Thursday, May 19, 2005



E.S.G. - ALL AMERICAN GANGSTA

i wrote about this when it first dropped late last year. illustration of the danger of trying to write about something before you fully discover it, half chew it up and spit it back onto the plate. i want to try again.

this is the album that e.s.g. was talking about since two and a half years ago. he was talking about he was finally going to tell his story, go right back to the very beginning. before the rap stuff. before he really started doing it, known for neighborhood freestyles and street shit ("these motherfuckin niggas runnin round talkin bout, 'hey i got shot twenty times, i got shot--'-- well, bitch-ass niggas, you know what? the charge on my record is for killing a motherfucker") and grey tape shoutouts from dj screw to his boys on lock cause he was in prison when screw was really starting to blow up and switch his format so he could start putting on rappers, like he did with pat and keke and c-note. before he got out and hooked up with screw and fat pat for real, dropped ocean of funk with his texas plated lincoln on glass 84 swangs riding high on a cresting wave, doing nasal hardcore raps in simple patterns on bootleg west coast beats. before beefing with lil flip over stolen songs and money ("eh, hump, how much you pay e.s.g. to get on the h$c album?" "man, i gave that nigga three whupped cookies, told him get his ass away, come back and gave him a fifty pack." "eh, yall, e.s.g. snort CO-CAINE! hehehe") and screwed up click credentials and flip getting shot leaving a club. before signing to, then leaving wreckshop. before teaming up with slim thug, sorta moderating the very real northside/southside rivalry, blowing up off 'get ya hands up' and undergrounds and launching slim thug for real-- that's real because e.s.g. was talking about doing an album with slim called already platinum back in late 2001, so you can see why there's some tension in their relationship now that tha boss is spending that advance, getting his release date pushback re-upped every month or so, wearing rootbeer minks and bapes, hanging out with lindsay lohan. (slim thug is on a few tracks on all american gangsta and e.s.g. say something about interscope not being able to fade his click. e.s.g. first addressed him on family business, an underground from his group with carmen sandiego and brandon stacks that dropped a few months after).

this is e.s.g. doing realest talk out the south. still sounding twenty two, excited to doing what he's doing, enthusiastic about discovering that he gets to do this, say these things. heavy and important like z-ro but never cynical or sad or about his lexapro prescription like z-ro. proud of where he came from, proud of being black and southern and coming from nothing to something and helping people out on his way up. flipping between those sad/hopeful tracks and bloody throwback dopegame narrative tracks.

explaining 'all american gangsta' over chocolate milkshake creamy beat,
taking you thru his neighborhood, people struggling, playing football and getting listed and scouted by colleges and nfl clubs, considering florida state or lsu, then getting locked up for almost three years. "let me put this on ya mind: america, thank ya / you're the reason i turned into the all american gangsta." (the original cover of all american gangsta had a george w. bush portrait but he says none of the pressing companies would deal with him unless he changed it. [i know that cause he got a little sidebar thing in, i think, the source (maybe xxl, maybe vibe), explaining that story, talking about bush being the consummate gangsta ("fuck a bodyguard, it's glocks and mac 10s / i'm like that bitch nigga bush, i'm still gon win")].])

'dirty hustle' with e.s.g. getting hoarse and sad. hard to take most of the time. sorta track you skip to preserve that impact for when you really need it, scraping bad memories off the bottom of the pan, making your eyes water. "the whole world is a hustle, home of the brave and free / with penitentiary workers, modern day slavery / what kinda choices they gave me / play ball or stay in school / convicted felons can't get jobs / who in the hell made them rules? / what about basketball bobby, won't make it to the pros / he averaged 24 but his SATs were low / imagine hearin the gun blow, seeing blood all over the bed / see, al had AIDS so he shot hisself in the head / know sometimes we get scared / lookin ahead past the trouble / the world a hustle lord help us through the struggle."

southern 'juicy' on 'gettin money,' even flipping a "birthdays was the worst days" sample and singing the next bar. coming with real, sad stories over hopeful beat with the kids on the hook: "now what you know about sleeping on old sheets that wasn't no silk / i was coo coo for cocoa puffs but wasn't no milk / and when the heat was turned off i grabbed my grandmom quilt / man i swear times was hard, mama look what ya built." shouts to j prince and master p and the old lady that got her garden cut in half by the city building a new road.

'in my cadillac' with slim thug and bun b doing classic houston track on sleepy beat with winks and sparkles, keyboard whistles, stretched out bass undercarriage. riding wineberry over gold and monoblocks in the old caprice with an impala sign on it or the deville with the big daddy grille. "we in the cadillac that's where i'm at / DTS or a slantback / where your candypaint at? boy, where your cup of drank at? / now, think that some people get tired of hearin bout cash and cars / when you never had nothin, that make you feel like a star / navigation, onstar just to tell where i'm at / sedan devilles, chrome grille, wheels with belts to match / new platinum coupe black, wonder where my roof at!"

getting a thousand pounds from the jamaicans on 'snake-n-da-grass' on dopegame history track. storytelling about moving weed and hydrocodone across the northern border to oklahoma, making deals in a room at a shoney's, his connect getting busted and trying to get him on the phone talking numbers, "said, 'i can't hear ya playa / 'the phone sound distorted' / started thinkin bout prison, judges and lawyers / that's the price you gotta pay when you wannabe a balla / can't drive my impala for the rest of the summer / fuck that shit, 'playa, you got the wrong number'."

'i should hate you' talking about violating the number one street commandment of "thou shall not hate," talking severe indictments of american capitalism in the first 16 ("supply my hood with crack and fry / that's why the prison rate stay high ... gave my hoods guns and keys, not college degrees"), his dad in the second ("see, i ain't hatin but it's fucked up / seein an empty chair at graduation"), south haters in the third ("don't wanna see us shine in the hood / but when their rappers do it it's all good / i know i'm real, 600 thousand independent / fuck a cheap deal, nigga").

[ROUGH GUIDE TO E.S.G.

1) e.s.g. - life of e.s.g.
2) e.s.g. - g-ride
3) e.s.g. - swangin and bangin
4) e.s.g. - the south
5) e.s.g./slim thug/deshawn hill - braids n fades
6) wreckshop family/e.s.g./fat pat - do you love the southside
7) big moe/big pokey/e.s.g. - mann!
8) big moe/z-ro/e.s.g. - we da shit
9) e.s.g./slim thug/lil o - street millionaire
10) e.s.g./slim thug - get ya hands up
11) lil flip/e.s.g./slim thug - realest rhymin
12) e.s.g./slim thug - watch out
13) e.s.g. - dirty hustle
14) lil o/e.s.g. - bend yo knees
15) e.s.g./ajax - tonight
16) e.s.g. - i should hate you
17) e.s.g. - down south
18) e.s.g. - 60 bars]


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