Thursday, December 8, 2016

Ms. Tee - Hot Girl

Trishell Williams, better known as Ms. Tee, is an artist that represents from the vile swamps of New Orleans, LA. Known throughout the Southern region for her soothing voice and providing vicious backup vocals, Ms. Tee first started off with Cash Money Records. In fact, she was the first female artist signed to that infamous label. After three somewhat successful albums with Cash Money Records, she would end up leaving them over a royalty dispute in the year 1996. Hot Girl is her fourth album and it was released in 1997 on the rival label, Untouchable Records. As with most Untouchable releases, production duties are assigned to Merrill "Real Roc" Robinson and Gary "Ozone" McKee. Together, they provide a spirited collection of rhythms that strictly define that classic New Orleans sound. A type of sound that seems laid back but is hype at the same time. The beats incorporate vivid notes from the genre of Bounce as well as various Southern elements to complete their composition. Now, the blend mentioned above only works flawlessly on a few cuts. Some tracks on here seem to have too much going on at one given point and almost become an audible distraction. Some of these faults could be blamed on the mixing and mastering department but not all of them. Not to worry though, because the composers do a good enough job of camouflaging these blemishes by spacing the tracks properly. The record also has its' ups and downs in the lyrical section. Ms. Tee is no ordinary songstress. Her tone is quite mollifying and she can change her pitch and tempo instantaneously. It's her blunt approach and vulgar themes that tend to go downhill. Although, one could overlook the vulgarity due to the record's underground nature and let it pass but it's truly hard to ignore the subject matter. The songs end up taxing the listener at one point or another and their motives become very unclear. Also, there is hardly any originality to her rhymes. Almost every verse or hook is an interpolation of a popular R&B song, Ms. Tee just presents it with her Southern flair and outlandish demeanor. Thus the end result is a mundane one even with the artist's superb voice. Guest appearances are made by L.O.G., Fila Phil, Lokee, Pimp Dogg, Charlie Hanseen, S.A.C. Mafia and Mike Love. The album rounds out with a total of fifteen tracks and with the discrepancies mentioned above, it becomes impossible to finish it in one sitting. Although the record can sustain itself because of the lavish guest list, it just doesn't have anything long term for the listener. Neither lyrically nor musically. The end result is a sub par effort from the artist, especially when considering the fact that she was known for providing the deadliest choruses and hooks money could buy in The Boot.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Zed Zilla - Da Franchise

Zed Zilla is a rapper that represents from the sprawling streets of Memphis, TN. An accomplished artist who has been recording since he was fifteen years old. His alias was given to him by a close friend who described his as the legendary fire breathing monster Godzilla, due to his vocal flair on the microphone. He was discovered by Yo Gotti, who immediately saw the raw talents of Zed and quickly began to mentor him. Da Franchise is his debut album and it was released in 2003 on Open Mouth Entertainment. Production on this joint is provided by the veteran, Blackout. He brings his intense style of craftsmanship to the table. A style that incorporates heavy sampling as the main hook and then builds upon it with a rapid cadence of drums and bass. This method is used throughout and tends to be a perfect fit for the artist. Lyrically Zed Zilla is quite strong on the microphone. His flow is fired quickly and energetically. His tone is somewhat sharp and his use of word play is clever. There are times when he does get a bit repetitive but the album is so well spaced that it is hardly noticeable. Guest appearances are made by Terror, Mon Goddi, Young Assassins, Lil Bird, Cardell, Pasae Watkins, Mac E, Stebo, Bigg Baby, Playboy and C.E.O. All in all, this is a substantial release by the artist that closes out at a total of fifteen tracks. The versatility that the record displays gives it the longevity that most desire. While Zed is still going strong in the rap industry today, most have forgotten his humble beginnings. This release stands as a testament for them and shines like a jewel from the boulevards of South Memphis.

Deadly Verses
Ying Yang ft. Mon Goddi, Bigg Baby & Terror

Album Notes
* Zed Zilla has also recorded under the alias, Lil' Zed.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

MC Overlord - A Better Funk

Donnell Robinson, better known as MC Overlord, is an artist that represents from the appalling streets of Austin, TX. Although he was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, he moved to Austin, Texas in 1987 and has resided there ever since. A veteran in the underground rap scene, Overlord has been around since the early nineties and is still active today. He is considered by many to be a pioneer in the vast city of Austin and is appropriately dubbed as "The Godfather of ATX Hip Hop." He is known for performing with live instruments and creating a genre defying atmosphere with the congenial mix of thought provoking lyrics over awe inspiring rhythms. His love for music runs deep since he was brought up on the genre of Funk & Soul. It wasn't until his teenage years where he eventually developed a taste for Hip Hop. He would rap for fun at his local high school and could freestyle of the top of his head for hours on end. While attending Austin Community College, he made an overwhelming decision. Instead of pursuing a degree from the acclaimed school, he would turn his past time hobby into a full time career. He decided to become a rapper and soon dropped out of school altogether. A Better Funk is his second album and it was released in 1995 on Lordship Records. The record is beautifully produced by DJ Cassanova, Charlie Redd, Micheal Hale, David Garza and Ter'ell Shahid. Together, they incorporate the use of live instruments into each and every track. Everything from percussion instruments to various guitars, keyboards and even saxophones are used to their ultimate apex. The beats are crafted from the ground up and are a treat to listen to. A couple of them are sample driven but the rest are all as original as can be. The record is also strong in the lyrical department. MC Overlord's powerful rhymes include a steady dose of word play and his burly tone delivers each line with precision. His subject matter is also diverse because it touches on various topics such as race, unity, equality, community and other compelling ideas that affect humanity as a whole. He indulges the listener from the very first track and keeps them hooked till the last. The album closes out at a humble total of eleven tracks which are all equally entertaining. Guest appearances are made by Dee, Ter'ell Shahid, Dah-Veed, Smooth Nelson and Charlie Redd. It is certainly not easy to record with live instruments which is why most producers stick to an electronic drum machine to provide different sounds. Overlord's unorthodox approach which involves live instruments is extremely thought out. The musicians provide an impressive foundation for the artist to freely express himself. In return, the emcee excels on the microphone and makes sure that their efforts are not wasted. This is an excellent work of art that has the unique ability to reach individuals on a conscious level. The album did not get any mainstream attention or appreciation but it gets plenty of love and respect from the deep vaults of the underground.

Deadly Verses
Put 'Em Up (Rasta Mix) ft. Dee

Deadly Video

Saturday, November 26, 2016

The Day After Hell Broke Loose

The Day After Hell Broke Loose is a compilation album which is presented by Bigg Tyme and Rap-A-Lot Records. It was constructed upon the success of "The Day Hell Broke Loose" series by Swishahouse Records. This album was released in the early part of 2004 on Rap-A-Lot Records. Veteran producers Bigg Tyme and Mike Dean are credited for providing the tunes. Together, they do an excellent job by creating a palette of rhythms that strictly cater to the fans of the Swang & Bang genre. The beats are mostly contemporary and upbeat in nature. The creators made sure that the blend stays electric and musically sound at all times. Lyrics tend to vary since this is a joint venture between two of the most prolific record labels from the South and their respective artists. One can only expect greatness when the likes of Scarface, Bun B, Devin The Dude and Z-Ro are fused with Lil' Flip, Slim Thug, Mike Jones, Paul Wall, Chamillionaire, J-Dawg, Magno, Lil' Ron, Lil' Mario and Dolla. The album closes out with a total of fourteen tracks and aside from a couple of them, their subject matter mostly lingers around materialistic values and financial gains. All in all it's a decent compilation and one that was released at the height of the H-Town takeover phenomenon. The two camps capitalized on the alluring situation at hand and put forth a genuine effort. The record beautifully withstands the test of time and should deserve a spot in any Southern Rap collection. 

Deadly Verses
Z-Ro (Remix) ft. Z-Ro

Sunday, November 13, 2016

John Got'ti - Cut Throat

John Got'ti is a rapper who represents from the murky swamps of New Orleans, LA. Cut Throat is his debut album and it was released in 2001 on Big Pocket Records with Orpheus Music overlooking the whole project. The album is largely produced by Mr. Sinista while Kriz Kang lends him a hand on a few tracks. The rhythms can be summed up as that renewed New Orleans sound that really became prominent after the new millennium. They contain various elements are mostly uptempo in nature.  The beats are not groundbreaking but are still passable in the end. Now, one could easily assume a darker theme will be presented due to the record's title but that is certainly not the case. Lyrically, Got'ti can hold his own on the microphone. The rhymes are conventional and driven straight to the point. His tone is a bit typical but the rate of speed is somewhat rapid. He also tries to incorporate different styles into his delivery, most notably from the genre of Bounce Music. The end result is again nothing revolutionary but still acceptable. Guest appearances are made by Sassy C, D. Mike, Superstar and Mr. Sinista. The album finishes off with a total of fourteen tracks and while there are a few fillers, the rest remain solid. Overall, a decent effort by the N.O. native and one that is adequate enough to be given a listen. The album has it's moments and when it tends to go downhill, the artist quickly counters it. That's a good sign, it shows awareness and a positive intent from his part. Sadly, the subject matter is just not broad enough to reach a wider audience and that is the only real knock against this otherwise respectable release.

Deadly Verses
Rest In Peace

Deadly Video

"Cut Throat"  artist John Gotti from Randy Rome Walsh on Vimeo.

Friday, November 11, 2016

T-Pop Da I-10 Juggla - Makin' Moves

Joshua Thibodeaux, better known as T-Pop, is a rapper from the infamous city of Lafayette in Louisiana. He has also held residence in the notorious southside of Houston, TX. His nickname, "Da I-10 Juggla," is derived from the two cities connecting to each other through the renowned highway system known as, Interstate 10. Makin' Moves is his debut album and it was released in 2001 on Laf-Tex South Records, a sub-label under the parent, Laftex Records. Production on this piece is mainly handled by the magnificent, DJ Dolby D while Mr. Phat and T-Pop also chip in on a few cuts. The beats are strictly southern in demeanor and since Dolby D blesses the tracks with his brilliant creativity, the rhythms become that much more entertaining. Although they carry an upbeat pattern and are quite contemporary in composure, they are still very appealing to the ears. Lyrically, T-Pop is exceptional on the microphone. His laid back tone and raw southern dialect go hand in hand. His rhymes are delivered at a good pace and are dripping with fluent word play. While his level of energy and enthusiasm never drops, there are times when he becomes just a little repetitive. Not to worry though, an excellent star studded guest list is there to back him up when times tend to get bad. Featuring on the record is, Trae, Botany Boys, 3-2, I.B.G., Lil' Flex, Den Den, Mike D, Big Pokey, Wood, Deadend B.G.'s, D-Gotti, C-Nile, Big Tantrum, Black, Young Mafios, Pedoro, Toemas, Dwayne Parker and Bryson Bernard. All in all this is a very solid release, especially when considering the fact that it is a debut album. Not only did Da I-10 Juggla present himself with validity and clarity, he also managed to assert himself onto the Southern Rap scene. In the end, this work of art remains as a hidden gem and has the tendency to shine from each and every angle.

Deadly Verses
Ain't No Stopping ft. Black, C-Nile, Deadend B.G.'s, Pedoro & Big Tantrum

Album Notes
* T-Pop is also affiliated with the legendary Screwed Up Click.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

K-Otix - Spontaneity

K-Otix is a trio that represents from the forbidden streets of Houston, TX. It consists of Damien, Mic and The ARE. The group is most known for showcasing their traditional style of Hip Hop while still maintaining a Southern demeanor. K-Otix was formed in the early part of 1992 and while the group's main alias has remained unchanged, it was their individual names that varied. Damien was known as Dookie Luv, Mic was known as Mic The Madman and The ARE was known as Roc Smuv. It wasn't until 1996 when they decided to drop their former monikers and started work on their debut. Their original plan was to work with another group out of Houston which went by the name of Example. Now as far as styles are concerned, Example and K-Otix were on the same page. They both swayed away from the typical style of Southern Rap and really molded themselves after their East Coast colleagues. The two groups planned to release a double EP with Side 1 belonging to K-Otix and Side 2 belonging to Example. Things did not go as planned and the idea of the double EP was shelved altogether. Both parties took their rightful material and released their own projects separately. Example released the highly covetable EP called, "Impulses" and K-Otix countered with Spontaneity, which is certainly of equal caliber. Spontaneity is their debut album and it was released in 1997 on K-Otix Entertainment. The album is produced by the group's masterful in house producer, Russell "The ARE" Gonzales. The ARE, who is a protege of the legendary DJ Premier, really models his style after the great Gang Starr DJ. It was under Premier's tutelage where ARE truly learned the fundamentals of proper production. The beats are sample driven for the most part. They contain various elements of Hip Hop and are a treat to listen to. ARE's recipe of construction is a simple one. He samples a dope hook, punches in the bass and finishes it off with a cadence of drums. This theme then serves as a backbone for the group's identity. Lyrically the record is also very strong. Damien and Mic are no slouch on the microphone. They tend to display a lot of word play as well as an extensive and imaginative vocabulary. Their rhymes are fiery, vivid and intellectual. They immediately take the listener hostage from the very first track. Also worth noting is the chemistry the two artists have with each other. The EP closes out at a modest total of eight bonafide tracks leaving the listener craving for more. Overall, this was a solid effort by the group and one that was well worth the wait. Aside from a handful of acts, most groups out of the city of Houston are somewhat one dimensional and tend to jock each other for style or publicity. It takes a whole different mindset and not to mention the courage, to go against the norm in the South. K-Otix unorthodox approach is what separates them from the rest. Spontaneity garnered a good bit of success and eventually led the group to sign a major distribution deal with the New York based label known as, Bronx Science. Even with the success of a few singles on the radio and the aforementioned publishing deal, K-Otix never really broke into the mainstreams. Then again, maybe that was something they weren't too concerned about. It seems as if they were quite content in the underground, challenging other artists for the subterranean throne. In the end, their vast career spans over two decades and their catalog of timeless material certainly speaks for itself.

Deadly Verses
7 MCs

Album Notes
* This EP is color coded into three variations.
* First Pressing: Yellow - Second Pressing: Red - Third Pressing: Blue
* The ARE left the group in 2004 before rejoining them in 2015.
* K-Otix is also a member of the super group, Ethos.