Saturday, December 30, 2017

Pac Da Great - This Is How Da Pimp'in Goes

Raphael Mathis, better known as Pac Da Great, was an artist from the notorious neighborhood of Adamsville in Atlanta, GA. Pac made a name for himself on the West side of town as an upcoming rapper and a well established pimp. Well renowned artists such as Ludacris and Killer Mike, both credit Pac as a major influence on them. Killer Mike, who is from the same neighborhood as Pac, cites him as a mentor while Ludacris was one of the few disc jockeys to give Pac's material a meaningful rotation in the underground club scene. After serving a stint in the state prison, Pac hooked up with Virgil "Da Brain" Brannon and Marcus "Lil' Bo" Skrine of Get Funky Records. This Is How Da Pimp'in Goes is his debut album and it was released in 1994 on the aforementioned label. Production in its entirety is handled by Private Eye and it is quite excellent to say the least. His encoding pattern is very funk and bass driven. This results in a melodic overdose of smooth bass lines which are fused with groovy guitar licks and finished off with some twangy keyboard strokes. This sort of flavorful approach sets the right foundation for the artist and certainly tips its' hat to the division of Southern Funk. The producer and the artist also decide to include a few cuts that pay homage to the Bass scene which was really prominent in Atlanta during the early nineties. The record is also lyrically potent. Pac is very resilient upon the microphone and it shows in his rhymes. His laid back tone and the pimp tight persona are something to behold. His impeccable delivery is also accompanied with some strong word play which in turn makes for an exceptional combination. Although his approach is methodical and some might even say basic but there is never a dull moment in the verses. Subject matter is pretty much kept in the "Pimps & Macks" category but there are times where the artist will leave this comfort zone and that is where he truly excels. He also makes some bold statements regarding the pimps in the neighboring state of Tennessee, Orange Mound Memphis to be exact. While he does not say any names, one can easily sense that he is referring to the legendary duo known as, 8-Ball & MJG. Guest appearances are made by Code 3, Private Eye, Big Roe and Donata Echols. All in all, this was a formidable release and it is one that definitely left its mark on the genre of Southern Rap. Not only because of the compelling content but also because of the untimely and tragic demise of Pac Da Great. According to his mother Cassie Mathis, Pac was killed in a car accident on September 27th, 1996. He was the passenger in the vehicle and was ejected on impact. His body was then crushed by a fleet of Semi Trucks. He was only twenty five years old. Rest in peace to one of Atlanta's finest.

Deadly Verses

Bend One In My Lack ft. Private Eye & Donata Echols

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Slater - Can You Feel Me

Curtis Slater is an artist that represents from the rampant boulevards of San Antonio, TX. A well renown figure in SA Town's underground rap scene, he is highly remembered for his rapturous flows and energetic performances. Can You Feel Me is his debut solo album and it was released in 2003 on Top Entertainment Inc. The record is excellently produced by Houston's very own, Sean "Blaze" Henderson who is also assisted by Key Jay. The mixing and mastering is provided by the magnificent, Ricé. The engineers do a solid job on the beats and the end result is quite pleasurable. The rhythms presented here are Southern in nature so one can easily expect the use of jazzy horns, conventional hooks and some twangy guitar work which is provided by Paul Olivarri. A few of the beats are sample ridden while the rest are all original in composition. The two most notable samples come from the Ohio Players' "Fire" and The Crusaders' "Street Life." Lyrics are also on par with the rhythmical structure that is given to the artist. Slater's rhyme scheme might be typical but he does carry the ability to take the listener by surprise with his bold tone and a quick change of pace. He can also attack with a decent vocabulary as well. Subject matter is kept versatile and various styles are provided for the listener to keep them hooked. Guest appearances are made by D'nae Slater, Danielle Hamilton, Chris Benson, Ghetto and Big Turk. The album closes out with a total of thirteen tracks and also includes a bonus Eighted & Chopped disc done by the masterful, Mike Moore of the infamous Beltway 8 Records. Overall it's a dope record that gives off a satisfying vibe and has the power to play on both ends of the musical spectrum. A feat that is not easily attained but rather achieved by giving attention to the smallest of details. That alone places this album in the category known simply as, a diamond in the rough.

Deadly Verses
Good Life ft. Danielle Hamilton

Can You Feel Me

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Wet Boys - 6 Ft. From Home

The Wet Boys was a relentless group that represented the illicit streets of New Orleans, LA. It was headed by the formidable Sporty T along with Black John Gotti and the in-house producer, T-Bone. The group's only claim to fame was their war on wax with Cash Money Records and the nefarious, Hot Boy$. As it is customary in any verbal exchange in the Rap Industry, it does not matter who starts it but rather who finishes it. Although, Sporty T was a legend in his own right, the Wet Boys simply cannot hold a candle to what Cash Money Records and the Hot Boy$ accomplished in city of New Orleans, let alone the South, period. Now, as far as the battle of words go, Sporty T may have had the upper hand only because of his lyrical prowess and his furious tone upon the microphone. 6 Ft From Home is the third and final album by the acclaimed group and it was released in 2001 on Sporty Records. As always, the production is handled by the masterful, T-Bone and it is quite respectable to say the least. His edgy and eclectic style is brought to light by the use of various synthesizers and drum machines. The beats also tend to carry a street savvy vibe and will at least, keep the listener engaged. Lyrically the record is rather on the strong side and that is mainly due to Sporty's powerful lyrical skill and dexterity. His delivery and technique are both unmatched. Not to mention his aggressive tone that is accompanied by his equally wild persona and it is safe to say that Sporty belongs in the upper echelon when discussing lyricists representing the State of Louisiana. The core content is where the album really takes a hit and suffers. While there are some new cuts, most of the tracks have either been recycled from Sporty's previous solo outings or the Wet Boys' prior releases. The record lacks a polished feel and seems as if it had been thrown together overnight. It appears as if Sporty T was attempting to make up lost ground to Cash Money Records and was trying to release something to derail their massive success. Around this time, Sporty was also heavily involved with another group known as Da Wild Boyz, which was basically another collective whose main goal was to go after Cash Money Records. It is unknown whether or not both sides resolved their issues and its a topic that will remain shrouded in mystery due to the brutal murder of Sporty T in 2008. May he rest in peace.

Deadly Verses
6 Ft. From Home

Saturday, August 26, 2017

2 Real - Any Last Words?

2 Real is a duo that represents from the relentless streets of Houston, TX. The group is composed of brothers Lil' V and Lil' D. The brothers also alternate their aliases as Vinnie Valentine and Mr. Everline. Together, they hold membership in the local collective known as the $tack Pack as well as the legendary, Killa Klan. 2 Real first started out in the mid nineties and debuted with the now highly covetable, "Welcome 2 Tha Real World." After about a fifteen year hiatus, the group finally decided to make a return to the underground rap scene. Any Last Words? is their sophomore effort and it was released independently in 2012 with limited copies. The album, which is somewhat of a mix tape and not an official record, was basically put together for their loyal fans who have been begging to hear some new material by the group. It was also an attempt to get back into the music industry with the hopes of being picked up by a major label. Most of the beats are borrowed from other artists but there are a few that are original in composition and are produced by John Brown The Rebel. His production pattern is pretty solid to say the least and it fares quite well with the overall sound that the group is trying to achieve. The beats are a bit contemporary in structure but they still carry that distinct underground sound that Houston was most known for. The process of sampling is also used by the producer to attain that desired melody. The two most notable coming from Johnny Cash's "Hurt" and Rick James' "Teardrops." Lyrically, both members may have lost a step or two since their last outing but it's good to see that they can still hold their own on the microphone. Their lyrics are still delivered cleverly and aggressively with extra attention towards word play and detail. Rhyme schemes and speech rates are kept at a varying pace so there's never a dull moment. Subject matter is also pretty diverse and open which in turn appeals to a broader audience. Guest appearances are made by Drankk $inatra and various members of the Killa Klan in the form of skits. All in all this was a very respectable release and it's one that certainly pays homage to the group's origins. As we all know, music as a whole has continued to evolve and even the South is not spared from the horrid renditions of today's popular selections. Artists are either selling out for money or for mass acceptance and reception. Still in the midst of all the nonsense, this group showed what it means to keep it real by staying true to their art and to themselves.

Deadly Verses
Revenge So Sweet


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Bumble B.H.E. - Pain

William Jackson, better known as Bumble B.H.E., was a socially active artist from the savage streets of Dallas, TX. He is often remembered for his controversial lyrics and equally provocative civil views which were the main cause of distress upon the media, politicians and even the African American community in the early nineties. Bumble B.H.E. first started off with the famed group, Nemesis but would soon leave them over creative differences. The differences being about the overall sound and the message the group as a whole was portraying. Pain is his debut solo album and it was released in 1992 on 380 Recordings while also being distributed through the larger and well established, Ichiban Records. The production in its' entirety is handled by the talented group of producers known as, The Bump Godz. The Bump Godz consists of Brother Black, DJ Zero, I.C.E., Suave-X and Bumble B.H.E., himself. Although the rhythms are all electronically derived and most are sample ridden, there are tracks where the producers incorporate live instruments such as horns and various types of guitars. The beats are of a simple nature and are generally presented in an uptempo fashion. This set up remains constant throughout the album and really does set the tone for the entire project. Lyrically, the artist is pretty blunt upon the microphone. Both his tone and persona come off as quite aggressive and he seems to get his point across with ease. His rhymes follow no dictated pattern which results in a very candid and honest approach. Guest appearances are made by Mad Wisdom and Gretta Epps. The record closes out with a total of thirteen tracks with each one being more ruthless than the next. The core content is of a harsh yet truthful nature as one can sense from the album's title and the intrusive caption printed on the cover. Overall the album does carry its' own charm but it can also get a bit redundant at times with its' brutal content. Nonetheless, the message it conveys is of an imperative nature especially when considering the turmoils and unrest which still plagues the African American communities to this very day.

Deadly Verses

If This Gets Out (It'll Cause World Wide Panic)

Sunday, May 28, 2017

De' 1 - 16 With A Bullet

Martin Crawford, better known as De' 1 or Kid Deleon, was a rapper from the vile streets of Houston, TX. Although he is a native of Texas, he does seem to have some strong ties with the East Coast. He first appeared on the song "Flow On (New Symphony)" by Lords Of The Underground. It was this track that made the legendary production team of Marley Marl & K-Def take notice and really see the raw potential of De' 1. With the artist and production team assembled, work would soon begin for a full length album entitled, Day One. 16 With A Bullet is a Maxi Single from the aforementioned album and it was released in 1993 on Reprise Records. Side A consists of the album and video versions of the song, 16 With A Bullet while Side B contains Da Underground Sound and an alternate mix of the title track. All tracks were produced by the magnificent, Marley Marl who certainly provides some noteworthy hits here. His signature style of heavy bass lines and jazzy horns is used effectively throughout the cassette. His exceptional choice of samples and the smooth use of snares simply cannot be denied. Lyrically, De' 1 can more than handle his own on the microphone. His flow, delivery, pace and technique are on an another level. He is not your typical Southerner in the lyrical department but instead he models his rhymes after his East Coast colleagues. This unique characteristic along with his flavorful demeanor is what tends to set him apart from others. Guest appearances are made by Marley Marl, Lords Of The Underground and Sha-B. Music videos were also recorded for both the single and the B-Side in an attempt to create a buzz around the new artist. True Homies, another single off the album which was also accompanied by a music video, was released the following year in 1994. Then for some odd and bizarre reason, Reprise Records pulled the plug on the entire album. Day One was never officially released and De' 1 was never heard from again. It is truly a shame to see such talent go to waste and a work of art be neglected in this manner. Especially when all the hard work was already done and the album was pretty much completed. The photo and video shoot were done. The singles had been carefully hand picked and leaked out to the public. The promotional material had been passed out to clubs and disc jockeys. Everything was in order, which is why it's confusing that suddenly the parent label would decide to shelve the album altogether. Fans of the underground are still yearning to this day to hear the album in all its' entirety. In the end, not only did this young man represent the city of Houston to the fullest extent in the far regions of the East but he also managed to go blow for blow with some of the best that ever did it.

Album Notes
* For the vinyl version of this single, check out the post by Alexandre over at Circuit Power.

Deadly Videos
16 With A Bullet

Da Underground Sound (Remix) ft. Marley Marl, Lords Of The Underground & Sha-B

Monday, March 27, 2017

Wet Boys - Puttin Out The Fire Vol. 1

Wet Boys was a group that represented the murky bayous of New Orleans, LA.  The group was founded in the mid nineties by the pioneer, Sporty T. The main cause for the group with their opposite moniker was to continue the war on wax between Sporty T and the Hot Boy$ of Cash Money Records. The Wet Boys consisted of T-Bone, Sporty T and the Black John Gotti. Puttin Out The Fire is their debut album and it was released in 1998 on Sporty Records. The production is of superb quality and is entirely handled by T-Bone. His strong intent can be heard from the very first track. From the raw bass lines to the woozy hooks to the scintillating synths, all hit in the right place at the right time. The beats are composed with a sense of purpose and attention is given to the smallest detail. T-Bone may not be as flashy or even as gifted as the rest of his contemporaries but what he lacks in experience, he makes up in presentation. Lyrically the album is also pretty strong. The subject matter may be redundant due to all the tracks being directed as a shot towards the Hot Boy$ or Cash Money Records but there is never a dull moment in the rhymes. Sporty's flow is certainly in the upper echelon when compared to his counterparts. His change of pace, his firm vocabulary and even his occasional humorous tone are a sight to behold. Combine this with his veteran status in the Rap game and one has a commanding figure in the studio and a brute upon the microphone. Guest appearances are made by Ice Mike, Greg and Lyric. The album closes out with a commendable total of eighteen substantial tracks that certainly give some insight on the beef between the two parties. The record as a whole is a respectable one because of the quality production and the lyrical content. It is also an extraordinary piece when considering the history between the two camps. Sadly, Sporty T was murdered in 2008 which ended the feud once and for all. Rest in peace to one of New Orleans' finest.

Deadly Verses
Rope Round Ya Neck