Thursday, March 31, 2005

Tim Trees was the first rapper in Baltimore to get a beat from Rod Lee, back in 2000, which is in effect the starting point for the current era of Bmore hip hop. Club music had already been dominating the city for a decade at that point, and there had been plenty of attempts at club/rap fusions, but it wasn't until Tim and Rod got together and set the standard with "Bank Roll", which was a huge hit, that people had a successful template to work with, club drums slowed from 130bpm way down to 90 so you can flow on it. And people hate on the Baltimore sound, especially in D.C., but fuck it, Rod Lee's drums don't sound any cheaper than, say, David Banner's. Tim's first album was produced roughly half by Rod, and half by another club producer, Dukeyman, who produced "Whoa Now" for B Rich 2 years later. But mostly it's been Rod Lee running the city since then, with monopolies on both sides of the game, club beats and hip hop beats. Countless local MCs got their first or biggest or only hit from Rod (off the top of my head: Bossman, Nature's Problem, Q, Mullyman, Little Clayway, Live Wire, Tyree Corleone, Pork Chop), and Tim and Rod teamed up again in '02 and '03 to do some big local R&B hits with Davon and then Paula Campbell. Tim's first album sold something like 10 thousand, 20 thousand, maybe more, but the 2nd LP didn't do as well, and he never got signed like everyone thought he would, so in the past couple years he's kept a relatively low profile. But he had top billing on both of The Movement mixtapes, including the standout on Vol. 2, "No Club Shit", and last fall he did a record with Paula on the "Breathe" beat that sounded like he wasn't planning on going anywhere. Plus he got a shoutout on Comp's song on the Johnson Family Vacation sdtk ("roll Tim Trees up" - "Rollin'").

Tim Trees - Dalton... Vol. 1 (BDAMORE RECORDS, 2000)

(I'm not sure what the title's about, but on a couple tracks he refers to himself as Timothy Dalton, so I guess he's shouting out his favorite Bond or something)

"Spit" f/ Manny
Pretty awesome intro, starting with nothing but cavernous bass drum pulse, and then Tim bringing a ridiculous double time flow over some of Rod's pizzicato strings like on that Q song "No" that he did last year.

"Yo, I'm So High" f/ Contact
Ridiculous beat by Dukeyman, maybe the best video game sample beat I've ever heard, 8 bit lazer guns going off everywhere with a squirmy 12th note melody.

"Green Eyes"
One of my favorite lyrics about Baltimore ever: "I mean I love my city, but this a cruddy ass town"

"Bank Roll"
"My necklace got me a nickname: treasure chest"

"We Don't Love 'Em"
His biggest hit besides "Bank Roll", probably my favorite. I love the fact that there's an entry for Tim Trees that quotes the opening lines of this song. The mp3 I put up is actually the clean version that's a bonus track on the 2nd album, basically a whole re-recording of the vocals with a lot of the really nasty stuff taken out or worded differently. I used this version so as not to offend your tender sensibilites, and because I like this way this one sounds a little more. My favorite part is how in the first verse he starts out talking trash, I don't need y'all chickens, y'all chickens need me, etc., but then he starts getting a little personal and vulnerable with "I put my trust in a broad and got scarred deeply/I be chillin' with my girl, and that girl would beat me", like he's got some serious baggage behind all his anger against women that he didn't even mean to let on.

Tim says he's "footloose like Bruce Springsteen", I think he's a little confused here. The last line of the last verse is "fuck you, Tim buck two at the same time/bullets rip through you, hit ya man, flatline", which is the hook for a song later in the album, "Timbuktu". He seems to do a lot of that stuff like Cash Money used to do all the time, taking a hot line from a verse and then turning it into the hook of a new song.

"Murder Scene" f/ Contact and Dirty Shawn
Fake newswoman "Sarah Bdamore" voice over: "special report from the 2500 block of Preston St. where police are attempting to abdicate a murder suspect known on the street Dirty Shawn, the scene is horrific. I now hear more bodies have been found, a hell of a price to pay for niggas talkin' too much shit". At least I think she says "abdicate", I guess she means "apprehend".

"Ya' Mean" f/ AE and Bassie
"if i don't represent hard then who will, Dru Hill? I mean they doing they thing, but they sing, I'm too ill"

I love how all the skits on this album are just people talking in some room with terrible acoustics, voices nowhere near the microphone, not like major label skit with fake scenarios reenacted in a vocal booth. "What Bdamore stand for? they got a nigga kidnapped, they know he got dough, so what do you do to him? you beat 'em more!"

Tim Trees - Dalton vol. 2 (BDAMORE RECORDS, 2002)

Tim's manager or whatever Manny: "yo...what the fuck's goin' on, my niggas? yeah, Dalton volume 2, nigga, we ain't clownin' around, know what I'm sayin'? Bdamore Records's gonna do it this year, y'all, Tim Trees will be signed this year, 2002, what the fuck, my nigga? hold it down for my man, know what I'm sayin', fuck the bullshit, fuck that bootleg shit, we on the rise my niggas, stop motherfucking hatin', clown ass niggas, sell units, nigga, holla at us, we might even help you motherfuckin' homos, nigga, do your motherfuckin' job to sell your shit, nigga, stop talkin' bout my man, keep my motherfuckin' man's name out yo motherfuckin' mouth, and that's what's up, nigga, holla"

"Family" f// Tony Boscoe, Stee and S.N.L.
Produced by Stay Getting, who have 2 or 3 tracks each on both albums, and almost the only tracks on this one that aren't by Rod Lee. This starts off with a way sped up helium chirpy sample from Phil Collins' "Against All Odds" that sounds absolutely ridiculous, and doesn't reappear for the rest of the song.

someone: "Baltimore has the highest rate of teenage pregnancy, the highest rate of AIDS within the black community, the highest rate of, um, teens killing teens, the highest rate of teenage suicide, and the highest rate of blacks killing Baltimore, Maryland. And this is where we chose to live."

"410" f/ Little Clayway and Skarr Akbar
Posse cut putting up the area code, with two other local stars. Skarr Akbar has a big local reputation and is one of the only Baltimore MC's that's really gotten into the national mixtape circuit, appeared on some Streetsweepers and DJ L mixes, did some songs with the Heatmakerz, even did some acting and had a recurring role on The Wire, but due to some kind of politics he hasn't been able to get on local radio. I haven't heard much by him, but his song on the first Movement mixtape was really good, and he has the nicest verse on this.

"yo wassup, yo, this ya man Tim Trees, yo, I wanna take this time out to show my fans some love, ya' mean, cause I appreciate all the love and support, y'all give me you feel me, but um, if you listenin' to this shit right now through a bootleg CD, break this shit up right now, go to the store and cop the real joint, right. But I wanted to address these faggot ass hatin' ass niggas out here, man... I mean, these promo ass niggas, cuz, nah mean, I'm talkin' about all these niggas ain't even on my level, you feel me? how many albums is you sellin', g? ya' mean? who's sellin' albums out this motherfucker, that's what it all boil down to, ya' mean?"

"Never Ever" f/ Rod Lee
The track before this, "Did You Miss Me" was supposedly the single but I never really heard it before copping the album, this is the only song I ever really heard on the radio. Starts with Rod's favorite synth horn patch, and has the most amazingly sick revving up bass sound leading up to the beat.

I'm not sure what the title means but it has nothing to do with the guy from Atlanta, who wasn't really famous in '02 when this came out anyway. One of the hottest beats on the album, though, Rod Lee claps in a weird choppy rhythm.

"Spit part II"
Another great doubletime flow like the first "Spit": "I know ya heard of me, young nigga named T with the big D-I to the C-K, N-I-N-E and a half, they call me Calgon cause I take ya chick straight away, oh your man don't like me, what you wanna fight me? split 'em to the white meat with a AK". I never even noticed that line until Lil Jon started saying "white meat" all the time, how far back does that go?

Paula Campbell f/ Tim Trees and Rod Lee - "How Does It Feel"

The song that got things jumping off for Paula in '03 and set her up to release an album in '04 and have a few more regional hits. The only time I've ever seen Tim in person is when Paula opened for Kanye at UMBC last year and he jumped onstage to do his verse. Probably one of my favorite TT verses, too. The whole song, she's on the phone with her ex, played by Rod, telling him off, and by the bridge he's begging "Paula please, pick up the phone". And then in comes Tim picking up on the line: "homeboy, here's the biz, I'm in the crib where you once lived, layin' on ya bed, playin' Playstation 2 with ya kids", while Rod helplessly sputters "who is this?" over and over.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Props to Fader for the article on Baltimore hip hop in their current issue, and to Catchdubs for pointing it out (and for acknowledging GN's own extensive coverage in this field). The article doesn't appear to be online anywhere, but check for it on newsstands. Part of me is tempted to gripe ("they got someone from New York to write this?") or pick nits (and certain parts give me a very strong impression that GN was drew on as a resource, which is fine with me, that's one of the reasons I do this; go ahead and Google a lot of those artists and this is one of the only sites you'll come up with), but for the most part it gets the details right and rings true, Eric Ducker did a good job. It's especially good to see them balance out the background on Baltimore club with its role in hip hop. Local rap has practically always been a bridesmaid to club music (in the local marketplace and in whatever national perception there is), but it finally feels like the scales are tipping or at least balacing out a little more. And I can't be mad at a national magazine dedicating 6 pages to pictures of and quotes from Rod Lee, Bossman, Mullyman and Q, more quotes from Pork Chop and Debonair Samir, and namechecks of Tim Trees, B Rich, Huli Shallone, Nature's Problem, Comp, Dukeyman, C. Miller, Paula Campbell, Davon and K-Swift. I can't be mad at that. As it happens, I have a big Tim Trees post that ties into a lot of stuff in the article that should be going up soon. And this year I'm going to be putting in some serious work to further expose this music to out-of-towners.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2005

maceo - bustin on em mixtape vol. 1

(buy that here)

even though post-flip embarrassment by t.i. has renewed unpleasant atlanta-centric gloating, we have to watch atlanta right now. the nearest competition has very temporarily stalled. houston, re-releasing a halfdecade of material from when no one was listening, putting on robotic punchliners, re-signing washed up old legends to washed up old labels, pushing albums back and back, letting its rappers hang out with pharrell and get slid in their own neighborhoods. and, i guess, new orleans busy with its own internal politics and its few living legends, nothing new there for the outside world. yeah, overstating-- i don't like it either but it's only temporary.

maceo, one of a hundred thousand hungry rappers. coming from eastside, headed toward decatur -> zone 6 -> kirkwood. he's blowing up off hoe sit down, stealing the shine even though it's officially marc decoca's (i don't remember seeing it on the tracklist to the real thing [decoca's second album, just dropped or just about to dropped. get it? coca... real thing... (p drank says: "in east atlanta you cant get past marc's modified coca cola logo, cleverest promo shit in town!")] but it hadn't dropped yet and it's probably definitely on it now)(and this mixtape dropped at the start of the year, a little before the song blew up and he was advertising shows talking about "PERFORMING THE #1 SINGLE IN THE ATL") and ready to push an album off one big single, this one or the next one.

the click is quickflip, various other young cats from his neighborhood. hear them here and there, on hooks or mid-track verses. and giggling and overexcited cheering and over-the-top on the freestyle tracks, fakeish supporting buzz, movement and color like chun-li city market backdrop with fists pumping and chicken in wooden cage: "man, they got guns that'll rip out your intestines--" "WOOOO!!!! COTTTT DAMN!!!!"

split between that fight music with tinny background chants and asshole shattering tympanies and rough outlines of various threats, and sloppy slow girl songs, and triumphant/grim explanations of his history and philosophy. mostly overbasic dope talk-- seriously: "i sold drugs," instead of arcane, metaphorical trap slanging. dropping those straight, literal lines at the entrances to get buck verses, clumsily mixing them up with in-club shootout dream sequences.


maceo - 17 years old -- coming with a sorta weavah-like thing, youngman contradictory storytelling over that slow and simple beat. "used to hustle day and night and still went to school / you was used to carryin a bookbag, i was used to carryin a tool."

maceo - the recipe ft. smoke (field mob) and boo (& gotti) -- sorry, i just love this for smoke's retarded quotables: NOWADAYS DON'T TOUCH THE DOPE, SIT BACK AND MAKE CALLS, MOVIN KEYS I NEVER SEEN LIKE STEVIE AND RAY CHARLES or HA, TAPPIN MY CELLPHONE, YOU THINK YOU WAS CONVERSATIN WITH DJ CLUECLUECLUE THE WAY IT ECHO or CHEVY PENDERGRASS, THE COOKIE MONSTER FROM SESAME STREET WITH BIG YELLOW BIRDS TO SELL. boo erasing the fact that he was ever from chicago, signing to cash money, appearing on another atl track. maceo on the hook and squeezing his own verse in right at the end.

Jae Millz - "Who"
Beat by Ron Browz of "Ether" fame, flailing crash cymabls like the "Lean Back" intro alternating with siren squeals, "you can't find a nigga in the city that's tougher/I got a three year run like TS at the Rucker/don't tell me nothin' bout who the next to pop/cause everybody who's supposed to been hot done flopped"

112 - "My Mistakes"
Trackboyz being maybe the last producers I like that I'd expect to make the jump to R&B gracefully, but this comes together nice, with their griminess creeping in with the backwards kick drum and the ding dong melody but otherwise it's just smooth and melancholy and pleading like Slim and them do so well.

Youngbloodz f/ Mannie Fresh - "Brand New"
I think I'd like Mannie's "ladies, gentleman, barnyard animals" intros a lot more if he didn't do them on every other song. I half expected dude's solo album to have a "Old Mcdonald had a farm" track. And for some reason him producing for people outside CMR always seems like a good idea but so rarely turns out to be any good. But this is at least better than the song on the T.I. album. I like how he repurposes the booming "Real Big" chorus drums as just a texture in the background of this.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

master p ft. drumma boy - there they go -- with that spooky n.o. beat under it with exhaling/inhaling choir and the deepdeep bass undercarriage: "ghetto bill could never be no stunna, nigga / but i got cars for the winter and summer, nigga / you don't know me keep my name out your MOTHERFUCKIN MOUTH / fore i send some motherfuckin killers to your house / the game get real so niggas pack steel / when some shit pop off you better get it how you live / we see em but we don't give a fuck about snitches / we in the club v.i.p. fingerfuckin some bitches." and, shit, imagine that delivered in haggardest, grimiest vintage percy miller voice, torn up throat, commanding and raw. and p brings in his replacement for curren$y, another accentless goofy southerner with east coast punchline approach, drumma boy, who's rapping over his own beat: "YEP!! i'm the truth, you the other man / you think you're hot but i'll cool you like an oven fan / i got them broads sayin 'you so wicked' / straight from south, man NEW NO LIMIT."

lil flip & z-ro - burbanz and lacs -- from that ridiculous rap-a-lot flip/ro album dropped this week. not a jack of the master p track, except the title-- i don't think, at least. or maybe a vague, overclean interpretation: in-house rap-a-lot producers taking that sad, raw 808 bang and snap track and updating with some unclear vision of the future like a 1950s concept car, bubble domes and turbines engines, vicious fiberglass fins. now, compare and contrast. flip: using his wearied, serious tone, drifting inside of sixteen bars from still shedding tears over dead friends to personal wealth disses with no names attached to cheap threats mixed with sleepy weed/cars description. ro: flipping it from grim and slow to doubletime emphasis. and always responding with hurt surprise to the beef, genuinely confused by the fakeness of people he thought were real, wondering why they flipped on him. and running over his lifestory again and waking up to the present and giving his praises to god because he has more blessings than burdens and cars to rap about, hide behind limousine tint and platinum skin in. flip gently singing the hook, "we ride burbans and lacs / black, yellow or blue / that's the only way we ride / choppin blades like screw / i'm the king of the clover, z-ro the mo city don / and all we do is get paper where i'm from."

(bonus: listenin to dj screw, just raced a lexus... master p ft. lil gotti and silkk - burbans and lacs from ghetto d, eight years ago, classic album, classic track.)

marc decoca - can't trap forever -- coming out of atlanta, west side, leaning casual against a porsche's headlight hump on his last album cover with r&b singer clothes on, talking the "atlanta like to get crunk but i stay lyrical and give em something else" talk. closing out his new album the real thang with this track, rapping carefully written and tested lines on throwback real south beat with miles of distance between snares and handclaps canopy and dark mossy forest floor, overblown r&b hook slid in, "IIIIIIIIIIIII--- I CAN'T TRAP ----- FOREVER --- IIIIIIIIIII--- I CAN'T TRAP ---- FOREVER." and grim, obvious, necessary realtalk in his slippery nasal atl accent. talking about racist cops and people that got killed trying to make a living and snitches and making real bad decisions for reasons that are unclear while wishing you could change shit, warning people that are still out there doing what he did to get ready for a change.
let me show you thru my eyes what i see
twelve pull me over just to check my i.d.
think i'd do better dead, r.i.p.
always feel like the fed out to fry me
dressed up but ain't shit changed
misunderstood, can't explain
try hard to escape this game
but i was born with the face of a black man
i'm up, i'm down, i fall
my girl won't accept my call
tried to be the man, hustle and ball
start over again now, beg and crawl
but if i ever get blessed with a son
i'ma teach him how it supposed to be done
show him how to take over the world and be strong
correct all the ways i went wrong
modern day slaves, police gon raid
pray for my black boys on the block
with the dope and the rock
while the ds got the keys to the cage

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

K-Swift CD release party this Sunday for Club Queen Vol. 6

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Tuesday, March 22, 2005

T-Dogg f/ Trick Daddy and Suave Smooth - "Take It 2 Da Streets"
T-Dogg from Ft. Lauderdale heads down the coast to Miami to hook up with TDD and Righteous Funk Boogie (hottest Slip N Slide producer, did most of Trick's early hits but wasn't on Thug Matrimony at all). T-Dogg's voice kinda reminding me of David Banner but with a flow like Trick, annoying shrill hook but the beat is nice and they save Trick's verse for last and he steals it with the old gangsta shit, "fuck niggas and snitches ain't feelin' me homes, but I ain't gonna shoot up ya home, I'd rather shoot off ya face, gon' get you out of the way, SK's, AK's, ok, y'all fuck niggas betta not play, ya better get ya young fuck ass out the way, or get 6 in ya chest and ya boy do the rest"

Ying Yang Twins - "Wiggle Then Move" (snippet)
Another little piece of United States of Atlanta, just 90 seconds. Starts with a woman screaming and then the beat has high pitched violin stabs that seem to be intentionally resembling the shower scene from Psycho. I love the way the girls on the beginning pronounce the g's in "Ying Yang". It's kinda crazy how much "Wait" has taken off but the new neutered "wait'll I show you this/you will never get enough" radio edit is terrible. I sorta hope they come with a more traditional Ying Yang single like this instead of going all the way with "Wait", which would sound great at the end of a split video.

Will Smith - "Mr. Nice Guy"
No seriously Will Smith seriously you guys!! Here's the little hyped up splash back at Eminem and all the haters (what about Jay-Z, though? "Volume 3 still sold more records than Will Smith"). "Sometimes y'all mistake nice for soft so before I go off", calling out radio hosts like Wendy Williams and Larry Elder. Intentionally funny and unintentionally funny at the same time. He shows some of that old Fresh Prince wit, "Will's a nice guy, why he's so nice I'd/let him date my daughter like he was a white guy", but the hook and the beat are pretty cheesy and he could've done it a lot better. He doesn't even really say anything to anyone except that he can buy and sell them, which isn't that impressive re: anyone besides Eminem.

Friday, March 18, 2005

c-murder - the truest shit i ever said

"sittin here in the belly of the beast ... trapped for a crime, behind bars ... i'm locked up ... ain't no love ... won't let me out ... think they testin me."
prison raps mumbled into the greysuited chest of his attorney. with a handheld black radioshack mini recorder on the round table between them. softly intoning the carefully handwritten lines off legal pad, pausing and crooning the hook, reading faded yellowed tattoos off his inner forearms. rapping like a practice, reading under his breath. the only decorations are the little upturned syllables: "mama how you figure i'm a nigga destined for paiiii-uhnn." that bathroom reverberation on the voice still. voice still sinking down to an almost whisper, vocal cords barely vibrating.
but, that confined feeling. grimy, beautiful, loud music rolling around him and his voice never being able to rise up to move with it, get up, diverge, strapped down to that black ink and yellow paper. everything in the same slow, desperate rhythm that sounds like defeat, beatendownness-- but the whole thing a tribute to fuck this and let's get it on and keep getting money and creating real, important things in the face of whatever grim bullshit.
drifting thru the grey hallways, out a window, down the interstate to wander familiar streets and neighborhoods, jogging his memory. remembering a story about a thorough kid, or a girl, or himself. but talking nonspecific, mostly. he talks about a family without names and his city with the neighborhoods mostly missing (until fiend and bg and soulja slim call them out). and music and what he did before music. and rules you should follow. and i think maybe he's talking less personally reckless but with guns still partnered with extended clips and fiends still losing teeth and bodies still rotting in the swamp, etc.
sometimes he's in prison. rapping to akon in place of styles, "writin chickens across the border / what's your number, i'm hurtin, let me get a money order / i owe my lawyer some change now he might drop the case / now if my playa don't shake it i might hop the gate / starin at these walls i'm fallin, they set my court date back / payback when i shake back and cop a maybach / and i'm meetin beans and lustin on king magazine / it seems i'm home free but it was just a dream / i'm locked up."
listen: calling his girl collect to set up the only prisonphone rap on did u hold it down ft. bass heavy. "this c, baby! press zero, ya heard me...." i'm feeling this more than the dirty future classics with slim and geezy. it's that constrained voice and slick, beautiful beat, talking real talk to the woman that's stood by him thru everything.
listen: rapping about staying haunted by the streets and hunted by police, putting money on his head and taking pictures of wherever he rests his head. "cut your speakers up and check out that gutter music" on mama how you figure ft. ms peaches. talking in those extended, hard to transcribe bars: "papa was a rollin stone, papa wasn't home / me, moms, and the kids was stuck at home / i said fuck that, i'ma get paid / i'ma get me and take to the streets and work my way to a key / cause i'm a hustler, jacker of the jackers / make moves with thugs, make moves when niggas show me love / i'm from new orleans, yeah we be ballin / listen to the lyrics boy, the streets be callin / i was on the set tryna set me and wet me up / but these days i beefs like i don't give a fuck / we can all get buck, that's my mentality / i bring you back to reality..."

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Juvenile f/ Wacko - "Sets Go Up"
Probably old news to the real NOLA heads, on Southern Smoke 17 already, but I don't really see anyone else talking about it and it's killing me. Clicky but hard-hitting drums, those high synth blips that sound like maybe just noteless pings at first but then turn out to have a tune, the string swells at the beginning and the foreboding "U...T...P". Juve's life after Cash Money looking good considering neither of his big hits last year were produced by Fresh and I didn't really like his new slightly more enunciated style on nu-Mannie beats anyway, but his voice sounds perfect on these UTP beats. PD posted some real talk the other day about N.O. voices and especially Juvie. Wacko almost upstages him with that last verse, almost.

Joe Budden - "I'ma Hustler" freesyle
"I'm a grown man, I don't have to say 'no homo'/cuz in the real world most niggas Karamo". Why am I not surprised at all that Joe Budden watches the Real World?

Mullyman f/ Freeway and Black Lo - "From The Heart"
I've written about this song before but haven't posted the mp3. Hardly Art, Hardly Garbage has "Buck On Em", which is a remix of this track that appears on the Clinton Sparks LP coming out on Koch next week. CS is from Boston and heavy in the NY mixtape scene but he has a weekly show on 92Q so he's up on a lot of Baltimore shit and I'm happy to see him put Mully on his album.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

trae - drama

the new underground from trae from s.l.a.b./abn/guerilla maab, that scowling, stern rap that doesn't come from anywhere except houston, from the imperious young men in secret service sunglasses and regal black. not even requiring dope game trappings, never giving you a price quote on a brick, just letting you know what they do now, right now. trae talks about rules, his code of conduct, staying principled when anyone can come at him sideways. these are cold and grim lectures. he takes it from abstract to concrete and to the focus of this whole thing, handling his business and exposing these pussy niggas from austin. the silvaback gorillas (yeah, not the ones from south jamaica queens that are beefing with 50 [he's still talking about bang em smurf getting fucked in jail][and remember that trae's partner z-ro still has plex with 50], as the lil interlude interview with domination from the real silverback gorillas explains ["i don't know who these fuckin girlymouth niggas is thinkin they the silverback gorillas"]) don't know the fucking rules, "need your motherfuckin stripes took, nigga, need to be kicked out the hood, nigga!" he explains the story, how one of them tried to get on his record and dissed him when he got turned down ("it ain't even bout the money, i'll tell you how i'ma beat ya / if you real why your soldier was beggin me for a feature?"), glossing over getting jumped at the mall, killing the nascent austin/houston beef that s.b.g. was fomenting. and lots of those spoken word disses that houston rappers love, including phone interviews with various marginal players in the beef. flowing over beats from the game, flip, eminem, luda. features from yung redd, dallas, billy cook. previews of z-ro's album (just a snippet of the mule) and the upcoming abn (sorry, it's: assholes by nature) album (way too short snippet of a track with bun b and paul wall). second disc, slowed, s.l.a.b.'d.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Huli Shallone - It's My Turn (Hit 'Em Hard Records)

The cover (not anywhere online, unfortunately): Huli standing in the middle of the street with rowhouses on either side, holding stacks of bills wrapped in rubber bands in each hand, wearing a white-on-red LRG jacket with matching hat. Solo jumpoff from Nature's Problem, representing Baltimore with traditional east coast street hustler lyrics about how there's nothing worse in the world than a snitch over mostly southern-sounding beats with a grunty heavily accented flow. Album in every CD store and chain in the area since last month. For a long time only heard him referred to as Hulio Shallone, on the radio and even on the 92Q website, but on the cover of the album it's just Huli, no O.

Sample of one of those "Prayer" tracks from DMX albums, the one that starts "it's 2 o'clock and I'm about to hit the streets" etc.

Better Get 'Em
One of my favorite verses on the album: "here goes another one, another bit, another nigga goin' down, facin' 30 plus from the mouth of a cruddy snitch, they on that dumb shit, whole clique you run with, bout to tell them ass niggas, snake in the grass niggas, pile on me cause I got figures, I wish you would, same nigga you grew up with in the neighborhood, backstabbin', not the ones that got habits, I'm talkin' about the ones claimin' they poppin' them guns, you see 'em, they always braggin' on capers, soon as they get out, come home without no papers, always an excuse or some fake explanation, niggas in the hood still embrace him, I don't know why, they back on the block again, done picked up some work, scrambled up a few friends, now they on, done punched in the clock for the cops, lookin' for the next nigga to watch to snitch on"

This Is My Hood / This Is My Hood (Remix)
Huli's first big solo hit, one of the biggest local songs in '04, and the remix that ended up maybe even bigger than the original that jacked the beat from Pitbull's "Dammit Man".

My Testimony f/ Nel
Beautiful fluttering trebly sad melody over clicky drums, heavy-hearted hook: "I'm tired of seein' homeys at funeral ceremonies, moms are cryin' on me, this is my testimony, my life, my struggle, my pain, some of us made the most addicted to the game"

Soakin' Wet f/ Keisha
The previous track ends with a porn soundclip, 30 seconds of moaning and slapping sounds, and then one of those X rated sex jams where even the chorus is dirty as hell, chick singing: "fuck my mouth, nigga, work my neck, ooh I know this pussy's wet, I'm just dyin' to see see how many nuts you can bust for me". I'm wondering if the Keisha on this song is the same Keisha Diggs who's done vocals on a lot of Rod Lee club tracks like "Come On Baby" (Remix) and "Sweet Candy".

Don't Give A Fuck
Has the same sample as Freeway/Young Gunz "Full Effect". I'm kind of annoyed at how sparse the liner notes are, no samples or even producers credited. I like knowing who did the beats on local albums, sounds like the same producer on most of the tracks but Huli never shouts them out.

Take Ya Girl
I wrote about this song a minute ago but just finally figured out where I recognized the sample from, it was also used in LL's "Hey Lover".

Smooth Criminal
No relation to MJ, but one of the hottest beats on the album, feels like a hit but it's too short, barely 2 minutes long.

The World Is Yours
When the album first dropped it looked like the song w/ Paula Campbell would be a hit but now this is the one that's starting to get spins. I really never have gotten sick of chimpmunk samples, and I love the blaring YOOOOOOOURS on the hook. Although, there are so many club joints and R&B tracks on this album that when he says "I came to talk to the ladies for a minute" it's kind of insulting.

Hit 'Em Up
Creeping ominous beat with shouting hook that reminds me of "Throw It Up". At the end of the first verse when he switches his flow up he kinda sounds like MJG.

It's B-More f/ Nature's Problem and 2 Hood
Big finale hometown pride posse cut, but no wait, it's a gooey soft sentimental beat, worse than any of the other ones earlier in the album, with too much singing, and the rapping way too low in the mix, and it goes on way too long.

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Friday, March 11, 2005

Jadakiss - Checkmate
"I ain't mad, I don't wanna sound mad, I feel marvelous." By far the most entertaining thing about the last few messy weeks that wasn't also depressing and overdiscussed was Jada's interviews in the initial Piggy Bank fallout, coming off completely delighted by the whole thing, laughing it off and rubbing his hands together thinking out loud about how this is gonna get him in the news more and how he can milk it for sales. I wish I hadn't deleted the DJ Clue interview mp3 I had, it was hilarious how excited he sounded. Probably had the song done for days/weeks and just added the intro congratulating 50 on the 1.1 million before sending it off to Flex. Hyping the "real response" as being on the Styles album, kinda off the cuff, not as fire as all the message board dudes are making it out to be, no knockouts but he gets in some good jabs, "picture Kiss not come out swinging, it's like going to see 50 at a show and he don't come out singing"/"never the king of New York, you live in Connecticut"/"I did real songs with Big, no made up shit"/"most likely ya new CD is a weedplate, bunch of love songs, 100% pure garbage, just something to break buds on, you should just sell clothes and sneakers, cuz outta your whole camp your flow is the weakest".

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

he's cranking these out now. four discs! disc one, the new stuff, disc two, the fuck action classics, disc three and four, the oldschool stuff. watts might have started the slowed r&b compilations (ehhh but like the song says screw did it first-- he had r&b tracks all over his tapes, almost as much glossy brandnew r&b as west coast gangsta rappers) but you can tell ron c really feels it. he lets his syrupy voice flow over everything, even making the warnings to bootleggers sound sorta sexy ("if it doesn't have the seal on it, baby ... you ... got ... ... fu ... ck ... ed ... take it back and get the ... real ... deal").
you know the basic appeal. everything sounding sadder and sweatier. sweet pure clean female voices turned into fat passionate dirty sobbing. mens voices turned phlegmy and syrupy, and even further into tortured brays or churchbell donging, stretched and sliced and fucked up by og ron c's hands on the record.
this is slow, slow, not some bullshit wattspeed 5% slowed, rocking with the same dj screw tapehiss claustrophobia, getting lost in the nauseating bleariness. ron c fucks with the record, puts his machines and hands against it. he sandpapers the shine off milliondollar production, dusts static over it, draws voices out into airy whisperroars, takes a handful of drums from the left and rolls them into oncoming sound from the other record on the deck, throwing things into opposition, disharmony, chopping up the vocals into abstraction, drawing up halfsentences and slices of words. almost nothing is allowed to play out without being cut up hard, except for the respectful treatments of the real oldschool tracks: "i gotta let this one here ride on out for all the real representers all over the world."
the newschool stuff, obvious choices: lil jon usher luda with all momentum blown away by chop--chop--chop--chopping, sex in the kitchen, john legend unchopped and just letting the machines distorting his voice, lots of fantasia, omarion. and the second disc, the classics, jodeci, brian mcknight, keith sweat, christina aguilera. and two discs of the oldschool stuff he loves, the chi-lites, the commodores, lionel richie, mtume, bobby womack, bb king, letting ray charles play out as the closer with those beautiful horns (precedent set by screw chopping up all those old soul tracks and still unknown gritted pawnshop blues records-- even miles davis on) ("don't be blowin up my hotline talkin bout 'my seeee deeeee sound cra--zy!!'-- it's a oldschool cd, playa. it's supposed to be like this. it was before technology!")
(, has #40 and a good portion of the rest of the series.)

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Do Or Die f/ R. Kelly - "Magic Chick"
D.O.D. trying to follow in their po pimp homey Twista's footsteps for the Chi-town path to the mainstream, first with the Kanye single and now the R. single. They even kinda jack some "Overnight Celebrity" rhymes/flow on the first verse. I love Belo's voice but he never uses it that well. Kells still milking the asian melody thing and doing another ridiculous doubletime verse like on the "Get This Money" rmx on Unfinished Business.

50 Cent - "Get In My Car"
I want you to listen to the sound that 50 makes at the beginning of this song, and I want you to tell me that it doesn't sound like the sound that Scooby Doo makes when he's confused. Seriously. Hi-Tek sure is getting some shine off this album, didn't people know he's been with Aftermath for a while now?

Mariah Carey f/ Fat Joe - "It's Like That" (remix)
Scott Storch re-does the melody from the original beat with his tiresome trademark string swirls (well ok the new Busta song is hot but seriously find a new style!), and another fat man scoops in with a genial guest spot. Joey even drops a Ying Yang reference and whispers for a couple lines.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

the top ten most ridiculous samples/references in Baltimore club music

When it's not original synth riffs and vocal chants, most of the samples in Bmore club music are current rap hits (mostly crunk since the classic "I Don't Give A Fuck" remix; these days you're as likely to hear Lil Jon's voice on a club track as Rod Lee's, which is kind of annoying) and occasionally ancient R&B/pop ("Please Mr. Postman," "Charlie Brown," etc), but a lot of producers have odd senses of humor and make club tracks out of the weirdest/silliest pop culture detritus. It's hard to keep up with who does what, most of the time I hear it on the radio, and even on a lot of mix CD's the producers of the individual tracks aren't credited, but I put the artist/title for the ones I know:

1. Morris Day saying "let's have some asses wigglin', I want some perfection" in Purple Rain

2. the Barney "I Love You, You Love Me" song

3. Chuck Berry's "My Ding-A-Ling" (Technics - "Ding-A-Ling")

4. a little girl singing to the tune of "Get Low": "to the window, to the kitchen, I put hot sauce on my chicken, aww yo breath is kickin'"

5. a guy re-singing the Big Pun "Pakinamak" skit (King Tut - "Back of the Ack")

6. "Uncle Fucker" from the South Park movie (Samir - "Uncle Fucker")

7. the guy from Chappelle's Show saying "I'm rich, bitch" (Technics - "I'm Rich")

8. Redd Foxx saying "you big dummy" (Rod Lee - "You Big Dummy"

9. William Hung singing "She Bangs"

10. that Eamon song

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Friday, March 04, 2005

when super saucy drops, you are going to pick that up ("punk bootleggers, man, they fuckin up my profit") because it is your official album of hot weather: crashing through puddles in spring right now, the first few days you can drive with the windows down and feel hot sun on your arm, playing all summer with the windows rolled up again for the airconditioning, hot nights in the city. it's that so so clean and shiny ultrasmooth stuff and that delusional pimp stuff. he's got a bunch of west coast veterans all over it: e-40, mac dre (rip), butch cassidy, nate dogg, richie rich, suga free. pitbull's on it, chingo bling, sorta okay dopehouse records guys, jay tee, akon (on the beautiful, boring first single), paul wall, avant.

baby bash ft. e-40 and bosco - keep it 100 -- that sparkly sped-up cd scan line squealing under everything! fat smooth hook! beeshy doubletime, wondering why girls are pulling on his zipper! e-40!

baby bash ft. richie rich, awax, russell lee - better than i can tell ya -- the only good way to hear bay area rappers, on sleepy rapturous r&b tracks. triggering grapefruit color sun thru eyelids, warm sun on face dumb bliss feeling. down to do what i gotta do to satisfy the man in me / and from the looks of things, po-pos ain't understanding me.

baby bash ft. paul wall and natalie - throwed off -- perfectly diluted what u gon do electronic roaring and filtered slippery electric guitar, bangs, they wonder if i'm drinkin alcohol or sippin on barre / they fell in love with my car, they wanna marry my cash / they fell in love with a playa cause i'm ridin with bash. (just in case: here)

Wednesday, March 02, 2005


some niggas got that yellow gold, some niggas got that white
some niggas got platinum and bling bling em all night
shit, i know this boy with one gold, no ice
i know a nigga who got robbed and bought the same teeth twice
motherfuckers with fangs, symbols of gangs or they squads
some real and some fraud, spell the name of they broad
got boys that praise the lord with openface and the cross
some did all thirty two and paid a heavy-ass cost
so whether you the boss, the runner on the square
come on down to that south, we got gold grills everywhere

15. d-roc --

14. petey pablo --

13. juicy j --
always been scowling with his lips curled back to show off those beautiful diamond fangs, upgraded to platinum after he got richer, put a bar on his lower teeth and a band of crushed glass across the top.

12. 8ball --

"my baby love it when i smile, says it make her pussy wet and make her nipples get all hard." gleaming oldschool simple golds covering everything.

11. trick daddy --
sort of an iconic grill, i think. you can't front on the fucked up greasy elegance, never upgraded past the throwback grimy gold fronts, always looking permanently dirty and greased up, all the shine gone off it.

10. lil jon --
beautiful grill designed by paul wall, with orderly rows of fat, square, clear diamonds and real platinum because it cost fifty thousand dollars, wedding ring teeth top to bottom. but questionable choice because of the way he rocks it now, playing up that slouchy dorkiness on vh1, celebrity interviewers asking about "how do you eat with all that BLING BLING in your mouth, LIL JON?" check it out in bullshit oakley mp3 sunglasses ads.

9. t.i. --
"wait til i see ya, i'ma slap you in them white gold teeth you got, nigga," talking shit about he heard from paul wall that flip didn't spend any thirty thousand dollars on his grill, told him he'd get a grill just to show him what thirty thousand actually looks like (but it turns out he spent under 25k). paul hooked him up with the platinum and channel set diamonds, basically a replica of what paul himself had at the time. he never smiles so he has to curl back his upper lip in every picture he takes, looking snarly and mean.

8. juvenile --

a long time ago on 106&park explaining ha, playing back a section of the video and free acting as if it was total nonsense crazytalk, getting him to explain what he said, then telling him to open his mouth and show everyone, "that's platinum!" but even when he had gold, before all the hot boys eventually had identical platinum, juve wore his best, keeping it gleaming, looking like tiny perfect android teeth as his slippery smile slid open.

7. chamillionaire --

talking on the batter up flow about "mouth glassy, looking like i swallowed a mirror / brush my teeth with windex to see my ice more clearer." six caps on the top and eight on the bottom, platinum flags with two rows of tiny winking diamonds laid across them. i know it looks real simple from the close-up, but you have to realize that's real honest-to-god platinum in there. that's a twenty thousand dollar grill! and from the right distance, when he opens his mouth, it's a mouthful of brilliant SHINE.

6. baby --
takes a second look to realize what's going on. so plain but it works as a perfect match for his grim foppishness. it's a hundred thousand dollars to coat his mouth in platinum. and a big fat round diamond set in the middle of each of his front six teeth on the top and bottom, reflecting grey darkened platinum.

5. slim thug --
those monumental caps on the foremost teeth, big baroque crowns with rows of emerald cut rectangles and outlined with channel set princess cuts, another perfect match, shouts out exotic gold and diamonds on the northside, right off homestead.

4. mike jones--

the white gold bars on top and bottom, filled with tongue shredding diamond crush. some 2xl oversized grill, too big to close his mouth, looking like he's playing dressup in a real rapper's closet.

3. young buck --

it looks beautiful in those g-unit heavy airbrushed liner photos and shining perfect in greasy fake southern videos. big platinum girder outlines filled in with invisible set princess cuts.

2. lil flip --

new yorkers shout out jacob, flip shouts out johnny, the jeweler who hooked up all those cloverleaf pieces and flip's grill (get your own grill from johnny: 713-774-2553, or visit his booth in the king's flea market in houston, right past the food court). and fuck whatever t.i. says, that's real platinum in there right now, greasy molten shine coming off it, big complex red and yellow diamonds to match his clover pieces. barring teeth and curling his lips way above his gums, grimacing, holding his pieces up to defend against hostile magic.

1. paul wall --

(larger version)

he was designing grills for local rappers for a while before he blew up with it and did lil jon and david banner and chingy and nfl guys, shouting out the number for t.v. jewelry at sharpstown mall on color changing click mixtapes (713-777-2026 and ask for johnny or kevin [the guys that do the actual metal and diamonds for paul]), keeping abreast of grill technology advancements, the first one with rose gold and colored diamonds, upgrading his mouth a couple times a year, just switched it up with canary yellow diamonds to match his upgraded swishahouse piece that he got when he flipped on cham and went back to the camp. he has his whole mouth flooded with diamonds, top row with the orderly rows of invisible set canaries and cutout patters, and the bottom row with a bar of crushed glass, twenty five thousand dollars. he wears them with big smiles, barring his teeth so everyone can get a good look, rapping gleeful about "they think i work for kellogg's mouthful of frosted flakes." look at that! snowstorms on every tooth:

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

thundacat/ss squad - street mix .5 --
shift up, nine nine, cham was on the grind
he ain't really have the time to deal with my bad behind
school i was real quiet, hungry for money
but whether i liked it, it's like i was on a diet
niggas would just ask 'i know cham got the cash
'and you stay fresh, i know he throwin you his stash'
yeah i would just laugh and front like he had fronted me
a hundred gs, but i was strugglin on my ass
and it got so bad me and my niggas had thoughts on blocks
with glocks and pullin them black masks
free cd from thundacat and ss squad. gotta mention that he's chamillionaire's youngest brother, but never really affiliated with the click like rasaq is ("i waited and had to sit disc after disc / what i miss, i realized that i wasn't part of the click"), only ever appeared on two color changing click mixtapes (but one of those appearances was flow over the nba on nbc theme, which a lot of people ended up hearing), got his own money and his own click. it's that quick, clever northside houston rap like cham does, talking about the coupe top is doin gymnastics or got green locked away like the celtics locker room or ain't gotta sugarcoat nothin unless it's a new drop with 22s cuttin or something something something my screens got a hangover. and minus cham's new robotic cadence but with the same precision. and sounding identical to him when he sings on those hooks. he's got original beats and flows on soldier, get your shine on, adrenaline rush (check it against the cham adrenaline rush flow with yung ro), damnit man. real album called texas tech coming in the summer.

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