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

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

Saturday, August 23, 2014

I.B.G. - We Ballin

I.B.G. which stands for Innocent But Guilty is a group from Franklin, LA. It consists of Eddie Bo, Rocky and B-Dub. The group debuted with We Ballin in 1999 on Red Boy Records and quickly gained some notoriety for their effort. The album in its entirety is produced by the in-house producer, Choklate Chip. The beats are quite crafty and are assembled with a wide range of instruments. Some are assisted through the process of sampling, such as the notable title track "We Ballin," which heavily samples the song "Jamming" by Bob Marley & The Wailers. The track ends up being a wonderful take on the original reggae song that is completed with a southern fried twist. All three members are more than capable on the microphone. Their rhymes tend to be somewhat fast paced and are delivered precisely. Also the word play used is quite commendable. Guest appearances are made by DJ Dolby D, Papa Reu, Red Boy and the 4-5 Click. Even though this project was a respectable release by the trio and is very sought after by their fans, there are times when it becomes a little bland. The one area this album is lacking in is originality but since this record can be classified under "baller" or "bling" rap from the late nineties, it hardly matters. That being said it still should not discourage the listener because this was truly a valiant effort by the group and that is why they are still remembered as home town heroes by the small city of Franklin, Louisiana.

Deadly Verses
We Ballin' ft. Papa Rue & Red Boy

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Tha Darkside - Tales From Tha Darkside

Tha Darkside is a notorious group from Baton Rouge, LA. It consists of K.E., Color Wheel, DJ Cross Fader, The Night Prince and R-Mack. Tales From Tha Darkside is their debut album and it was released in 1993 on E.K.S. Records. The record is produced by the funky Sharntii Baheth with some assistance from Ernest "The Night Prince" Smith as well as DJ Cross Fader who provides the mixing and scratching. The beats are assembled with some pure yet simple melodies. They tend to be very harmonic and really compliment the group well. Although a couple of them are sample assisted, they still somehow manage to give off a fresh vibe. The group's persona can be best described as somewhat street savvy. Their rhymes are certainly prolific and contain feelings depicted straight from harsh realities. The lyrics veer off just a tad bit on a few tracks but are pretty much legit for the most part. All members are quite capable on the mic and the two standouts being Color Wheel & K.E. Overall the album keeps itself afloat by presenting the core content in an unorthodox manner all the while displaying a unique sense of style. Although this happens to be an obscure record from the grisly swamps of Baton Rouge, it still has the ability to compete with any mainstream release from that time period. Also, rest in peace to the one and only K.E. of Tha Darkside.

Deadly Verses
Dont Mess With Tha Darkside

Friday, August 8, 2014

Livin' Illegal - Married To The Game

Livin' Illegal is a duo from the south side of Houston, TX. It consists of two members whom are under the aliases, G-Down and Gangsta Slim. The two met at a local high school and quickly became fond of each others rapping ability. They ended up being discovered by Anthony Johnson and Married To The Game was released in 1997 on Hollow Point Records. It is produced mainly by Bruce "Grim Reaper" Rhodes and Will-B-Fresh while Icey Hott and G-Lee help out on a couple of tracks. The production is top notch southern funk to say the least. Groovy guitar licks meshed with edgy synths and a good dose of bass are incorporated into each track. The cuts flow very smoothly and also blend effortlessly with each other. The duo take full advantage of what is laid out for them and take turns displaying their vocal arsenal. Rhymes are filled with word play and certainly come off with an aggressive nature. The tone is definitely set at rough and it helps to steer the project. The two members make sure they give it their all on the microphone and leave the studio booth with no regrets. Guest appearances are made by MC Thick, Icey Hott and K.B. Da Kidnappa of Street Military. All in all this record tends to be a prime example of where the label held the producers and the artists accountable for the final output. It exemplifies a genuine product which is delivered through hard work and determination. Although this release dwells in the depths of the underground it still deserves a listen and a honorable mention.

Deadly Verses
Welcome To Hell ft. Icey Hott & K.B. Da Kidnappa

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

P.K.O. - Don't F**k W/Texas

P.K.O., which stands for pounds, keys, and ounces, is a group from San Antonio, TX. It was formed during the late eighties by Pony J, Magic Mark, and K-Sam. They ended up recruiting two more members by the names of DJ AK and Earl The Pearl. This was the original lineup that debuted in 1989 on Yo! Records with their full length album, Don't F**k W/Texas. Production is done impeccably by DJ Snake of the Nemesis fame along with the help of Magic Mark and DJ AK manning the turntables. With DJ Snake handling the bulk of the duties, he made sure the tracks contain solid yet soothing bass lines as well as some hard but edgy drums. Although the beats are somewhat sample assisted, they still somehow a carry a genuine vibe. Lyrics can only be described as harsh and are certainly controversial. Each member attacks the microphone with reckless abandon. Their rhymes are brutal and they maintain that theme throughout the record. This album not only paved the way for the group but also gave them a sense of direction. Even though they had constant changes in their membership throughout their long career, the core unit remained the same with K-Sam, Magic Mark, and Pony J, who would later change his alias to Nino. Overall it is a pretty hardcore album and one that bashes a lot of people in politics and even people in the music industry back then. The record's controversial nature did not bring any radio play or mainstream success but it did give the group a very strong and loyal fan base in the underground.

Deadly Verses
World War II

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Mac & Storm - Mad Or Jealous

Mac is a rapper who represents from the 3rd Ward of New Orleans, LA. Mad Or Jealous is an EP he released while collaborating with the female emcee, Storm. It is also Mac's first release after his 1989 debut on Yo! Records as Lil' Mac, "The Lyrical Midget." Six long years had passed and Lil' Mac had fully evolved into an astonishing lyricist with an untouchable rhyme pattern. He dropped his old moniker and re-entered the industry. Mad Or Jealous was released in 1996 on Ionique Records. Production is done by the one and only DJ Wop and it certainly exceeds expectations. Both artists take advantage of the platform laid out for them. Mac is well known throughout the South for being a top notch lyricist. He brought the profound rhymes to the table while Storm provided her unique style with a solid vibe. Their chemistry together is unmatched on the microphone and they seem to compliment each other very well. Although this was only released as a 12" EP  and also as a cassette single, there were plans for a full length album. That did not happen due to Mac devoting his time towards the then newly developed crew known as the Psychoward. Around this time Mac was also making appearances on local records from the city. The most noteworthy one being on B.G.'s "Chopper City." Those two infamous verses from that Cash Money record came across the ears of Master P which led to Mac ultimately joining the No Limit empire. Storm also went on to make a hand few guest appearances and eventually retired from the industry. One can only imagine how amazing this project would have been if only the duo had completed it. All in all this was a sufficient release from the Camouflage Assassin and it certainly etched itself as a valuable piece of New Orleans rap history.

Deadly Verses
Mad Or Jealous (Street Mix)

Monday, May 5, 2014

M.C. E-Rock - One The Hard Way

M.C. E-Rock is a rapper from the notorious neighborhood of Oak Cliff in Dallas, TX. Although he might not be known outside of Texas, he has been in the rap industry since the late eighties and is still active today. He started off battling in the underground and going toe to toe with rappers from the city. He ended up being discovered by DJ Pauly Pee of McRawlic Records and immediately debuted in 1988 on that label with the LP, "Down For Mines." After getting a taste of the industry and how cruel it can be at times from the business aspect, E-Rock returned after a three year hiatus. This time he was a lot more mature and had also developed proactively as an artist. One The Hard Way is his second EP and it was released in 1991 on Serious Records, Inc. It was also remastered and re-released with addition of two tracks coming from the "Vitamin E" Promo in 2013 by Dope Folks Records. Production is magnificently handled by Mark Adams, T-low, BLU, and C.R. Broadus III. They rely heavily on sampling as the foundation for the beats. While at times this could be a recipe for disaster and the producers are definitely walking on a very thin line; they still somehow manage to do it with precision and perfection. The end results are tracks that sound crisp and have a distinct theme to them. E-Rock is quite proficient on the microphone and displays that with ease. His rhyme pattern is unique and is filled with clever word play. He also fires them with rapid succession without suffering any loss to his pitch or tone. All in all this was a valiant effort by the Dallas native and one that seems to withstand the test of time. Not only did this record help establish E-Rock as an artist, it also made his foreseeable future a whole lot brighter.

Deadly Verses
Lyrical Graffiti

Friday, May 2, 2014

Tim Smooth - Straight Up Drivin' Em

Tim Smooth is rapper from the Kennedy Heights area in New Orleans, LA. He is also credited for being one of the pioneers of the southern rap movement that emerged from Louisiana. Tim is known for his vocal delivery and laid back persona, both of which happen to be undeniably smooth, appropriately fitting his rap alias. Straight Up Drivin' Em is his sophomore effort and it was released in 1994 on Rap-A-Lot Records. Production duties are assigned to the masterful Leroy "Precise" Edwards and Mark "Too Cool" Marine. Together they unleash an onslaught of melodic rhythms that tend to keep ear drums as hostages. Tracks upon tracks are laced with such beautiful precision that not only makes them original but also very captivating, musically. Tim's vocal artistry can be ranked with some of the greatest of all time. His soothing dialect, combined with vile word play, accompanied by a spell binding delivery turns each lyric into a destructive force. His natural ability to catch a beat in mid stride is truly a feat one must hear to witness his power over the microphone. Guest spots are courtesy of MC Thick, Bust, and Playache'. Overall the record is held in high regards and is one that can withstand the harshest of storms. It is a genuine work of art and a masterpiece that embodies the city of New Orleans perfectly. Tragedy struck on July 26th, 2011 when Tim Smooth passed away at the young age of only 39. He was battling cancer to the mouth and tongue. Although Tim is in a happier place now, he will always be remembered here as a legend and as a man who gave it his all every time he grabbed the mic. Rest in peace to the Knight from Kennedy Heights.

Deadly Verses
I Remember