Monday, October 26, 2015

Life After Death - Victim Of Society

Life After Death, or L.A.D. for short, is a collective that represents from the vicious streets of Beaumont, TX. The group consists of Tigga, Insane, Mouse Loc, BoBo, Abstraq, Dudda Man and Midnight. Victim Of Society is their debut album and it was released in 1995 on Bull Dog Records. The record is produced in house by members Tigga and Abstraq. The beats are presented in a dark manner and they fit the group's style perfectly. The rhythms are filled with deep bass lines that are mixed with some lively synths and are backed up by some solid drums. While some are sample assisted, the rest seem to be all original. There are some tracks that are very simplistic and also suffer from lack of proper mixing & mastering. In general, the end result is an acceptable one which happens to carry that classic, underground sound. Lyrically, the album is pretty strong. The members are just ruthless on the microphone and can display their artistry with ease. Their rhymes are filled with vile word play and are completed harshly. Deliveries are also full of pace and their tones are not only distinct but also very abusive. A modest total of ten tracks are presented for the listener and it can leave one craving for more. Overall it's an adequate offering from the group and one that can withstand the test of time. Their grim, street tales and victimizing ballads stand as a true testament to the depths of the underground. The small city of Beaumont is only about ninety miles away from the larger city of Houston and this release can not only hang with the big boys but also give them a nice run for their money.

Deadly Verses

Album Notes
* A big thanks goes out to R.A.P.M.A.N.I.A.C. for providing this.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

N.U.T.S. - Shady Like Me

N.U.T.S. is a duo that represents from the raw streets of Knoxville, TN. The duo consists of A.P. and Nico and they have been in the industry since the early nineties. The two are not only established rappers but also well respected producers. Shady Like Me is their fourth album and it was released in 2000 on JK Music. Production is split between Nico and A.P. and it is truly of the exceptional quality. The beats are well crafted with an array of instruments and are strictly southern in content. They are all made originally without the use of samples and are a real treat to listen to. Even though the two producers stick to a simple recipe for the rhythms, the end result is surprisingly quite intricate. The lyrics are also very remarkable considering the time period of the release. The two rappers are just savages on the microphone and they present their rhymes with absolute realism. Their word play is marvelous and it is used as a key component of their compositions. The vocal delivery and timing is done with such precision that it makes their flows about as smooth as butter. The choruses and hooks are also very good and stay diverse throughout. Featuring on the album is K-Jam, Little E, Shay Mo and Chris T. Overall, this is a wonderful work of art with eighteen bona fide tracks. It is amazing to hear such a release that did not get infected by the times. Not only do these two stay true to their art but they also send out a very strong message. They portray themselves as who they are and not what they want to be. The reality is in their music and it oozes a compelling vibe when played. It is now up to the listener to discover this hidden gem and reap the rewards from it.

Deadly Verses
Can't Change Me

Album Notes
* The proper spelling of their alias is N.U.T.S.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Aggravated - Mexicans & Cappin'

Aggravated is a group that represents from the roguish streets of Houston, TX. The collective was formed by Filero and Balazo in the year 1994 in the small city of Freeport but it quickly spread to the neighboring city of Houston. While membership has varied throughout the years, the original members were Grimm, Balazo, Shadow, Filero and Lord Loco. Later on they added more members like Slinkey, Pranksta, Big Deuce and Troublemaker. The original members did not participate in this release except for Shadow, who is credited for producing one of the tracks. Mexicans & Cappin' is their fourth album and it was released in 2002 on Aggravated Records. The bulk of the production is handled by Big Deuce while Shadow chips in on one of the tracks. The beats are very generic to be quite frank. They are certainly lacking that dark, street vibe that Aggravated was most known for. The foundation of the rhythms seems to be very basic and any use of real instruments is definitely absent. There are only a handful of tracks that really stand out while the rest are largely mundane. This type of moderate production could only be blamed on the missing cast of members, who would initially help in producing and guiding their prior releases. Lyrics are mostly satisfying but again, they are lacking that charm and the vibe of the original group. Slinkey, Pranksta and Big Deuce are respectable on the microphone and their rhymes are delivered precisely. They can display their vocal artistry with ease and their lyrics carry more of a contemporary feel. Guest appearances are made by Sambo, O.Z., Lady G and Diva Nay. Overall a decent effort by the group that has an ample total of sixteen tracks. This is another one of those releases that became a victim of the sound change that occurred after the new millennium. Aggravated was always known for their harsh and edgy personas. Their style and flair is what really made them stand out among many artists from the city. But when that change came, it was either jump on the band wagon or get left behind. This rendition of Aggravated is the result of that very jump and it is now understandable why the original members did not want anything to do with this release. This album is also marked as the last album by the famed group.

Deadly Verses
Locs At Night

Album Notes
* Aggravated is also part of the South Park Coalition.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Chono - B-Mov-N A-Round

Chono is a rapper and producer who hails from the rough streets of Dallas, TX. He represents for the sub genre known as Chicano Rap. He is regarded as one of the early artists for that genre and is also credited for forming the Chicano movement in the Dallas & Ft. Worth area. B-Mov-N A-Round is his debut album and it was released in 1994 on his own label known as, Outta Da Blue Records. Production is solely done by Chono, himself and it is quite bland to say the least. The beats seem to have been cut & pasted together and the whole foundation sounds very dry. A good number of them are sample driven and no real instruments are used in the creating process either. Lyrically the album is mediocre at best. Chono's tone is very dull and could literally lull one to sleep. Word play is used but at a truly modest level. Rhymes are delivered at a fixed rate and they are certainly lacking energy as well as enthusiasm. The album finishes with a meager total of nine tracks which turns out to be a blessing in disguise. Although, Chono would have a very tough time competing against his counterparts in Houston, such as South Park Mexican, Grimm, Lifestyl and many others, this release should still be looked upon as a humble beginning for the artist. Now the record won't take home any awards but it still deserves a honorable mention due to the fact that Chono was one of the first Hispanic rappers to represent for Dallas.

Deadly Verses

Album Notes
* A big thanks goes out to the homie malick for providing this one.
* Chono would later change his alias to Chono Brown.
* He would then reappear in 2003 with the album, South Coast Ryda.

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 that much 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.