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One Album Wonder Wednesdays (West Coast Edition)

by Eric on April 18, 2007

The B.U.M.S.-Life N’ Tyme

Okay, let the comparisons begin….West Coast duo from the bay, decent lyricists, East Coast jazzy, boom-bap beats..Hmmm, Souls Of Mischief, The Pharcyde, or even Tha’ Liks. Well, these comparisons are quite common when a group emerges from the West Coast not sounding like…well, West Coast. I picked up “Life N Tyme” back in 95′ not knowing what to expect. Must’ve been another one of those Tuesdays when you were ready to lay out some dough and there wasn’t a damn thing worthy of picking up. I can’t lie, I picked this album up based on the cover art..yeah, that’s right the cover art. I remember thinking to myself..well, these guys look like they’d sound like S.O.M. or anything outta’ the Hierogliphics camp. Let me tell you, I was pleasantly surprised after giving this hidden gem a listen or two. The B.U.M.S. (Brothas Under Madness…why wouldn’t they be Brothas Under Mad Stress?, I don’t know..anyway) were actually brought on the scene by the infamous Sway & King Tech, M.C’s E-Vocalist and D-Wyze manage to keep the listener tuned in just enough, because the beats are what attracted me to “Life N Tyme”. A perfect album to hip yourself to on “One Album Wonder Wednesdays”-words by Eric

Extra Prolific-Like It Should Be

The Hiero affiliated Extra Prolific was basically a solo act, the creation of MC Snupe along with studio cohorts Domino (not that Domino!) and A+ (of S.O.M.). “Like It Should Be” was released on Jive in 94′. Despite the BOOMING first single “Brown Sugar”, Extra Pro was dropped from Jive shortly thereafter, and that is a damn shame! Brace yourself, I actually favored “Like It Should Be” over anything Souls Of Mischief ever dropped. It would also be safe to say that this is my favorite Hiero release..Period! Ok, you can breathe now and let me justify my stance. This album is just a feel good album with an abundance of highlights. Lets start with the opening lyrics to “Brown Sugar”, “I had bit**es, freaks and all that sh*t”… MC Snupe was just dope..I loved his flow and voice and he was one of those cats that seemed to coast over the lovely backdrops provided with an effortless swagger. And what about “One Motion”, if that cut ain’t funky I don’t know what is! Man, I truly do love this effort from Extra Prolific and while they aren’t really a “One Album Wonder” (In 96′ Snupe returned with a record “2 for 15″ recorded from his own label, Security) I just had to share this one with those cats who’ve never peeped this release. And of course for all you Hiero headz there’s guest spots everywhere. For instance, Casual positively steals the brief “Cash Money” and Opio may have gotten a head up on “Now What”. Regardless, even if second tier Hieroglyphics, “Like It Should Be” is ill and just IMO has a plethora of exceptional tracks. You can hit me up on this one! -words by Eric

Penthouse Players Clique-Paid The Cost

America is dying slowly and Oprah is blaming it on Hip Hop. Between Don Imus publicly losing his mind and Al Sharpton crucifying the usage of the B-, H- and the N-Word and declaring who can say what, your favorite Samaritan turned activist Oprah Winfrey, is bringing out the big guns, shooting at anything moving coming out of the Hip Hop nation! There is a hole in our generation’s soul and a deep-rooted lack of substance and self-consciousness, the global materialization of capitalism in the western world and the general negligence of education (mostly based on poverty) but like I said, Oprah is blaming it on Hip Hop. Now, I wouldn’t co-sign most of the misogyny or the raping of the English language displayed in today’s music, but I always thought that Hip Hop is supposed to be a form of expression; and poetry a reflection of the author’s characteristics and a window to his soul. So, I find it highly symbolic that the architect Eric has chosen the Penthouse Players Clique’s album; an album that embodies all the “filth” Oprah is so upset about. The rappers Playa Hamm (rocking a serious mustache) and Tweed Cadillac were some well-dressed, serious but old-looking dudes who had teamed up with the west-coast’s best kept secret-producer at hand DJ Quik, to release a musical masterpiece on Eric Wright’s Ruthless Records in 1992. For the most part, this album flew low under the radars. A former bodyguard named Suge Knight had surfaced out of nowhere and had managed to muscle the labels powerhouse Dr. Dre out of his contract and consequently, Easy-E (his own sophomore release “5150: Home 4 tha Sick” wasn’t really successful and MC Ren’s attempts to continue NWA’s legacy felt mediocre) had to broaden his horizon and look for new talent and some new producers. Quik’s production was extremely refreshing, overshadowing his own two albums “Quik Is the Name” and “Way 2 Fonky”: He used pounding drum-sequences to underline heavy funk grooves with bass-lines that blew out your speakers. Besides the two aforementioned rappers, Quik himself, Easy-E and AMG were all over this record. Lyrically, Playa Hamm’s two-liner on “They Don’t Know” sums up their entire concept: “The P, a playa, a pimp, so add some paper / All combined to give these others the vapors”- I think you can get the picture! Overall, I had a lot of fun listening to this record because I “believed” those guys- you be the judge…-words by Rasul

Anotha Level-On Anotha Level

Here’s a good story: I was living in Brooklyn and one day, one of my Homies from Munich Germany called me… After exchanging all the obligatory kindnesses and asking about our whereabouts, he wanted to know if I had heard about this group!? Now, if you live in New York, you don’t necessarily hear about new fresh-coast artist (besides the Dogg Pound: But that’s another good story of how your boy single-handedly started the East-Coast / West-Coast War- I bullshit you not!!!) and I decided to buy the tape and give it a fair shot. Well, I didn’t like them! They sounded and “looked” too much like the Pharcyde and I didn’t appreciate copycats. So the tape flew around the house and me and my roommates would occasionally pop it in to hear something different (came to find out that girls thought they were cute). I don’t want to say that this composition has grown on me over the years: It definitely has its moments (“Just Feelin’” with its soothing production and “What’s That Cha Say” to name a few) and indeed, it strongly reflects the diversity of sound in 1994 and how the mental borders of music were beginning to defer, but it somehow fails to be categorized as an innovative piece of work, although I’m sur

e a lot of you guys will enjoy this. The content is mostly bland and one-dimensional (Read: Party, Women and Blunts) and Ice Cube’s cameo on “Level-N-Service” will hardly save the day. Still, a good pick by my man Eric ’cause it perfectly fits today’s category..-words by Rasul

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