Monday, August 24, 2015

Aaron J - Gulf Coast Players

Aaron Johnson, known simply as Aaron J, is a rapper and singer from the northside of Houston, TX. He founded Gulf Coast Records in the mid nineties with the help of his long time friend, Marvin Cooper alias Voo-Doo. Together, they recruited D-Dub, Cee Note and Monna-Lis, the female emcee/singer and formed what is known as The Gulf Coast Click. Now with the group established it was time to hit the recording studios. Gulf Coast Players is their debut album which was released in 1997 on Gulf Coast Records and published through World Wide Entertainment. Production on this masterpiece is done by Pat Rodriguez, Stewart "Poopie" Henderson, Kelvin Allen, Lavia Flood and Aaron J himself. The producers create a very smooth and laid back atmosphere with the beats. This southern fried production is of top notch quality and is really a treat to the ear drums. Funky guitar licks, soothing bass lines, menacing drums and some groovy keyboarding are just a few examples of what is delivered as a total package. Lyrically the album is also quite impressive. Aaron J and his crew are no slouch on the microphone. They take turns displaying their verbal artistry and make good use of the tracks provided. A good dose of R&B style singing is presented with a mixture of Southern Rap which truly gives the listener an eclectic view of the whole record. Overall Aaron J and his crew put together an excellent effort, one that is definitely worth noting. Since this happens to be their only release, it has long been out of print and is very sought after by fans.

Deadly Verses

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Disconnected Clique - I Know!

Disconnected Clique - I Know!
Disconnected Clique is a group that represents from the hard streets of Houston, TX. Now as a collective they rep Houston but three of the seven members were recruited from Port Arthur, TX. The group consists of Ace Of Spadz, LaDeris, J' Down, E.J., D-Nick, Li. C and last but not least, the female emcee known as Tryll. I Know! is their debut album and it was released in 2000 on Monumental Records. The bulk of the banging production is provided by Mike Newton and D-Nick while members like Ace Of Spadz, E.J. and LaDeris help out on some tracks. The beats are genuinely smooth and all instruments are used to their legitimate apex. The end result gives off a very fresh vibe and while samples are used, they are by no means the main source of melody. Although this release came at a time when the "Swang & Bang" sound was really emerging, it does not incorporate any of it's elements in it. Instead the production pattern used is of the previous generation which relies heavily on musical melody and a sense of rhythm. Not to downplay or bad mouth the "Swang & Bang" sound but this type of southern production is now literally considered to be a lost art. Lyrically the album is also very well rounded. Each member brings a unique style to the table and are always ready when called upon the microphone. Their rhymes are filled with word play and are also delivered at a decent pace. Group members LaDeris and Ace really stand out from the rest while the others are not too far behind. The guest feature on here is by Kevin Braggs, who basically provides all the singing and back up vocals. An ample total of fifteen choice tracks are provided for the listener which in return make this release thoroughly enjoyable. Also, the picture on the front album cover was taken at the Gerald D. Hines Water Wall Park in the Uptown District of Houston, Texas. Overall this was a commendable effort by the group and one that also takes full advantage of the amenities provided. Coming into the industry with no prior accomplishments is not easy by no means. The group faced many challenges while putting this record together and not only did they overcome them but they also managed to leave an imprint by compiling a solid package. One that happens to shine from all angles and one that also withstands the lengthy test of time.

Deadly Verses

Friday, August 14, 2015

Too Much Trouble - Bringing Hell On Earth

Too Much Trouble is a group that represents from the notorious streets of 5th Ward in Houston, TX. Billed as "The Baby Geto Boys," the group was quickly put together by James Smith to pretty much cash in on all the success and attention the original Geto Boys were receiving. Their style, demeanor and personalities were almost a mirror image of the Geto Boys. The group consists of Ghetto MC, also known as the Band Aid Bandit, Drunk D, who is also known as Nickel Nut, Bar-None and DJ Bad News Black. Bringing Hell On Earth is their debut album and it was released in 1992 on Rap-A-Lot Records. The production is provided by Big Boss, John Bido, Crazy C, DJ Bad News Black and Johnny C. Only excellence can be expected with the names mentioned above and that is exactly what is delivered. Although the beats are quite sample heavy and are all electronically derived, they are still a treat to listen to. Lyrically, the album has it's moments. The members are passable on the microphone and aren't the least bit shy either. Their aggressive rhymes are blunt and straight to the point. Word play is kept to a minimum but when it is used, it is very vile and rough. Features are courtesy of the Geto Boys, Big Mello and DJ Ready Red. Overall the record has its fair shares of ups and downs. There are times when the chemistry of the members and their provocative styles fit perfectly and then there are times where it all seems very dull and redundant. In the end, Too Much Trouble could not hold a candle to what the Geto Boys were accomplishing, neither lyrically nor musically. Which is why "The Baby Geto Boys" moniker was soon dropped all together and the group struggled to find their identity. It also didn't help their cause when some members lost focus while others got a little complacent after this initial release. Reduced to just two members later on, Drunk D and Ghetto MC dropped two more albums as Too Much Trouble and soon parted ways as well. On June 14, 2013, Ghetto MC passed away with kidney failure. Rest in peace to the unforgiving and always relentless, Band Aid Bandit.

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Monday, August 3, 2015

Lock Down Inmates - Out On Parole

Lock Down Inmates is a vicious collective from the notorious streets of Dallas, TX. The group's original lineup consisted of Oak Cliff Assassin (O.C.A.), Hollow Point, Grim Reeper, Mossburg, D-Divine, Tru-Black, Cold Black Poet (C.B.P.) and last but not least, 4 Your Eyes Only. Although membership would vary throughout the years the group was active, members like Oak Cliff Assassin, Hollow Point and Mossburg would always remain present. The group began in the early nineties when O.C.A. and Henry Peeples collected some of the best rappers in south Dallas and eventually created the Lock Down Inmates. Out On Parole is their hardcore debut album and it was released in 1993 on VIP Records. The production is done by DJ Dark Fader, Skull Minista, Jim Vincent, Patrick Nun and Oak Cliff Assassin. The beats are all electronically derived and the classic drum machine is put to good use. Hard hitting drums combined with some eccentric samples is pretty much the recipe used throughout the record. The tracks carry a very hard and street edge vibe that fits the group like a glove. Lyrically the album is also on par with the production. Members eagerly jump on the microphone and claim it with ease. Their dope tales and rough ballads make for an indestructible force that can withstand the harshest of blows. Each one of them attacking and coming with such passion that it becomes impossible for the listener to ignore their message. The album closes out with a total of eleven tracks plus one bonus cut. Now at the time of this release the genre known as "Gangster Rap" was truly on the rise. Not only did the folks at Lock Down Productions and VIP Records capitalize on such an occasion but they also managed to get some notoriety for their city and themselves. It wasn't easy though, they knew they would have to go up against their in-state rivals from the city of Houston and compete against acts like the Geto Boys or even Street Military. In the end their hard work paid off and this humble beginning marked for a long and successful career path for the group that to this day, has a large following throughout the southern United States.

Deadly Verses

Friday, July 31, 2015

Hogg & Priest - 5004

Hogg & Priest is a duo from the notorious neighborhood of Mooretown in Shreveport, LA. The rappers met each other in 1995 while studying Music & Arts at Grambling State University in Louisiana. 5004 is their debut album and it was released in 2000 on Playa Made Records. The album's silky smooth and utterly funky production is provided by Tommy Granville Jr. He laces the beats with what is known in this region as that southern fried gumbo funk. Each cut is defined with multiple layers of different instruments and originality is pursued with a passion. The tracks are quite fluid and laid back which in turn makes for a very enjoyable experience. Also the scratching and mixing is provided by DJ Deluxx. Both Hogg and Priest are excellent on the microphone. Their chemistry is unmatched together and they seem to support each other well. The utmost attention is given to word play as well as the actual delivery while their southern dialect is both unique and entertaining. Guest appearances are courtesy of Big T, Big Baby, Carlos Luv, Dre and Ralphiell Walker. Also the wonderful artwork for the front and back cover is done by Chill "Will" Lindsey, who is the younger brother of Hogg. The record boasts an ample amount of seventeen tracks but still keeps one hungry for more. That is the true and uncanny nature of this underground masterpiece. Quality rhymes paired with quality rhythms, what more could a listener ask for.

Deadly Verses

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Nuk Ruk - Invaderz Of The Dark

Nuk Ruk - Invaderz Of The Dark
Nuk Ruk is a marvelous group from Houston, TX. As a collective they represent for the sub genre known as Christian Rap. It consists of BDI, Dez, Dr. Yo, JoEmcee, Earth, Chameleon, Outlaw and DJ CleanCut. The name Nuk Ruk, is actually abbreviated for Nucklehead Ruckus which in turn basically means knuckle heads causing ruckus. The group is well known for their extremely hype and energetic concerts as well as their thought provoking rhymes that are congenially mixed with some equally exceptional rhythms. Nuk Ruk debuted in 1994 with their breakout album, "The Road Less Traveled." Invaderz Of The Dark is their sophomore effort and it was released in 1997 on Nuk Ruk Records. Production is solely handled by BDI, who is a creative genius when it comes to beats. He is also the main direction behind the group's signature sound and exclusive persona. The beats are derived through multiple instruments and can be classified somewhat under Industrial and Experimental Hip Hop. They are certainly unique and carry a fresh and genuine vibe. The process of sampling is kept to a minimum but the few that are used are put to good use. The most notable one being Ludwig Van Beethoven's "Für Elise" which is used on the track "The Road Less Traveled." This sort of artistry is what defines the group's style and becomes a type of signature brand for the remaining cuts on the album. Lyrically the album also fares very well. Each member brings a designated and peculiar flow pattern. Their rhymes can vary in speed but the commendable word play and superb delivery is what remains constant. Now the core content can be perceived from a religious stand point but since their lyrics are so diverse and imaginative, it is truly left upon the listener to dissect the meaning or message any further. Guest appearances are courtesy of NRG and Kathy Abshire. This also happens to be a double disc album that carries a remarkable total of thirty one tracks. Although Nuk Ruk put together an intellectual and entertaining package, it wasn't enough to propel them into mainstream stardom. Especially with the emergence of the Swang & Bang sound and the decline of real Hip Hop in Houston, it wasn't long before Nuk Ruk found themselves in the lower levels of the underground. Tons of artists in the city found themselves facing this exact same dilemma. Some jumped on the band wagon quick while others changed their style or delivery to fit the mold of the upcoming era and then finally there were those who refused to change and stay true to their art but in the end were not as fortunate as the aforementioned. The latter pretty much disappeared from the entire scene and were talked about as if they were some sort of fables. In Nuk Ruk's case, it is truly a shame to see such great talent and vision fall simply by the wayside. Even though they created a loyal following of fans that are still hoping and wishing for a Nuk Ruk reunion, the future of real Hip Hop in Houston looks pretty bleak.

Deadly Verses

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Kris Kross - Young, Rich & Dangerous

Kris Kross is a rap duo that hails from the acclaimed streets of Atlanta, GA. It consists of Chris "Daddy Mac" Smith and Chris "Mac Daddy" Kelly. The names can get a bit confusing but that is by intention and design which in turn honors their combined alias. They are best known for their hit single "Jump" which is off their debut album "Totally Krossed Out" and also for their unique fashion sense which consisted of wearing their entire clothing outfit, backwards. They two were discovered at a local shopping mall in Atlanta by Jermaine Dupri when they were just thirteen years old and he immediately sensed the raw talent at hand. Young, Rich & Dangerous is their third album and it was released in 1996 on Ruffhouse Records. The production is done through the quintessential Jermaine Dupri and is certainly of top quality. The tracks are laced with his signature up beat pattern and are quite melodic. That distinct southern vibe is definitely present and the process of sampling is also put to good use. Lyrically the album falls a tad bit shy, especially when compared to the duo's last two outings. Although both are very capable and talented lyricists, there are times when the intensity just isn't there. Now granted this is when the duo was really trying to find their voice as well as their direction in the rap industry. Their last two albums were branded and marketed for the younger crowd while this one is aimed towards the older, street savvy generation. Guest appearances are made by Da Brat, Aaliyah, Big Rube, Mr. Black, Jermaine Dupri and Trey Lorenz. This record is split into two halves with six tracks belonging to each side. The Smith Side seems to be orientated for the streets while The Kelly Side is a bit more smooth and laid back. Overall the whole album is decently put together and while there maybe some low points, it still manages to finish on a high. It also help spawn one of the most notorious freestyles in southern rap history, the infamous "June 27" by the legendary DJ Screw who uses the instrumental of the track "Da Streets Ain't Right." On May 1st, 2013, Chris "Mac Daddy" Kelly was found unresponsive in his home and was later pronounced dead. A toxicology report was released by the Atlanta Medical Center which stated that he had died from a drug overdose. He was only thirty four years old. Rest in peace to the innovative and the ever ingenious Chris Kelly.

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