Sunday, July 31, 2005


big pokey po-yo podiena. coming from the southside of houston like everyone else, third ward, holding his ring finger in his with the thumb in the 'sittin sidewayz' video-- "parlay in the trey, bang marvin gaye, yellowstone where i stay." check any picture of him, dwarfing anyone else in it, fucking HUGE, "niggas know i'm three thirty on the scale, all about my motherfuckin mail"-- playing football for the abilene christian college wildcats and doing exercise science and health on a scholarship and doing twenty minutes at a time on westside connection flows for screw's headed to da league tape in 96, when he was in nfl camps (i heard oilers or cowboys), leaning and replacing his electrolytes drinking powerade and yellow hydrocodone. dozens of classic flows on the grey tapes, where you can wreck a hundred flows and still never make a name off it (wood, grace, al-d, mike d, half a dozen more), but pokey does, outshining the giants like pat and keke and e.s.g.-- going back and forth with keke for twenty minutes on their plots and schemes flow (a tape that's usually hanging at number eleven on the my top ten, up around three or four when i'm actually listening to it), trading three or four, five, six bars before interrupting each other, ending it when keke falls off on the flow and you hear pokey in the background calling, MOE!! MOE!! MOE!! and big moe comes in with an improvised hook before keke starts in again with a story about getting jacked coming out a stash spot and po gets his confidence back.

pokey's promotional eight by ten black and white is hanging on the wall behind the cash register at q.c. tapes and cds on albert street. right at the corner of 5th avenue, across from the army surplus store, go in through the ENERGY DOCTOR jacuzzi place that's connected to the automatic transmission center with the faded greasy parrots and palm trees painted on the windows. tucked in a connected side room, selling the same tupac/native pride shirts as the bannock shack at 5th and cameron used to sell, triple 5 soul hoodies, local underground rap on consignmnent, corny vancouver and winnipeg underground, midwest underground like tech 9ne and do or die, SUBWOOFER FOOD car audio cds, master p and silkk, and all the late 90s houston albums that always kept re-appearing on the shelves after i bought it. all the houston shit that even chain stores up here have sixteen copies of: keke's platinum in da ghetto, troy's sittin fat down south and back to ballin, the leprechaun (still playing that in my car, just today with on point turned into the mid 30s with my pantlegs vibrating), throwed yung playa by yungstar. that black and white shot of him backlit by warehouse glass with the sun coming thru, polo fleece with the plain crisp white shirt under it, head tilted with a short chain and a fat piece around his neck, universal records on one side of his name and chevis entertainment on the other. got his deal, fucked it up and lost it before paul wall and mike jones were on their first swishahouse tapes (and eventually down with wreckshop on salih williams beats, even, way 'back then').

INTRO / HARDEST PIT -- that obscene cover with him leaning back with a frothy mouthed chocolate pit on a leash, surrounded by dogs and tall CITY DOG POUND walls. so the intro is the story of the hardest pit in the litter, " that dog THOED: mama tiger striped, daddy red nosed," getting bought by some briefcases of cash niggas that pull up in a coupe. sliding into that sped-up 'you're nobody' beat, pokey telling you it goes down for real instead of puff reading psalm 23, expecting to hear "niggas in my faction..." to lead it off instead of "take a trip with me til i infiltrate your noggin." that twisted up lyrical houston rap that everyone wants, "if you swing i'm bobbin, even if i'm dogged out mobbin / on the dope corner in my jordans / niggas is starvin and need to get they game sharpened / out their robbin bound to get they days darkened / i keep my fo-fo barkin for them lames larkin / and them bustas plottin on me in the valet parkin." easy b.i.g. comparison that you always hear with pokey, yeah, introducing that thick flow with the slight rasp, everything coming up from his fat neck, that similar, i don't know, sway, pattern, oldtime southside playa shit with polo fleece and versace sunglasses looking and sounding a lot like big in coogi sweaters and versace sunglasses.

RANGE ROVER ft. BIG STEVE -- "let the top drop in the bentley az-ewww-urrr / mafioso and po-yo is wreckin fo sho." big steve aka grandpappy mafioso from the woss ness click, dropped my testimony the same year as hardest pit, two cadillacs and steve in times square on the cover, some kind of lost classic with that e.s.g. and pokey song, shot himself the same year cause flip says r.i.p. on his southside still holdin flow. real hard mr. scarface is back drums and cheap keyboard stuck perfect between westcoast gangsta whine and sucking dick on the dancefloor atlanta gay european disco whistle. "snappin they backs and bleedin mics on wax / in fact a bunch of crack took me to my stacks / now relax and feel the heat from this verbal impact."

REPATATION -- that real oldschool-sounding swagger like everyone was doing in houston if they weren't doing fake westcoast gangsta type rapping. talking about the s.u.c. rappers that sounded like they were listening to slick rick and whodini and big instead of b-legit and c-bo-- rapping with those stacked on top of each other lines, recite them to yourself with a really exaggerated 80s new york style, that certain style of i'll-take-your-girl song like pat doing 'why you peepin me,' talking like their hometown but, you know, spelling out names and talking about verbal and lyrical and playa haters and polo and foreign cars. "cream coogi longsleeve blendin in like weave / as i strive to achieve and see my digits incline / in my prime right now, vocals slicker than slime."

BALL N PARLAY ft. LIL KEKE, MR. 3-2, BIG MOE -- this is one of those houston classics like 'swangin and bangin' or 'tops drop,' one of those songs all the djs coming out of nowhere to drop houston classics mixes hosted by magno and kyleon are going to have on there three or four times. all about one of those hooks, WHETHER SUNNY OR GREY WE GON BALL AND PARLAYY PO UP DRANK AND SMOKE HAY. songs about saturday afternoons, getting to the spraywash and riding up and down main street jamming 'flossin season' before going to your girl's house, walking around the show and shine in happy valley with hot dogs and yellow mustard and genial old men's impalas and thunderbirds shined to glass, leaning in under hoods to point out those old glass windshield washer bottles and thru windows to look at upholstery and radios.

WHO DAT TALKIN DOWN ft. BIG STEVE, LIL E -- listen, pokey doesn't even get a verse on the track, just doing the hook for big steve while he goes and goes, taking a break for lil e to come in. but steve, everything balanced on every line, memorize it the first time thru, hitting cruising speed by the end of the first bar... "eleven in the mornin, i jumped up in my foreign / popped up, cocked up and my trunk was yawnin / showin high in my ride, widebody finesser / grippin grain down gessner, bout to bust a kompressor / tvs, vcs, that's the way it go down / screens fallin, big ballin, sittin low to the ground / see we floss like true, keep the weed and juice / tall chevy sittin heavy in the two door coupe / mash mode, top to roll, bun b, with a longhaired freak / marqueses in the piece, turn the heat up / cause niggas get jacked, they some cheaters / take the form of blockbleeders / drippin paint off the feeder street / sweepers and tecs, big benz and the lex / five pointers in my ear, fifteen on my neck / big face and checks, navigators and rovers / twenty inches to the floor with my v12 motor."

DOGPROOF ft. C-NOTE, WILL-LEAN -- "dogproof cause we wrapped it." courtney and the chemist from the botany boys doing a dope game track for pokey right before their clover pieces would mean nothing except that they were part of flip's team. pokey with the hardest verse on that sad slow music, coming down extra thick and raspy after will-lean kinda shrill and harsh (and i just realized after playing it sixteen times and straining my brain to pull up who will-lean sounds like on this-- cee-lo! keeps hitting the perfect tone and accent on his voice). "from fifty packs to a vault, gained a massive clout / see, i'm in and out, makin boys a believer / hittin like hurricane alicia givin the block a seizure / motorized stashspot in the four door honda / and this bitch name kianna, she a thoed dope runner."


WHERE I'M FROM (HUGGIN THE BLOCK) ft. Z-RO -- classic lineup off pokey's not really classic at all mobstyle-thru-wreckshop album da sky's da limit, the one with that fake source cover. hard cheap beat with everything on it sounding put together sorta wrong, but two legends with classic verses.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Davon - Bottom Floor (Steele Lock Entertainment, 2003)

I have fond memories of Summer '02 being a real exciting time to be driving around Baltimore listening to the radio. That was during the short period that there were 2 rap stations in town, before WXYV flipped formats, and Lil Mo was their drivetime DJ, and they'd play club music for literally hours every day. B Rich and Mario were starting to hit the mainstream, and the first wave of Tim Trees/Rod Lee hits was really popping off locally, especially "Be Ya Friend" by Davon featuring Tim Trees, a weird funny R&B track with "Grindin'" drums, whistling, and a Trees verse that sounds like it was recorded in a tin can where he sounds real excited about a girl with no teeth. That song was everywhere for a while. But Davon didn't release an album until Summer '03, a full year after the song came and went, and "Be Ya Friend" is all the way at the end of the album. I wish the album had the remix too, which had a lot of Rod Lee vocals and chopped up the whistling bits in a cool way. The rest of the album is alright, pretty competent quiet storm stuff, maybe a little more slicker and professional sounding that Paula Campbell's album, although Davon seems to sing the same melody in every other song. My other favorite song on the album is "Need To Know" over the beat from "I Got A Story To Tell" (I don't know who the guest rapper on the song is, the liner notes don't say).

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Monday, July 25, 2005

field mob - my wheels -- georgia car tracks versus houston car tracks. georgia with these really disorienting acceptable outkast beats, echoing wooden soul guitar shivers and singing on your hook, "brand new twenny fours on the chevrooooolay-ayyyyy, i wash em up every-day, how do you like my wheels (my wheels my wheels my wheels), check out my wheels (my wheels my wheels my wheels)." talking about chevrolet chevrolet chevrolet (but look at p.t. talking about his thunderbird instead of an impala-- the only rapper in the state that represents the ford motor company, about to get his own pastor troy edition f650), generically referenced-- box chevys and donks on this track cause albany isn't too far north of the florida border. chevrolet when houston could be regal, park ave, sedan deville, biarritz, continental, town car, foreigns on chops and swangs. celebrating instead of the real specific o.c.d. details to list up-- using paint for a punchline about it changing more often than the cast of road rules, and saying you got rims big as a ferris wheel, instead of breaking it down about wineberry lacquer over gold cause dead end roll nothin but red, riding pokin 83s with the cragar center button. imagine houston represenatives coming down the street grim and tightlipped in funeral home buicks over slowed down keyboards and big pokey freestyles, coming up to a stop sign and disappointed to see/scowling at a line of furious neon green box chevys monstertrucked on disgusting indecent 26s. "i'm addicted to chopppppppin... iii triee-ieeed to stop... i-i-...i feel the fiends cause see i love chevys the way they LIKE A ROCK... heh...."

pastor troy - where them niggaz at? -- i need to listen to these hard songs right now. always love the slow, pretty houston songs that mix right into the country 100 nitty gritty fishin in the dark coming out of snow hut drive-thru window, pale girl with dark eye make-up passes me my chicken thighs and key lime milkshake. but, woah, flipping to troy on the drive home from work with clay mud an inch deep on the heels of my workboots, after twelve plus hours, sections of arms missing from overexertion, happily squawking the tires at every stop light between work and my mom's house and a shower and dry clothes and watching trading spouses, hard hard music banging in the trunk to clean the day off you before you have to deal with anything. cruising that night with half the back seat pulled down so cool night air can blow over the amp unscrewed down and sliding around the trunk carpet, breathing in thru plastic fins, tethered by the wires into the sub box. hard, disrupting bass that you can feel in your chest when you hold your breath, feel it in your reebok sole on the brake pedal at the athabasca/main intersection, kids in a rumbling s10 with a hood scoop looking over. watery turbo grafx music just visible thru the cracks, clacking snapping top drums. troy flow like a raspy ambulance siren, everything going offbeat out there, like a blend over broken factory noise. barely listening, BLEED BLOOD BLEED NIGGA BLOOD FUCK NIGGA DIE ALL THAT HE HEARD AS THAT THUNDERBIRD PASSED BY.

Friday, July 22, 2005


Thursday, July 21, 2005

Baltimore City Paper article about Ammo, who I've mentioned on here a couple times before. Hearing him rap or seeing him in person, it really is kinda hard to believe he's only 15, 16 years old. The CP site has some good mp3s up by Ammo and Ogun.

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Saturday, July 16, 2005

k-rino - ups and downs -- from the yearly k-rino album, coming in about a month. using that style that you're going to associate more with the missouri city don now, even if rino was standing right there when that ridgemont sound was birthed, pacing the waiting room. coming down out of nowhere on some chopped up sped up gladys knight instead of s.p.c. regulars, and singing softly on the fade-out. taking that southside realism that he was inventing back before anyone remembers, talking about 1984 being the year the wholesale price got cut in half, and taking that defensive south lyricism from when he actually had to talk about actually battling actual new york rappers before new york collapsed in upon itself. talking that really serious thoughtful rap that i'll always be feeling no matter who does it but even more special and believable coming from a man like rino, for real south park veteran, dead end elder with all that neighborhood history in his head. talking about his neighborhood like just some kind of symbol and not even having to shout it too fiercely because everyone listening knows that he's there. sounding like an elected official with all his diplomacy and hopeful solutions. talking about without the hood, who would i be? photo opportunity in front of a local grocery store with the manager and his family on the tiny square stage behind him, everyone from the neighborhood and reporters from the chronicle on the other side of the podium. breezing thru a lifestory with all those careful talking points about co-operation and perseverance in the face of poverty and hatred suspended in it. closing it out by bringing up his man that just got home from being locked up, hugging on stage and getting him to rap the response lines, all true and depressing as hell. blah blah blah talking about "i'm trippin, man. k, man, i tell ya, from the minute i hit the streets they had me set up for failure... back in jail seems more easy than bein in the world... i'm bout to jump back in the game!" "that's what they want you to do! and don't you got a son, dog??" "yeah, he just turned two." "don't give up, that child need his daddy." "yeah, that's true." "wish i could put you on your feet but man i'm strugglin too."

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Scott Seward -- of Why Baltimore House Music Is The New Dylan fame -- on DJ Lil Jay and Rod Lee in Seattle Weekly.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2005

The BELIEVE campaign is something that's been going on in Baltimore for I don't know how long, combatting the city's destructive and violent drug trade with, like, a big vague one word message in all-caps white-on-black on banners hung in front of buildings and printed on trashcans and benches. And they do some things that I guess are just supposed to be good for the morale of the people, like teaming up with the local rap station to put on free outdoor concerts in the summer, whatever local rappers and R&B singers have a hit on 92Q at the moment plus some no-names, the "Give The People What They Want Tour", going from neighborhood to neighborhood every couple weeks.

Last Friday they went to the west side of Baltimore, Edmonson & Carey, the big BELIEVEMOBILE flatbed stage plopped down in the middle of the intersection, vendors and stuff up and down the street. The people from the 92Q morning show, Mark Clark and Troy Johnson and that new girl Sonjay from New York who's kinda fine, hosting and filling time between acts, with Richard Burton (Shamrock from The Wire). Lotta boring talent show type stuff, and weird little contests where they tried to pick a winner but ended up giving everyone involved 92Q gift bags. Dancing contests for different age groups, getting grandparents up onstage to step to "Before I Let Go" and "Let's Stay Together", and young folks bopping to club music, people going crazy and singing along to "Dance My Pain Away".

For a few minutes Richard Burton kept mentioning that a special guest had just pulled up around back, and finally it turned out it was Bossman, who came to perform unannounced. He went onstage with Tony Manson from NEK and said a few words and did a couple songs, "Oh" and "Face Down", real quick, in and out. Bossman didn't take off his sunglasses the whole time he was there, and was over on the side of the stage talking on a cell phone after he performed.

Tyree Colion was another surprise performer, and he just got up and did one song, the "Bass Drop" one w/ the Baltimore club type beat with the Cee-Lo sample. For some reason he made a point to mention that it wasn't produced by Rod Lee, which was odd since he has another song out with Rod on it. There were flyers all over the place for his album -- "Tyree Colion - The Problem And The Solution - In Stores Summer 2005 - Approach Records".

Mullyman came out with the whole Major League Unlimited crew wearing shirts with on the front and the MLU logo on the back (modified NBA logo, the white silhouette with blue on the left and red on the right, except holding a mic instead of a basketball). Sonny Brown was there and spit a couple verses, has a really strong stage presence, more than Mully. They did "Home Of Da Realest" and made a big deal about it being the #1 most requested song on 92Q the day of the show. And he did "Buck On Em" (video here) and a couple other songs I ddidn't know, and he didn't do "Got It" but talked over the beat for a minute. Then they closed with a big singalong of "Oh Baltimore".

I guess things were running behind schedule because Huli Shallone didn't get onstage until a little before 10, and didn't perform for very long, maybe they had to be done by 10 or something. Him and the whole Hit Em Hard Records crew started out with a couple songs over the "ASAP" and "Dem Boyz" beats, reinforcing Huli's whole quasi-southern sound, then did the "This Is My Hood" remix, and closed with "Makin' Moves" and then things got shut down shortly after he left the stage.

next BELIEVE concert:
Lil Mo and many more
July 29th
@ Cold Spring Lane & Reisterstown Road

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Friday, July 08, 2005

Happy birthday to Rod Lee


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Thursday, July 07, 2005

another free concert in Baltimore, this Friday, July 8th
Huli Shallone and Mullyman
@ the intersection of Edmonson Ave. & Carey St.
starting at 6:30pm
co-hosted by Mark Clark from 92Q and Shamrock from The Wire

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Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Tim Trees - "I'll Make You Feel Good"
New single! Wayne Jones is back! Cue the sirens! Premiered and then promptely replayed every other hour on 92Q over 4th of July weekend. Less than a week after I found out that B Rich is coming back out, another Baltimore hitmaker who hasn't made an album in 3 years drops a single. If you didn't see it before check my Tim Trees post from a few months ago, it's one of my favorite GN posts that I've ever done. Anyway, this song. Kinda generic expensive-sounding soul sample beat with a voice shouting "I'll make you feel good!" (is that the title? I'm not even sure). Tim sounds better on those cheap club drums but still it's good to know he's back.

D.O.G. - "Hello"
Sweet pretty love rap from some local dude I never heard of before, the hook is a sample of that Isley Bros./R. Kelly tune "What Would You Do" from a couple years back, Ronald's voice sped up into an even higher register singing "hello are y'all doing tonight...can I keep it real...and say what's on my mind?"

Chrome - "Sting"
Baltimore does dancehall too, apparently. Well I guess the guy lives around here but sounds like he's orginally from somewhere Caribbean. It's got that TKO type vocoded sliding effect on his voice, kinda catchy track.

Q - "Make Her Feel Good" Remix
The guy who had a little hit called "No" last year and then got a weirdly disproportionate amount of coverage in that Baltimore article in Fader, tacking a couple verses onto that crappy Teairra Mari song, but keeping it real Bmore with references to chicken boxes and half-and-half (half lemonade, half fruit punch (or iced tea)).

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Friday, July 01, 2005

star easy ft. big smoove - georgia (video)

shot just about a month ago in waycross, georgia-- fifteen thousand people, less than fifty miles north of the florida border (that's you're gonna hear him talking about donks and swamps). flipping that same ray sample as just blaze (what's up with paying some big deal new york producer his five figure fee to rep georgia?) did for field mob and luda-- but speeding it up and laying it on a real south beat.

smalltown repping with the waycross water tower in that opening shot and real celebration with blue skies and girls-- cute little girls beads in their hair singing the hook, girls with golds top and bottom in their mouth, girls smiling and screaming waycross with their arms crossed, girls with D.S.G.G. and pink bulldogs airbrushed on their shirts, old ladies leaning on canes on their porches, girls shakin their asses, girls freaking out when the camera gets on them. damn near everyone in the city out to smile on a sunny day. bringing thru the impalas and the monstertrucked caprice on 24s and rolling the drive-thru in the bright yellow h2.

and buy the cd, right here, twelve bucks for that real south summer music, sitting on your front step with the stereo playing in the front room and smoking a swisher and watching cars go buy music, riding mainstreet with highschool kids in busted camaros and loud lowered s10s in skittles colors music. you know, all the cheap keyboards slowed down and bubbling under skittery south topdrums and booming south bottomdrums, and star coming down with excited daddy dollars-loving country georgia flow about liquor stores and dope boys and chevys and girls.

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