less government relief checks, more labor
10 percent blood suckers of the poor took a loss
For exploitation, had to show em who was boss
Teach em not to be so greedy
Had to shut em down, bound by a peace treaty

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Gravediggaz - "Nowhere to Run, Nowhere to Hide"

This video isn't quite as scary as I remember it when I first saw it back in 1994, but it's pretty cool. And after I saw it I ran to Camelot records and bought the album.

The Gravediggaz were not the first, but probably the most successful, to be part of the short-lived "horrorcore" scene. The reason they were good is because they had a relatively light touch and put as much satire into the music as they did death-stuff. It was kind of a hip hop expansion team, with The RZA (from Wu-Tang Clan), Prince Paul and Frukwan (from Stetsasonic) and Too Poetic. An impressive lineup until Too Poetic died (seriously, he did).

Let's get it on ock, and watch the spot get blown
I be the sick lunatic with the devilish poem
From the mists of the darkness I come with this
Hittin straight, to the chest, like a Primatene mist
Ryzarector, YAH, the fanatical type
I'm like a bat, in the night, when it's time to take flight
Here I am, in the flesh, and yes I love sess
I'm obsessed, by the sounds, the track posess

Friday, August 07, 2009

Madvillain - "All Caps"

Okay, so I just started this thing and I'm already cheating.

Madvillain was a project that combined one of rap's best producers (Madlib) and one if it's best MC's (MF Doom), and although this album came out in 2003 (not anywhere near my "golden age" promise), it could have come out in 1993, except that it would have been so ahead of it's time that no one would have even given it a chance.

Plus it's one of the coolest videos I've ever seen. I love the comic book concept.

So nasty that it's probably somewhat of a travesty
Having me daily tellin' the people
You can call me Your Majesty
Keep your battery charged
You know it won't stick, yo
And it's not his fault you kick slow
Should've let your trick-ho chick hold your sick glow
Plus nobody couldn't do nothin' once he let the brick go
And you know I know that's a bunch of snow
The beat is so butter
Peep the slow cutter
As he utters the calm flow
Don't talk about my moms, yo
Sometimes he rhyme quick, sometimes he rhyme slow
And vice versa
Whip up a slice of nice verse pie
Hit it on the first try
Villain: The Worst Guy

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Lord Finesse - "Strictly For the Ladies"

Good sweet Allah how I love Lord Finesse. For the uninitiated, you may recognize his voice from "Check it out nowwww, the funk soul brotha." But Finesse is the man. Despite his incredibly formulaic rap style, his lyrics are awesome, with a combination of swagger and punchlines.

There are so many great elements to this video. First, the song is hot. It's basically not a love song at all, because he essentially just tells this girl he doesn't want anything to do with her after he very clearly boned her the night before. There is the great Big Daddy Kane "Now girls step up ta this" sample, which is so classic. There is the girl who says things like "Oh it's like that now" and "But last night you was kissin' and huggin' me!" but with a look on her face like she has just been given valium.

Oh, and the piece de resistance: an 18 year old Fat Joe swaying back and forth throughout the video.

Now I give a girl more than she’s asking for
I take them 18 and up, and that’s for sure
So when you’re done or you’re bored with your stupid zero
Contact me and I’ll save you like a super hero
Please your needs and get all close to you
And do you right like a man is supposed to do
Knock your boots until I begin to sprout
Give you something to brag to your friends about
After a date I’m the type to get pissed
When y’all girls want to front on a kiss
I let ’em know I’m not slow or work late
Y’all front the role (I don’t kiss on the first date)
Baby please, don’t give me that feedback
Straight up and down, you expect me to believe that?
I’ll take a kiss or a peck with a tight hug
I’m not the type to go out like a lightbulb
Or get crazy or go insane or get fed up
I’ll get smooth and f**k your whole head up

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

King Sun - "Be Black"

Okay, here's how I like 'em. Nice and obscure. Maybe King Sun was a little too African for his own good at times, but this song is hot in a very 1990 kind of way.

The point is that King Sun is sick of people who claim to have African pride but then only use it to be fashionable. But at the same time, his obsession with what people are wearing rivals Mr. Blackwell. And while I understand his need to "be black," is it really necessary to dress yourself in full sheik garb. There may have been a veiled reference to the A.F.R.O.S. as well, and if you remember them you know more about rap than you probably should.

Now everybody's wearin the red black and green
Here's the point: do you know what it means?
Red for the bloodshed, black for the people
Green for the land to be utilized equal
"Yo I'm from Africa" boy you're just a faker
Name one city "Uhh, Jamaica!"
WRONG... and I think that's a shame
An African look with an American name
You might fool others but you can't fool Sun
Wanna build with the brother, then I am the one
Play connect the dots, all the way to the motherland
What have you done for your nation my brotherman
You can't even do the right things for self
Then you got the nerve to criticize somebody else
If it wasn't for Chuck you wouldn't know of Farrakhan
I understand that the man is a paragon
Open up your eyes and ears and try to learn
Stop perpetratin with your false concern
Even some rappers, frontin in their videos
Nothing but Oreos, tryin to be memorial
I'm not impressed, by the way some stars
perpetrate to be original, you know who you are
I diss my people who choose to lack
Cause there's more to learn on how to be black

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Main Source - "Peace is Not the Word to Play"

What an odd subject for a song. Large Professor (rapper of Main Source, along with Canadian twin-brother DJ's K-Cut and Sir Scratch) apparently got sick of people using the word "peace" and then being ... well, unpeaceful.

Back in 1992 I didn't realize that this had become such a hypocrisy. Until one day, about three years ago, I was at the mall, sippin' on a milkshake, minding my business, taking a break. A crew of corny white boys tried to step to me. So of course I pulled out my glock and started spraying bullets everywhere. People started scattering, babies screaming, etc etc. Anyway, this one punk-ass cracker is lying in front of the Foot Locker wounded. So I squeezed one into his chest, and one in his head. (ALWAYS put one in the brain!) As I turned away, I said, "Peeeeace!" And then I paused. I felt like such a hypocrite. Large Pro was right all along.

PEACE! Piece of what?
You can't mean P.E.A.C.E.
Cause I've seen people on the streets
Shoot the next man and turn around and say peace
But that's leaving people in pieces
It's not what the meaning of peace is
To me it means the absence of all confusion
Not the oozing and brusing
That we're all so accumstomed to
Your friend got beef? I'll bust him too
What a brother from a certain way of life explained to me once, dunce
He didn't realize the fact that
He and myself were brothers on the same rope
Now last month he got hemmed up, huh, that's all she wrote

Monday, August 03, 2009

The Pharcyde - "Ya Mama"

I think this song is freakin' hilarious. You can keep your Biz Markie or your Fresh Prince or your Coolioolio. I think The Pharcyde was one of the most fun groups of the decade, and their debut album Bizarre Ride II tha Pharcyde is one of my favorite albums of 1993.

This song exemplifies everything that was great about the Pharcyde. Funky, whimsical production and clever lyrics. "Ya Mama" is basically an entire song full of jokes about your moms. And unlike that crappy "Yo Momma" show on MTV, most of the jokes are actually funny. Although can someone tell me why Fatlip is listed as "Derrick" in the video? Why were so many rappers named Derrick and then changed it? (Yeah, I'm talking to you Sadat X!)

Seriously, how this song never became a hit is a mystery to me. It really should be one of those songs that when it comes on at a club the whole place goes crazy and raps along with all the words. But noooo .... people would rather hear Sean Paul. Wow I sound bitter. Just enjoy.

Ya mama look like she's been in the dryer with some rocks
With the big bust nose sucking dirt out of socks
Held up the ice cream truck with a slingshot
She grabbed a bag of Cheese Corn and a soda pop
Ya mama root'n'toot and stole my loot and my zoot suit
She may have the muscles, but no, she's not cute
She's not pretty, oh what a pity, got the glass titty
Filled up with Kool-aid, just for the kiddies
On a cliff butt naked, tootin' on a flute
Ridin on a horse drinkin whisky out a boot
She's got the teeth and the wings of an African bat
Her middle name is Mudbone and on top of all that

Ya mama got the wooden legs with real feet
(Ya mama got the wooden legs with real feet)
Ya mama got the wooden legs with real feet
Ya mama, ya mama, ya mama...

Smoothe da Hustler - "Broken Language"

I first heard this song in 1995 on college radio and was blown away by it. The beat sounds like something Mobb Deep would create, and the lyrics (after Trigga the Gambler's tepid first verse) are amazing, describing a sort of superhero or uber-badass. For months we had no idea who performed the song or what it was called, so we just called it "The Who?" since nearly every line in the song is "The _________."

Footnote: this is one of the most overhyped, underperforming, disappointing albums of 1996 or almost any year. People really thought that Smoothe da Hustler was going to become the next elite gangster rapper, but this album was so mediocre that there was just no way to look past it. Classic case of setting the bar way too high.

...The money stasher, gun blastin razor slasher
The human asthma breath taker
Body dump waster
The glock cocker, block locker the rock chopper,
The shot popper, the jock cock glocker
The face splitter, human disgrace getter
The lady sh**ter, phone joneser
sneak over f**k your babysitter
The chronic smokin, gun totin hearse initiator
The crack supplier, the human drug generator
The honey gamer, the chicken tricker
The slick the long d**k p***y sticker
The ready to bust that 4ss kicker
The track manoeuvre, the box barrier
The off of the dome rapper
The c-74 ox carrier....

Sunday, August 02, 2009

K-Solo - "Fugitive"

I don't know whether or not K-Solo was really a fugitive in Suffolk County or not, but he paints a pretty vivid picture of why he's on the run from the cops. (Apparently hitting someone in the face with a brick will get you in trouble with the law. Pffffft!) He also does a lot of laughing in cops faces, which I know for a fact they do not care for.

If it is true, he's a lot better about it than I would be. I don't think the person who got the brick to the face died, because if he did, I think K-Solo would have gotten more than just 16 months.

I don't know what beef DMX always had with K-Solo, but he better watch it or he might get a brick to the face!

Two years went by, me running from the cops
My mom looked at my dad, my dad said "Son, this has gotta stop"
Dad gave me money, he said, "Son, this is for ya"
I went to Garden City to go get me a lawyer
I went to jail, Monday I was in jail through Friday
When you're black and you're in trouble man does your lawyer get paid
Then my moms told the judge "My son's a good child"
Then he laughed at my mother and said "Then take us to trial"
I told my mom and dad I felt within
If we took Suffolk County to court or trial, I know I wouldn't win
So without a doubt, like any black kid in Suffolk county
K-S-O-L-O had to cop out
To sixteen months in Riverhead
Instead of fighting and wilding, I wrote my records instead
Comisarry was ???, inmates owed me
CO's would beat me up on shakedowns, but now those suckers know me
And I laugh at those cops who arrest me for what I did
Cause I'm hooked and no longer am I a fugitive

Zhigge - "Toss It Up"

Zhigge to me was the epitome of that brief moment in hip hop, around 1992, when songs could be both banging and fun. (See House of Pain's "Jump Around," YBT's "Tap the Bottle," Onyx's "Slam".) This song has got everything, a great, ebullient chorus, nice lyrics and a sweet horn riff.

It's one of those songs that just takes me right back to those days when I was like 16 years old, playing basketball after school with Mike C., staying up till 2AM when the local college hip hop radio show would end. Sleeping through sophomore year of high school. And much of junior year. You know...either way, it was a great party jam. And there are dancers in the video! Maybe the last video in history to have authentic hip hop dancing.

Tossin' it up, once again, it's the man
That gets more boots than Tim's got on Berland (hey!)
Through my course I've crossed some tough times
So I write rhymes that's designed to get mine
With a quickness, DJ the thickness
If you're sweet, we'll have you tossin' in your sleep.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Souls of Mischief - "'93 Til Infinity"

I don't know if it's the song itself or the very laid-back video with the outdoor settings, but this video is one that really sticks in my head as a favorite. It's not all that impressive or innovative but it was such a refreshing change from a lot of the in-your-face, in the ghetto imagery of the time.

Souls of Mischief should have been a great hip hop crew. With four very distinct voices and lyrical styles, Opio, Phesto, A-Plus and Tajai should have revolutionized rap music. Instead, they put out one incredibly good album, which is (of course), '93 Til Infinity.

What is great about this song is not only that they never say the word "infinity" in the chorus, but rather just "This is how we chill from '93 til ..." but that they eschew all the hard-posing that was so popular and showed themselves simply "chilling." At the beach, in the forest, in someone's rec room.

At the time, I would say Heiro was the premier West Coast hip hop crew, but I might be biased because they sounded like an East Coast hip hop crew (more attention to lyrics, jazz beats instead of funk beats, etc.). This track remains one of my favorites.

Yo, crews are jealous cause we get props
The cops
Wanna stop
Our fun, but the top
Is where we're dwelling, swelling, phat
No sleep
I work fifteen jerks get their hoes sweeped
Under their noses
This bro's quick
To hit blunts and flip once I'm chillin cause my crew's close, kid
I boasted
Most kids accept this as cool
I exit
Cause I'm an exception to the rule
I'm steppin
To the cool spots where crew's flock to stare at them
Or see where the shit that's flam b
Bland leaking out his pocket
So, I got tons of endo
And go to the ho in's
My ace spinned
Phat and enough tracks
Time to get prolific with the whiz kid