Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sat N Smooth - The Awakening

Sat N Smooth is a group that represents from the northside of Houston, TX. The group consists of Brad-D and D-Bone. The two were discovered by Doug King of NewStyle Records and were quickly signed to the label. After impressing the executive producer Mark Lerch, the group was given a green light for a full length record. The Awakening is their debut album and it was released in 1993 on NewStyle Records and Flashpoint International, while it was distributed through Priority Records. The production is done by the impeccable DJ Storm also known as "Tha Funky Aztec." One might remember DJ Storm for remixing the track "Eyez Open" by Bam of the legendary Killa Klan. The beats are a classic example of southern funk. They are laced with heavy drums, scintillating horns, deep bass lines and not to mention some very fine keyboarding. All of this is blended beautifully and presented through the signature style of Tha Funky Aztec. The lyrics is where this record really excels. Both Brad-D and D-Bone are more than capable on the microphone. Their rhymes are filled with brilliant word play and are the cornerstone for this project. Their chemistry together is unmatched and they seem to feed off of each other very easily. Guest features are made by C-Major of the Gang Society, The Mad Man, Lonnie.B.Rankin and Alisha who basically provides the backup vocals. Even though the group had quite a few singles, the tracks pretty much failed to crack any kind of meaningful rotation. Some said it was their harsh subject matter that was directed towards society while others believed that the group was ahead of its time. Whatever the reason maybe, it is quite plain to see that this gem of an album deserves a spot in any collection.

Deadly Verses
Mamma Never Told Me ft. Alisha

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Pimpsta - Texas Wada

Pimpsta is a rapper and producer who represents from the southside of Dallas, TX. He has been in the music industry since the early nineties and even established his own label called Skrilla Records. After the success of his debut record, "Dickies & House-Shoes" which spawned the local hit song by the same name, Pimpsta returned with the follow up Texas Wada in 1996 on Rrush Records. The production in its entirety is done by Luther Mitchell who provides all the southern fried tracks. The melodies easily carry that Texas funk and are quite groovy to say the least. Pimpsta is known in the deep south for his laid back persona as well as his signature funky style of delivery. The rhymes are straight forward but are filled with charm and energy. His style is pretty unique and its tailor made to fit perfectly for the beats provided. Although he's not a serious lyrical threat, he does manage to keep the listener entertained with catchy hooks and choice word play. Backup vocals are courtesy of Peaches, Kim Mitchell, Ro70, Jennifer White and Jenny Williams. Pimpsta is one of those artists that never get the recognition or attention they deserve. Throughout his long career, he cranked out local hits on just about every album he put out but somehow always went under the radar outside of Texas. For Pimpsta, the Dallas and Fort Worth area has been nothing short of rewarding and for those that were lucky enough to witness his form of artistry will have no problem vouching for him.

Deadly Verses
Where The Ballas At

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Poetic Vandals - Tha Quickest Tongues Down South

Poetic Vandals is a group that hails from the malicious streets of San Antonio, TX. The group is known to be well over sixteen members deep since some members of The Underground Committee are also affiliated. The Vandals consists of J-Roc, Hollow Point, Nightmare, Teflon, Qwik, R-1, Twink, BDG, Lil' J, Drops, Huggz, Apollo, SK and the female emcee known as Lil Tiff. Tha Quickest Tongues Down South is their debut album and it was released in 2002 on Payway Records. Production is mainly provided by BDG while Apollo chips in on a couple of tracks. The beats are all derived electronically and the use of any real instrumentation is slim to none. This could be the very reason why the beats sound a little bland and only a few tracks really standout. Lyrically the album is far more superior and certainly lives up to the title. The clear focus of all the members is to deliver sharp rhymes at a blitzing rate. Their styles are unique and their word play is quite commendable. They certainly waste no time and start demolishing the tracks laid out in front of them. Also the backup vocals are on point and are provided by Lil Tiff. All in all its a valiant effort by the Alamo City natives and had it not been for the sub-par production, this record would have easily raised the eyebrows of major label executives. As a group they went on to release one more album in the year 2004. Although there are rumors floating around for a Vandals reunion in the very near future. Also, rest in peace to Lil' J better known as the The SwiftONE.

Deadly Verses
San Antone

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Fire On The Bayou - Respect My Mind

Fire On The Bayou is a record label that was based on the infamous Valence street in New Orleans, LA. The label was started by brothers Derick and Kendrick Dauphin along with their childhood friends Cy Williams and Vernon "Cazel" Barabino. Respect My Mind is a compilation album that was released in 1998 by the same label. The production is split right down the middle between the masterful David "D-Funk" Faulk and Vernon "Cazel" Barabino. The beats carry that harsh yet classic "Nola" sound. The melodies and rhythms are all strictly southern and are provided humbly with variety. Since this is a compilation, a bunch of rappers were also invited for this rhyme festival. With an impressive lineup of Mystikal, Crazy and Legend Man of Murder Inc., Skull Duggery, Rated X, Big Ramp, Calico, Neferius Mike, Illusion, G-Man, Sharp Shooter, Ken Real, V.L. Trell, The Swamp Click and backup vocals being provided by George Clinton and Peaches, it is truly very hard to disappoint. Lyrics are quite commendable and although there are over fifteen tracks, they are still pretty diverse. Different combinations are provided for the listener to keep things fresh and new. Unfortunately Fire On The Bayou Records was a fly by night label that faded away as quickly as it began. Respect My Mind was plagued with distribution problems as well as financial issues for those who participated. In the end, the album became out of print and with the royalties quickly disappearing, the team of rappers and producers listed above were left with a very foul and sour taste.

Deadly Verses
Feel This ft. Big Ramp, Ken Real & Sharp Shooter

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Da Buddha Klan

Da Buddha Klan is a group who represents from the hard hitting streets of Dallas, TX and it is led by Big Al of the Nemesis fame. Now Nemesis was more bass oriented and since that era faded away by the mid nineties, Al quickly decided it was time to move on, although he would later return for a reunion album in 2000. After a couple of minor production stints, he formed the Da Buddha Klan in the year 1995. He recruited rappers from different neighborhoods across Dallas and ended up with the members, Uptight, 211, IKS and Mayday the female emcee. After assembling a wide array of musicians and composers, Da Buddha Klan debuted on the infamous Profile Records in 1996. The production is top quality and is provided through various producers. The crew is led by Christopher Smith and Mabuta Ellison while assisted by Floyd Bonner (Guitar), Tim Grugle (Drums), Zach Johnson (Bass) and Roger Webb (Keyboards). The beats contain intricate rhythm patterns and are blended ever so exquisitely. The musicians did an excellent job with each of their respective instrument and the producers gave them a green light when it came to creativity. Lyrically the album is also superb. Da Klan doesn't waste any time getting started on the microphone and each member contributes evenly. Their rhymes are delivered very precisely and rapidly as well. The core content is straight out of gangster territory and can be considered equally rough. All the members are commendable lyricists and the two standouts being Uptight and Big Al. Guest appearances are made by War Loc and Lisa Schmitz who provides the background vocals. Overall this record is full of great content and it shines from all angles. What started out as a side project ended up easily exceeding expectations. Although Big Al passed away in 2000 and he garnered a great deal of success through his membership in the group Nemesis, this release can easily be placed with the best highlights of his career. Rest in peace to Albert "Big Al" English, one of the best to ever represent for Dallas, Texas.

Deadly Verses
Breaking Fools Down

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Scorpio - Deadly As The Venom Part 1

Scorpio is a rapper and producer who represents from Biloxi, MS. Hailing from the infamous "Buck City," he is certainly no stranger to hard times. This can easily be sensed through his jagged verses as well as the mood that is set for the album. To simply test the waters, Scorpio originally just pressed a hundred copies of Part 1 but after receiving a nice reception from the surrounding cities, he ended up releasing a re-issue in the year 2000. Deadly As The Venom is his debut album and it was released in 1999 on Too Real Records. The production on the project is handled by Keith Falgout, SMP and Scorpio himself. The beats utilize a good range of instruments and easily carry a crisp southern sound. Although the tracks are all derived originally, mainly to avoid sampling issues and publishing problems, there are times when they tend to become overly simple and basic. Lyrically the album is quite good and is definitely a step above any local release. Scorpio scorches the microphone with his hard rhymes and certainly portrays them in a unique fashion. His pace is fairly quick for the most part and the back up vocals are also all on point. Guest appearances are made by AK, Lady, Big Face, SMP, Gangsta Red and Unforgiven. All in all its a brilliant effort by the Mississippi native but also one that fell through the cracks. Its a shame though because the quality of the content is really superb. It is unknown if Part 2 was ever released or any other album for that matter by Scorpio.

Deadly Verses
Label Me A Kingpin

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Fiend - Won't Be Denied

Fiend is a rapper and producer who represents out of the 17th Ward in New Orleans, LA. He is well known for his raspy tone and rough delivery. After losing his brother to the streets at a very early age, Fiend resorted to rap and poetry to help ease the pain. Eventually his talents came across the keen eye of Charles Temple and he was quickly signed to the then newly founded, Big Boy Records. Won't Be Denied is his debut album and it was released in 1995 on the same label. The production is done by the magnificent Leroy "Precise" Edwards and he entices the listener with a good selection of funky rhythms. The tracks are laced together with multiple instruments and although this is one of Precise's early pieces, it still happens to carry his signature style of melody. Fiend is known throughout the southern region as an accomplished lyricist and at one point of time was regarded as one of the best kept secrets of the Dirty South. His rhymes are delivered with high intensity and are filled with dynamic word play. His hefty southern drawl and his distinct harsh voice is the powerful root for all the ballads. They are delivered with utter precision and are also fired at a rapid rate. Fiend's days with Big Boy Records were short lived though and he would later be enlisted as a valuable soldier in the ever growing empire known as, No Limit. Not only did this move help propel his career but also gave him a worldwide following. Although he went on to bigger and better avenues such as his stint with the Ruff Ryders or his current membership in the group called Jet Life, this eager and sincerely humble beginning will never be forgotten due to the legacy it left behind.

Deadly Verses
I Won't Be Denied

Friday, October 10, 2014

Young Smitty - Takin Over

Young Smitty is a rapper from Houston, TX. Most known for his collaboration with the Underground Kingz on the song "Tossed Up" from the Major Players Compilation by Mean Green. He was 16 years old when he first met UGK in 1997 at a show in Lake Charles, LA. To this day he still considers Bun B and Pimp C (R.I.P.) as his role models and mentors. Smitty was also among the first group of artists that were brought to the Trill Entertainment label by Pimp C. Takin Over is his debut album and it was finally released in 2001 on Imperial Entertainment after numerous attempts and mishaps. It is magnificently produced by Steve Below and Dale "Rambro" Ramsey while DJ Dolby D provides his signature style of mixing and scratching. The beats can simply be summed up as a collective of southern funk straight from Texas. The producers intent was to achieve a laid back sound that is accomplished through multiple instruments and displayed very generously. Lyrically the album is a little on the lack luster side. Although Smitty possesses a commendable rhyme pattern and is really proficient on the microphone, he does tend to get somewhat repetitive. The album can be split into two halves due to lack of intensity and quality of content. The release might have its fair share of highs and lows but it still should not discourage the listener. Guest appearances are made by UGK, PSK-13, A-Dam-Shame and 3re Da Hardaway. All in all it is a solid attempt by Smitty Da Pimp and one that somehow went unnoticed. It could have been the incarceration that he faced up until 2009 or the early falling out between him and the Trill Ent. label that marred the album from achieving any kind of prominent success.

Deadly Verses
What Up My Boy ft. UGK, PSK-13 and 3re Da Hardaway

Friday, October 3, 2014

Sons Of Egypt - The Phenomenal

Sons Of Egypt is a group from Houston, TX. It consists of two brothers whom are under the aliases as M.C. Crown and DJ King Kut. The two siblings are of Egyptian descent and they give numerous references to their country of origin throughout their songs. The Phenomenal is their debut album and it was released in 1998 on Bluenile Records. Production is solely handled by DJ King Kut who basically provides all the excellent beats. They are fused with some dope samples and contain a ton of mixing and scratching. The sound and melody is so unique and invigorating that it seems somewhat difficult to categorize. The project really comes to life when the beats are paired with the lyrics. Although the rhymes are not all that awe-inspiring, they are very distinct and are meshed beautifully with the beats. M.C. Crown takes care of most of the rapping while King Kut chips in on some tracks. Additional Vocals are presented by Mona Zaki, Ray Waldon, Kareem Gamal and Haitham Salem. Overall this record is a work of art that oozes style and its unorthodox nature is displayed quite efficiently. Instead of recording material with a mundane mindset and trying the same old tired methods, this group sets out towards a different horizon. They prove that this achievement can be attainable without having to sellout to record companies or major labels. In the end, the album remains as a hidden gem, waiting to be discovered from the underground cavern. 

Deadly Verses
Mediterranea

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Lil' E - Who's Rulin'

Lil' E is a rapper from New Orleans, LA and he represents for the sub-genre known as Bounce. He also has a strong affiliation with the legendary group known as the Bally Boyz. Who's Rulin' is his debut album and it was released in 1995 on Slaughterhouse Records. Production is assigned to the magnificent J'Ro'J who is assisted by Treney Magee while the album is congenially mixed by Matt Buras. The beats are laced with a good amount of samples but that is common practice on any bounce release. They are all derived electronically and seem to fit the artist exceptionally well. Some carry a darker sound while others seem to be more hype. Lyrically the album can be simplified as typical bounce. A good dose of call & response is present along with some project rapping. His rate of speed is pretty quick for the most part and his style is definitely unique. Features are made by Nina and J'Ro'J. Also the record does manage to withstand the test of time due to the positive replay value it carries. Since bounce music started in New Orleans in the late eighties and really climaxed throughout the nineties, this release happens to be in its very prime. Not only did it help showcase a broad spectrum of this amazingly different style of rap but it also kept this local form of music both hungry and alive.

Deadly Verses
Who's Rulin'

Saturday, September 20, 2014

ANM - Let The Message Rize

ANM which stands for Anti Nigga Machine is a group from the infamous streets of South Park in Houston, TX. The group's moniker pays homage to the Public Enemy song by the same title. ANM consists of Roderick "Alquarr" Banks and Micheal "Jameen" Dixon. The duo was discovered in the late eighties by Lil' Troy, who is also the founder of Short Stop Records. Let The Message Rize is their debut album and it was released in 1991 on JR Records. The production crew is led by Lil' Troy along with the help of Bruce "Grim Reaper" Rhodes, and Def Jam Blaster of NoDoz. Together they provide a decent dose of rhythmic melodies. Some are derived naturally while others are driven with help of samples. The two most notable being Stevie Wonder's "Superstition" and Led Zeppelin's "When The Levee Breaks." Also the scratching and mixing by Def Jam Blaster is done with utter precision and perfection. Lyrically the album is very well rounded. Both Alquarr and Jameen are quite capable on the microphone although Alquarr seems to be two steps ahead of his counterpart. Their rhymes are presented as dope stories depicted from their everyday street life. This artistry is displayed over eleven quality tracks and it is equally entertaining. This is one of those releases where although the group accomplished what they set out to do, they did not gain any recognition for it. They eventually lost their sense of direction and did not provide a follow up release. All in all the record is still kept in high regards and cherished by many due to its originality and obscurity.

Deadly Verses
Junky That's Funky

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Mr. Hard - Strap 4 Life

Mr. Hard is a malicious rapper from the streets of Dallas, TX. He is known for his vile tone and rough delivery. Strap 4 Life is his sophomore album and it was released in 1998 on Strapped 4 Life Records. The wicked production is done by Ice Kold and Mr. Hard himself. The tracks have a distinct dark theme to them and that tone is presented throughout. The use of multiple instruments keep the beats fresh along with a minor dose of sampling that is quite commendable. Mr. Hard is certainly an audible lyricist. His tone is very raspy and his rough delivery is filled with explicit word play. The rhymes are equally roguish and they end up matching the beats perfectly. Features are made by Kottonmouth, Misery, Big Solo-S, G-Related and Uptight of Da Buddha Klan. A good amount of core content is displayed over sixteen quality cuts. Although there is a large cloud of mystery hovering over the artist and the album, the tangible is still quite impressive. In the end, this record remains as a true relic and as a musical testament to the never ending underground abyss.

Deadly Verses
Big Body Benz ft. Kottonmouth

Friday, September 5, 2014

Fesu - War With No Mercy

Yusef Cross, better known as Fesu, is a rapper who hails from the prominent district of Greenspoint in Houston, TX. He is a talented lyricist and also a well known activist for the honorable, Nation Of Islam. War With No Mercy is his debut album and it was released in 1994 on Continuum Records. The record in its entirety is produced by Ronald "T.K." Mims and is arranged by the local activist, Quanell X. The beats are an intricate display of funky guitars, groovy bass lines and emphatic drums. Also the samples are wisely chosen and the end result definitely exceed expectations. On the other hand, Fesu is an absolute brute on the microphone. His rhymes are a direct portrayal of a young man facing adversity in day to day life. Whether its the racial tensions in the city or the ever growing drug epidemic, Fesu takes the listener through a rough and rugged ride with his assault on the microphone. Guest appearances are made by Mr. Loc, Bobby Womack and Minister Robert Muhammad. Overall this release is held in high regards, mainly due to the genuine core content that is presented over fourteen solid tracks. Not only did it put young Fesu in the national limelight but it also help solidify him as an artist. An artist that is not easily swayed by material possessions or belongings but one that is adept at speaking the truth, regardless of Billboard charts or record sales.

Deadly Verses
Blind, Cripple, & Crazy

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Mad Flava - From Tha Ground Unda

Mad Flava is four man crew from Dallas, TX. It consists of Cold Chris, Erich "Hype Dawg" Krause, DJ Baby G and Don Kassan. It is a group that focuses specifically on rhyming technique and lyrical flow. They tend to give off that east coast hip-hop vibe with their style of production and even the delivery of their lyrics. From Tha Ground Unda is their debut album and it was released in 1994 on Priority Records. All the production duties are assigned to Erich Krause while DJ Baby G provides the mixing and scratching. Since the beats are mostly derived through the process of sampling, the producers make sure they put the keyboards and the drum machines to good use. In the end, the beats turn out to be very crisp and completely entertaining. Lyrically the record is solid and all four members contribute. They show a lot of emphasis toward their flows and project them with clever word play. Cold Chris seems to be the more dominant member but the rest of them are not too far behind. Featuring on the album is Docta Ling and Goldie "The Mack Mother." All in all the record delivers a good product and shows great poise. Although the group seemed to be headed in the right direction, Priority Records somehow ended up mismanaging them. Everything from licensing the samples to distribution issues and lack luster promotional marketing all led to the group fading into the depths of the underground. Also, with no follow up release in sight, the members became disgruntled and eventually fell apart. To their credit though, what they did release as a group was something far more astonishing and rewarding.

Deadly Verses
From Tha Ground Unda

Monday, September 1, 2014

Cash Money Millionaires - Baller Blockin

Cash Money Millionaires was a super group from the notorious city of New Orleans, LA. It was formed in the late nineties and composed with the two existing groups, the Hot Boy$ and the Big Tymers. It consists of Baby, Mannie Fresh, Juvenile, Turk, Lil' Wayne and last but not least, B.G. The six men transformed into a very formidable force that spread like wild fire through the entire southern region of the United States. Baller Blockin is actually a soundtrack to the action and comedy film by the same name. It was released in 2000 on Cash Money Records. The production is mainly handled by Mannie Fresh along with a few other producers chipping in on some tracks like Pimp C of UGK, Livin' Proof, Stormy Day and Massive. As always, Fresh does not disappoint with what he brings to the table. He laces the beats with his signature style and makes sure they are worthy of carrying his name. The tracks contain numerous instruments and are very well put together. Different variations of the group are used for each song for this compilation type album so lyrically the album is acceptable. Juvenile, Wayne and B.G. being the standouts ofcourse. Aside from those three, there really is nothing more for the listener except for a couple of one liners from Fresh and Baby. Now there are some very good guest spots on here that belong to UGK, Nas, Mac 10, E-40, Eightball & MJG, Rappin'-4-Tay, The Bravehearts and Unplugged. The Millionaires eventually disbanded over monetary issues around the year 2002. One by one everyone left the label except Lil' Wayne. This was known as the rise and fall of the second generation of artists from Cash Money Records. Although it is now a thing of the past but one will always remember Cash Money by the masterful production of the great Mannie Fresh, who's superb style is still being imitated but can never be duplicated. A fierce flame spitting Juve who always brought the heat to the mic with his unorthodox flow pattern. A ruthless and fearless B.G. who's aggressive delivery was unmatched. A young and raw but extremely cold blooded Lil' Wayne who's lyrical dexterity is a direct result of mentoring by Bun B of UGK. Whether it was their solo recordings or group efforts, there was a point of time when Cash Money Records seemed unstoppable.

Deadly Verses
Family Affair ft. UGK