Ahhh, it feels good to get back in the “groove” of things. I can’t even recall the last time that I posted on three consecutive days. One of the things that I did when I first started this “site” was just drop Classics left and right, like they where goin‘ out of style. It was both a gift and a curse, it did quickly put W.T.R. on the map and attain an instant following. However, I really didn’t get the chance to “speak on” such classics as Common’s “Ressurection“, Rae’s “Only Built 4″, Das‘ “Dead Serious” and so on cause’ I was to busy uploading albums on a daily basis. So, I guess to be blunt…there was more quantity over quality. Thankfully, my love for writing has come full circle and nowadays WTR is more about “quality” than “quantity“. I’ve been getting a few shouts in the C-box for “dead links” over the past few weeks, so today I thought I’d peep back thru my archives (time to ride my own shit, there is some dopeness in my archives….it’s like a downloader’s wet dream!) and see just what indeed needs to be “re-upped”. “Cool”, I thought “Now, this will give me a chance to catch up on some of my thoughts for these Classics that have been “dead” for a minute now”. Plus, Trav @ Wake Your Daughter Up and I have had an unspoken competition going on for quite some time (meaning: dude really keeps me on my toes) and as of late he’s been “murdering” me with dopeness for days. With interviews from J-Zone & Milk Dee, Trav’s made me think “Alright, now I gotta’ step it up! It’s all gravy though, I think we’re gonna’ link up for another addition in our “When They Reminisce Over Waking Your Daughter Up” review series later this week, which is always fun. So let’s get crakin‘ with the “Re-Ups”:
I gotta’ keep it real with you for a minute. After rocking Show & A.G.’s “Soul Clap” EP & their classic “Runaway Slave” till “the tape popped”, I have to admit I wasn’t really feelin‘ the duo’s sophomore effort “Goodfellas” upon the first few listens to the album. Hell….more like the first few years to be quite honest. From it’s release on Payday records in 1995 to mmmm….I’d say about 2002, I may have listened to this album a grand total of 10 times and that’s being generous! I mean, this album dropped in the summer of 95′ and if my memory serves me correct this was around the same time that Raekwon’s “Only Built 4 Cuban Linx“, Mobb Deep’s “The Infamous” & The Pharcyde’s “Labcabincalifornia” dropped…so, I think you can see where I’m going with this. Strangely enough, in 2002 came along this white rapper with the bleach blonde do’, armed with a sharp tongue and lyrical wit for days with his little movie entitled “8 Mile”. You may have heard of the movie? Anyway, near the movie’s end this “white rapper” can be found freestyling over beats such as O.C.’s “Time’s Up”, “Last Dayz” from Onyx (you can’t tell me you don’t get goosebumps when Em murdered dude over the eerie Onyx production), Mobb Deep’s “Shook Ones Pt. II” and lastly a DJ Premier remix of Showbiz & A.G.’s “Next Level”that had appeared on this long lost “Goodfellas” cassette that was buried amongst the other tapes that I’d stacked in an old Wal-Mart plastic clothing bin. After hearing the track blare throughout the movie theater speakers while catching a glimpse of “8 Mile” with my then girlfriend-now Wife, I immediately turned to her and said “oh shit, I forgot about that joint!”. Needless to say, I copped the CD on-line that same night. To hell with that everynight booty you get when you first start dating! I had to get my hands on Show & A.G.’s “Goodfellas” and see just what I’d missed out on during the first few listens of the album. Nowadays, “Goodfellas” stays in frequent rotation, it’s almost as if every six months or so I find a new “gem” that captivates my ear until I frequent it almost to the point of boredom. First it was the Nyte Time mix of “Next Level” produced by Primo. Then, I sort of drifted towards the original Showbiz produced version of “Next Level”. About two months ago, thanks to Dan Love of the new and improved From Da Bricks.com (damn, what’s up with all these big shots and their “dot coms“? Haha, keep doin‘ it big Dan!) and his “Top 25 Beats” I was reintroduced to “You Want It” (damn, those horns are serious!) now I’ve been bumpin‘ that to death. While A.G. is solid on the mic, I’ve never been a big fan of his flow or delivery but he’s still well above average…however, Showbiz’ production is just SICK! The production from one of D.I.T.C.’s finest on “Runaway Slave” and “Goodfellas” may be some of the best displayed on back to back efforts in the 90′s….or hell, EVER! Don’t sleep like I did, for an overdose of slick production and an undeniable chemistry between a beatsmith and an emcee peep “Goodfellas” for unmatched results.
Hmmmm..I could have sworn that I just spoke my peace on this album yesterday? Finally, after sitting down and searching through “dead links”, in a strange turn of events you’re lucky enough to get my actual “thoughts” on this album today. You lucky bastards! Following in the footsteps of their two previous efforts (the Classic “Holy Intellect” and the subpar “Pure Poverty”) Poor Righteous Teachers dropped what I’ve always felt was their best album “Black Business” in the fall of 1993 on the now-defunct Profile Records. Wow, I just realized….PRT dropped FOUR albums on Profile? How often do you see that kinda’ loyalty from a record company nowadays? With “Black Business” Wise Intelligent displayed more of a “Ragga Hip Hop” stylee than on the group’s prior efforts. Evidence of this can be found on the exceptional “144 K” and my favorite cut from the album “Selah“, both of which are highlighted by the appearance of Rahzi Highpower…who blesses the choruses from both songs with his rasta influenced vocal delivery. The filtered horn loop and heavy drum kicks displayed on “Nobody Move” are as close to “Boom Bap” as I’ve ever heard from P.R.T., while Wise Intelligent provides yet another outstanding lyrical showing. Another cut that follows in the same vein as “Nobody Move” is the Chuck D & Flavor Flav vocal sampled “Here We Go Again”. The track titles of the two aforementioned cuts may not be the most original, but they due truly capture the essence of the “boom bap” era. Highlighted with heavy drum kicks and spine-tingling horn stabs both cuts could still find their place bumpin‘ outta’ trunks everywhere. Wise, who is yet another emcee that is rarely mentioned as one of the top emcees when the question “who is your favorite emcee?” is posed is almost a genius. I mean…dude never came wack, even on his newest shit the lyrics are well above average. Shit, I could go on for days about this album….I truly love “Black Business”. The only real beef that you may encounter with the album is that the second half is not up to par with the first half. Which isn’t to deter the Classic status of “Black Business”, it’s just the first six cuts on the album are “amazing” and the last six are still “exceptional”…if that makes any sense at all? If you haven’t scooped this up just yet (lord knows how long the link was down) do yourself a favor and peep “Black Business”. Hopefully, you’ll be just as “blown away” as I was when I first heard the album and as I still am even today. Hell, this may even be “Top 10″ material for me! It’s just that I (much like half of the die hard golden era fans) always seem to forget about these Jersey cats. Shit, I gotta’ surf on over to Amazon and pick this up right now! Oh, and to homeboy who kept hitting me up on some “where is the P.R.T.?” for three days in the C-Box….are you happy now?
“You ain’t gettin‘ NADA”! Oooooweee! With it’s uncomplicated yet extremely catchy production and clever sample selection (Roy Ayers “Life In A Moment Pt.II) courtesy of Ski Beatz, “Cheapskate” (Sporty Thievz debut single) ruled the urban airwaves and clubs throughout the summer of 1998. Comprised of King Kirk, Big Dubez, Marlon Brando & Ski on the boards, Sporty Thievz released their one and only full-length album “Street Cinema” on (insert Red Alert voice from the intro to the Fugees “The Score”) Columbia/Ruffhouse Records. With production duties split in half by Ski (Jay, Camp Lo, etc.) and member King Kirk this album is loaded with irresistible beats to keep the party live. Another example of clever sampling can be found on “Fedz/Freeks Skit”, lyrically this song is nothing to write home about but Ski hits the nail on the head with his selection of a Eurythmics classic (shit, the song title is on the tip of my tongue, I just can’t recall which track it was) that oddly enough works. “Street Cinema” was mixed to play out as somewhat of an audio movie but would’ve been a much tighter album without all the BS skits that seemed to make the album “drag” at times. Funny, that the group’s biggest hit wasn’t even included on the original pressing of this LP (however, I did include it in the download…you’re welcome!). Who can forget “No Pigeons” the testosterone filled response to TLC’s massive hit “No Scubs“, with lyrics like “You birds wanna take over?”…”Get some cash and a Jenny Jones makeover” “Pigeons..” compelled all gold-diggers to re-think their gameplan. Sadly, in an eerie twist of events TLC & Sporty Thievz would never be the same after the tragic losses that affected both groups. Lisa “Left Eye” Lopez of TLC (duh!) was killed in a car crash in Honduras and the Thievz‘ Marlon Brando was killed in 2001 when a mini-van ran a red-light and jumped the sidewalk, striking Marlon and killing him. Supposedly, Sporty Thievz planned to independently release their follow-up “In Stores Now (F— Sporty Thievz)” but it was likely halted after Brando’s passing and has never seen the light of day. Nevertheless, a quality debut that is somewhat “slept on” (Ego Trip’s “Book Of Rap Lists” should have qualified “Street Cinema” as a “slept on” classic as well) and sadly, more often than not “overlooked”.