01 Jay Z Blue Print Tour- Intro 02 Lox Freestyle Feat. Jae Hood- (D-Block) 03 The General- Nas 04 I Got Love- (Remix)- Nate Dogg Feat. Fabolous, Kurupt & Brett 05 The Watch- Ghostface Feat. Raekwon 06 I Don’t Wanna- Capone 07 Sheek- (Lox Freestyle) 08 Keith Murray- (Freestyle) 09 Where U At- Kool G. Rap Feat. Prodigy- (Mobb Deep) 10 B.K. Made Me- Foxy Brown 11 Drug Infested- Bubba Sparkxx 12 Flowers- Ghostface Feat. Method Man & Raekwon 13 Paul Cain- (Desert Storm Freestyle) 14 Fabolous- (Freestyle) 15 Get Up, Stand Up- Lil’ Kim Feat. Cease, Banga & Bill 16 Wreck- Sheek- (Lox) 17 Jae Hood- (D-Block Freestyle)
Yes, I have reclaimed this column (it is very comforting to call a weekly blog post a “column”) for my own, because the man will never hold me back, except if he pays me enough money.
This is the best soundtrack I’ve written about to date, even if i have drastically scaled back my marijuana intake. Just look at the cover. It’s like the roster for America Is Dying Slowly, but all the artists actually gave a shit.
I’ll preface by saying that maybe, if you want, you can get high before listening. Not required.
The Braxtons open things with ‘So Many Ways,’ which is dope as fuck on it’s own before Sean Carter blessed it with a 16; “lyrics by Jay-Z, beats by Jermaine,” that kind of laidback thing. Either I am approaching happiness (knock on wood), or this is the best R&B entry so far. Changing Faces does it’s best to keep that up with "I Got Somebody Else," and actually does a good job, but after you hear Jay on The Braxtons tracks, you kind of want him on every smooth song like that.
Fuck all that smooth shit though. “Wu-Tang Garment Renaissance” is one of the best Wu B-Sides ever. Fuck your opinion. Point me to a better song that’s actually a commercial. RZA is saying if you have knowledge of self, you’ll rock Wu-Wear, and if I was a kid at the time, I would have immediately emptied my piggy bank for a varsity bomber with the Wu-Tang Forever logo on the back on account of this shit. Meth sings the hook (he’s consistently great on hooks - “Raw Hide”, duh) and Cappadonna is at his prime.
Faith Evans is next with "I Just Can’t," and it’s nice, you know, Puffy and Stevie J did their thing on the beat, but D’Angelo and Erykah Badu follow with “Your Precious Love,” so unless you’re changing the world with whatever came before, it’s immediately forgotten in the wake of such a bluesy groove. Bob Power produces this remake of Marvin and Tammi’s classic duet.
Back to the grimey shit. Large P and Pete Rock collaborate for “The Rap World,” a stunningly bland name for a song that brings nostalgia to the surface with a tricky Nautilus sample and the Professor’s trademark Xmas bells. They both produced it, and If i had to guess, I’d say Pete did the drums and rigged up that ethereal sample that floats in the back while Large Professor did the rest. Peace to Johnny Guitar Watson.
Lil’ Kim drops off "Queens Bitch," whose beat is so mean it still makes me clutch my lunchbag with fear, before Spice 1 teams up with The Click for “Why You Wanna Funk?” Spice 1 makes murder sound lighthearted while E-40 is slightly less ebullient than usual, so they end up tempering each other. I’m an embarrassing Novice when it comes to 40 and The Click, but doesn’t Suga T sound like Missy Elliott here?
If you’re facing a joint, “Can’t Call It” is like that point when you’re halfway through and you realize you rolled that shit way too big. Not a bad problem. I wrote about this song amongst other De La B-Sides over here, and as out of place as they are amongst Wu-Tang, Spice 1 and KRS-One, the muted track is a highlight on the soundtrack.
The Braids kick a ghetto version of “Bohemian Rapsody” which I’d really fuck with if it weren’t for the teasing rapper adlibs in the background. I thought he’d rap. Why didn’t he do what I wanted?
KRS-One is next with “High School Rock,” which is kind of like Schoolhouse Rock in rap form, even though Kris would probably spit on that white-washed reference. Then Tribe Called Quest pops up with a Ummah-produced rarity called "Peace, Prosperity and Power," which sounds like Q-Tip justifying his unscrupulous chase for cash, but it’s all for the uplifting of his people, so fall back.
But it gets better. After a wack Jodeci song called “Wild Side” and a snoozer of an Artifacts track (never fucked with them besides this Buckwild remix), Sadat X and Grand Puba take "The Next Spot," trading bars over a beat that Dante Ross had a hand in crafting. It sounds like a Wild Cowboy leftover. Peep Puba’s second verse.
Scarface and Mike Dean collab on the beat for “Skrilla,” which could be the funkiest cut on this whole project. At this point, if you’re not crying from the amount of exclusives that Jon Lovitz has gifted us here, I don’t know you.
At this point, your belt should be busting from such a huge, expensive meal, but you glimpse the dessert menu and you can’t help yourself, you gluttonous fuck. Golden Arms, INS and weed-carrier-turned-potential-Ghostface-ghostwriter (blasphemous) Street Life get together on “Semi—Automatic,” and god damn Deck is in fully evolved, opening verse form.
The Roots follow with “The Good, The Bad and The Desolate” in typical pessimistic form, but Grand Negaz lace them with a smoked out beat and Black Thought gets you “open like parachutes,” so you have to fuck with it. Quad City DJs have to act like that souped up extra dude when you’re just trying to be zooted on the final song, so forget that.
High School High did what Schoolboy Q Jimmy Iovine tried to do with Oxymoron - touch on every sound while keeping the quality above sea level. One of the best rap soundtracks ever. Smoke on.
So I’m doing Mobstyle research over the weekend and I come up on J-Zone’s appreciation post on Ego Trip from years ago. Great breakdown of their significance and their discography, so naturally I begin searching for every single release he lists. I’m good on everything but Pretty Tone Capone’s “Sexy,” which I’ll have to settle for on Youtube for now, and “G-Spot,” from a compilation called “On The Down Low Vol. 1” (take that title however you may).
Long story short, that compilation is hard to find on the internet, as is the second volume. Every day i waste away on the Internet, however, is another day I realize Youtube is the greatest human invention of all time, and being so, it harbors (almost) every song from Volume 1.
The compilation includes 12 tracks, but two are R&B shits, and I find myself way too irritable for R&B lately, so I didn’t bother with those. That leaves 10 rap songs, but only nine are on the playlist. That’s because Youtube had to serve me the cold dish of irony and leave out “Many Styles” by Dem Nigs (cringe), so if anybody has that track, get at me.
Highlights include “T-R-Y-A-D-Z” and Preacher Earl’s “14 Floors To The Lobby,” which is probably the one rap song that most sounds like a video game in audio form.
If you didn’t know, claaa7.blogspot.com is a fucking treasure trove. One of infinite jewels on there is the complete five track Organized Konfusion demo from ‘89, when they went by Simply II Positive MC’s (STP) and were working with the late Paul C. Read the detailed write-up and grab the link at the bottom right here.
Crash Crew (as Disco Dave and the Force of 5 MC’s) - “High Power Rap,” 1986
I have, admittedly, always been somewhat hesitant of early 80’s rap. I don’t know why, but it’s just never grabbed me until very recently. This all sounds very corny, but it feels like I’m on the verge of introducing myself to the real roots of rap. Names like Cold Crush and Furious Five and Treacherous Three get thrown around and are almost like buzzwords (shudder) for rap heads in the know, but I feel like a phony until I’m actually knowledgable and can name all the rappers in those groups and recite every word to their best singles. “High Power Rap” is my start. Stay until the end - Ironman fans will get a crazy dope treat.