Thursday, October 8, 2015

Minds Of Mischief - Unexpected Changes

Minds Of Mischief is a group that represents from the notorious southside of Houston, TX. The trio consists of Hollow Tip, Fix and 1-Five-1. They were discovered by Stuart "Poopie" Henderson, who was so impressed by the groups' fast paced flows that he immediately signed them to his Evolution Records label. Unexpected Changes is their debut album and it was released in 1997 on Evolution Records and in collaboration with 2 Much Productions. As it is customary with any Evolution release, the bulk of the production is handled by Stuart "Poopie" Henderson, himself and he is assisted by the likes of Louis "Hollywood" Hayes and Kevin "Red" Allen. The beats are a beautiful blend of that classic southern sound that accompanies twangy guitar riffs which are mixed with hard hitting drums and finally complimented by some smooth keyboarding. The rhythms contain various styles and are thoroughly enjoyable. The tracks carry a solid foundation and are certainly very welcoming for the artists. The album also excels in the lyrical department. All three members are more than capable on the microphone and they can definitely claim it with ease. The rhymes are delivered quickly and sharply. Word play is used as the main ingredient which in return gives the lyrics a very strong backbone. Also, the choruses and the back up vocals are all on point. Guest appearances are made by D-Red of the Botany Boys, Papa Reu, Lady 14, Vikta Black, Note, Boy-Bo and Lil' Mooney. The album rounds out at a decent total of fourteen tracks and although the record starts off a bit slow, it certainly picks up the pace and finishes with prime subject matter. This was an ambitious effort by the trio but it could not garner any type of success, hence this being their only release. While the product is full of variety and is quite deep with flavor, it certainly lacks the finishing touches of a major publishing company or a big name label. In the end, it just shows the humbleness of the group and how eagerly they jumped on the first chance to get their name and personalities noticed all the while knowing the past history of Poopie and his mismanaged label. Evolution Records was bound to self destruct because of the incompetency that was showed by its' staff and mainly, Poopie Henderson himself. Although he is a remarkable producer and he certainly has an ear for finding talent, he did not have the expertise of running a full fledged record company. He signed such great acts like the Coppertone Conspiracy, A-Posse, Quess but also abused them out of their fair share of royalties and eventually, drove them away. Some say it was Poopie's violent temper while others have blamed his faulty publishing and marketing team, both were a recipe for disaster. The Minds Of Mischief were suppose to be the label's last hurrah but they too went unheralded like the rest of their label mates. It is a little disheartening to see such good talent go to waste but what's more discomforting is that they were all cheated and hung out to dry by their own record label.

Deadly Verses
Mama U Better Tell 'Em

Album Notes
* Evolution Records went defunct in the year 1998.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Southside Pentagon - Money Over Everything

Southside Pentagon is a collective that represents from the hard hitting streets of Houston, TX. The members are D-Gotti, E.L., Craig C, Lil Jay, W.B., Tito, Vandalizm, Trip, Black, Big Tiger and Ban. The group was started by D-Gotti of the Wreckshop and E.L. of Deep South Syndicate as a side project but it quickly evolved into something bigger. Their goal was just to reach the masses on the southside of town but with E.L.'s connections in Louisiana, it helped this release surpass their modest expectations. Money Over Everything is their debut album and it was released in 2001 on M.O.E. Inc. The bulk of the production is handled by the veteran, J Slash of .380 while Noke D, Trip and Mack chip in on some tracks. The beats are a quality blend of the new era sound and since this is a post 2000 release, that was somewhat expected. That being said, it still should not discourage the listener because overall the rhythms are quite unique and while some are sample assisted, the rest carry a genuine feel. Lyrically the album is respectable as well. E.L., D-Gotti and Craig C are the stand outs of course but the rest of the group is not too far behind. Their rhymes carry a good amount of word play and are also delivered with precision. Since this is a large collective, chemistry issues were bound to arise but the founding members made sure to keep those at bay and only made combinations on tracks that easily work. Now, no H-Town record is complete without a star studded guest list and this release is no exception to that rule. Guest appearances are made by Fat Pat, Lil' Keke, Lil' O, Mike D, E.S.G., Hawk, 3-2, Slim Thug, J Slash of .380, Chris Ward, Southside Playaz, Ronnie Spencer, Lady 14, Chad, June, Roxan and Peaches. This can be considered a little guest heavy but with eighteen solid tracks to boast, the features are quite spread out. All in all, a commendable release by the group and also one that appeals from all angles. Plus, with Texas & Louisiana connecting, it makes this release a bit more special and a bit harder to deny.

Deadly Verses
Dead Man Walkin

Album Notes
* Rest in peace to Mr. Fat Pat and his brother, Big Hawk.
* Track 9: Chop'em is a pretty lethal diss towards Lil' Flip by E.S.G.
* Also the spine of the album states this release as a Volume One.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Deep South Syndicate - Journey With The Syndicate

DSS, which stands for Deep South Syndicate, is a group that represents from the wicked streets of Lafayette, LA. Although they would be reduced to a trio later on, the original lineup consists of D-Flat, E.L., Killa B, Scrappy, B-Loc, Shook and Scooty. Journey With The Syndicate is their debut album and it was released in 1996 on Double L Records. The production is marvelously handled by Anthony "Booney" Woods and Edward "Jaz" Woods. Together, they provide nothing but that southern funk which is presented in a dark atmosphere. The rhythms carry a brash and hard sound which fits the group perfectly. Instruments are all used proficiently and originality is pursued with a passion. While some tracks are a bit simple and plain, they still are not disqualified from being enjoyable. Lyrics is where the album truly excels. Each member brings a provocative and unique style to the table. Their rhymes are offered sharp and to the point. Word play is used very efficiently and while their delivery is mostly rapid, it does tend to slow down for some cuts. Featuring on the album is Bosco Pooh. Overall, it's an excellent debut effort from the collective and one that can hold its' own against any premier release. The core content is not only genuine but also very truthful in the message that it gives. Deep South Syndicate went on to release one more album in the year 1998 and eventually disbanded. In the end, this album dwells from the depths of the underground and it serves as another prime example of Louisiana's rich musical history.

Deadly Verses

Album Notes
* E.L. would later become a member of the Southside Pentagon.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Nuwine - Basshead

Maurice Williams, better known as Nuwine, is a rapper who hails from the infamous neighborhood of 5th Ward in Houston, TX. After living as a troubled youth and even coming very close to the brink of death, he decided it was time to change for the better. He turned to religion for answers and started anew as a Christian Rap artist. Armed with just a microphone and a drum machine which he purchased at a local pawn shop, he began experimenting on ways to reach and teach his peers. It wasn't long before he was picked up by Knolly "Rubadub" Williams, who immediately signed him to his newly founded, Grapetree Records. Nuwine debuted in 1997 with the album, "Da Bloody 5th," which still to this day, is regarded as one of his best works. His venture with Grapetree Records was short lived though, he would soon leave them over royalty issues and form his own label known as Wine-O Records. Basshead is an album full of instrumentals that Nuwine put together in 1998 on the aforementioned label. The production in it's entirety is done by Nuwine, himself. The beats are all electronically derived and are without the use of any real instruments. Their style along with their pace varies and a good range of selection is provided for the listener. While some are a little odd and seem to lack basic foundation, there are some that are really commendable. This record was basically put together for up and coming artists that face dilemmas when it comes to recording material. It was also considered as a gift for his loyal fans who just need some solid rhythms to bob their head to. All in all this project is just for experimental purposes and is not intended for any type of commercial use. While it strays away from the religious concepts that Nuwine is most known for, it does in fact gives him a broader audience. He was at a point in his career where every release seemed crucial for his fan base and not only was this a unique move, it was also a very bold step that he took for his immediate future. He did something special for his fans and that is what placed him above the rest of his fellow Christian Rap artists.

Deadly Tracks
13 - Untitled

Album Notes
Wine-O Records went defunct in the year 2003.
* Nuwine would then change his alias to Wine-O.
* The new alias would also mark the end of his Christian Rap career.
* He then tried establishing himself in the Rap & Hip Hop industry.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Herschelwood Hardheadz - A Million Dollar$ Later

Herschelwood Hardheadz is a collective that represents from the notorious streets of Herschelwood in Houston, TX. The group was formed in the year 1993 by Lil' Keke and it consists of Archie Lee, Duke and Knocky. As a group they made various appearances on multiple Screw Tapes and even had some stints on Lil' Keke's solo albums. After creating a mild buzz in the southside of town and also developing a true fan base, the group finally decided it was time for an official release. A Million Dollar$ Later is their debut album and it was released in 1998 on Jam Down Records. The record is superbly produced by the likes of Sean "Solo" Jemison, Double D of Platinum Souls and Dantly "Prowler" Wyatt. The beats are an eclectic blend of rhythms that are so smooth, that head bobbing is the only option left for the listener. They can easily be summed up as that classic H-Town funk which also incorporates some elements of the Swang & Bang sound. The producers really out did themselves on this one and in return, gave the artists a very solid foundation to work upon. Lyrically the album is also well rounded. As always, Lil' Keke does not disappoint on the microphone and neither do his fellow group members. They take turns unleashing their various styles, both musically and methodically. While their rhymes may vary in pace, their jubilant word play and their flashy personas remain constant. Guest appearances are made by Fat Pat, B-Legit, Mobb Figgaz and Phaz. All in all this is a wonderful debut effort by the group and one that was definitely worth the wait. The group's success was short lived though, Lil' Keke left the group after this initial release and continued his solo route while the Herschelwood Hardheadz advanced as a trio. In the end, this record sits as a polished gem that not only shines but can also be a priceless commodity in one's collection.

Deadly Verses
CD's & LP's ft. Fat Pat

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

BHC - Crime Pays

BHC, which stands for Big House Click, is a group that represents from the rough streets of San Antonio, TX. It consists of Mr. Lo, Tear Drop and the female rapper and singer known as Bo-Legg. Although she did not participate in this release due to family reasons and concerns. BHC's first album known as "Openin' Doors" was released in 1997 and it definitely caught the city by surprise. The content was so commendable that all the local radio stations as well as the local clubs were immediately hooked. Crime Pays is their highly anticipated second album and it was released in 1999 on Big House Productions. The production is done by the ever masterful Nathan "Happy" Perez who is assisted by L. Holmes. Together, they drop an assortment of finely crafted beats. Multiple instruments are put to use by Happy P which in turn brings his marvelous production pattern to life. Lyrically the album also excels and both members are qualified lyricists. Their sharp word play and southern dialect is a treat to listen to. Mr. Lo seems to be the more dominant member while Tear Drop appears for a couple of tracks. Guest appearances are courtesy of Lil' Keke, C-Loc, Jayne Doe, Daddy Roe, Kempster and Rocc Lewis. Overall this is an underrated release which managed to slip through the cracks. Even though it does not come close to their first album, "Openin' Doors," it is still passable in its' own right. While this type of  moderation could be justified by the missing member, Bo-Legg or even the untimely passing of Tear Drop. Whatever the case may be, the record is marked as the final recording by the famed group and is also one that possesses a remarkable value even to this day. Rest in peace to the talented and always creative, Tear Drop.

Deadly Verses
Ride 2 Nite ft. Lil' Keke

Album Notes
* Big thanks to my homie GangstaRapBrasil for providing this one.

Friday, September 11, 2015

O.G. Jhiam-Dog - Screamin Dat Pimpin

James Earl Bradshaw, better known as Jhiame or O.G. Jhiam-Dog, is a multi-talented artist from the neighborhood of Acres Homes in Houston, TX. Although he is originally from Memphis, TN, he moved to Houston in the year 1981 and has resided there ever since. He is a renowned producer as well as an accomplished rapper and singer. He was dubbed by the legendary DJ Screw (R.I.P.) as the official producer of the Screwed Up Click in 1999. His list of production credits is quite lengthy and certainly very noteworthy. Jhiame has won many awards for his work and he is considered by many to be a hit making machine for the southern region. He is also a member of the Hip Hop production group known as Da Assassinz. Screamin Dat Pimpin is his second album and it was released in 1995 on B 4 Reel Records. Production is solely handled by Jhiame, himself and it is of exceptional quality. The beats can be simplified as absolutely funky and are also considerably groovy. Deep bass lines are fused with twangy guitars which are backed up by some booming drums. While samples are used, they have been chosen wisely and are used quite proficiently. Lyrically the album is also very rich with flavor. The vocals are presented with utter smoothness and are delivered with the flair of a pimp. His rhymes can vary in pace but the laid back atmosphere remains the same. Guest appearances are made by the Pimp-Tite Hustlers, Leon Banks and Dub Sack. Also, the front cover portrays a circle with twelve symbols dwelling inside it. That is actually known as a Zodiac Wheel and it reveals the twelve signs of Astrology. Overall the album displays various elements of Funk and Soul while also incorporating the genre of Rap & Hip Hop. This prolific blend of assorted ingredients turns out to be very entertaining and satisfying. Although this is a feat that is not easily accomplished and others have failed miserably trying the same thing, O.G. Jhiam-Dog does it with such ease and leisure that it almost feels like second nature to him. Even though this was a magnificent work of art, it did not receive the recognition it deserved. Some have blamed the publishing company for their lack of effort while others have blamed the core content. In the end, this release sits as a polished gem waiting to be discovered by the next humble and eager listener.

Deadly Verses

Album Notes
* His alias has multiple variations but his preferred name is Jhiame.
* References to the Zodiac Signs are made on Track 3: Pimp On
* Leon Banks is Jhiame's father and he passed away in 2005 (R.I.P.)
* Also worth checking out is Micheal Mixerr's take on this album.