Let me get my “Andy Rooney” on for a minute. Did you ever wonder why Bushwick Bill and Willie D, who both have dropped a shitty solo album at least once in their lives, become simply irresistible when they’re paired with the legendary Scarface on all the Geto Boys’ group product? The chemistry between the three emcees, who each possess a unique style of their own, can just be chalked up as “one of those things”. Leading up to the release of “The Resurrection” (Rap-A-Lot/Noo Trybe 1996) the group had their fair share of line-up changes throughout their historical discography. Unless you’d slept under a rock for umm…nearly six albums, you’d already recognized the most successful grouping: the poignant lyricism of Scarface, the “I Don’t Give A Fu*k” attitude of Willie D and the psycho, Chuckie doll toting Bushwick Bill. This trio of emcees were the dudes responsible for putting H-Town’s notorious 5th Ward on the Hip Hop radar with the unexpected arrival of the nationwide smash “Mind Playin’ Tricks…..”. However, shortly thereafter the trio sadly parted ways. If I recall, Willie D’s pockets were more often than not “flat” rather than “phat”, provoking the momentary split. After a forgettable stint on the label MC Breed made famous, (well….not really) Ichiban, Willie second guessed himself and came back home with hopes of there being enough loot to go ’round for everyone. I may be talking out of the side of my mouth here, but I truly feel that “The Resurrection” was their second best group effort behind “We Can’t Be Stopped”. With songs like “Still” a hectic track that really gets your blood pumping and the more dark-edged cuts like “The World Is A Geto” (which re-visited the WAR classic), the album delivers an abundance of thought-provoking lyrics had you puzzled one minute and another minute would have you nodding away to a musical sound that varied dramatically from The Geto Boys’ previous offerings. Reuniting is hard to do, and alot of times in Hip-Hop the end result isn’t always favorable. However, with “The Resurrection” the Geto Boys nearly sounded as fresh and rejuvenated as they did on “We Can’t Be Stopped”.
What made the legendary N.W.A. soo damn unique was the simple fact that each emcee had their own distinctive characteristics (much like the Geto Boys). Ice Cube was the witty, confrontational one of the group, the high-pitched and scandalous Eazy-E always was the “attention getter”, and the man who crafted the classics, Dr. Dre. Oh, and what exactly did Yella do anyway? Last but not least, you have MC Ren, the killa’ with the baritone vocals who…at least to me…was the “glue” of the group. By comparison, sort of like Horace Grant’s role on those legendary Bulls squads led by Jordan and Pippen. While Cube, Eazy and Dre all sustained very successful solo careers, it was quite evident with “Kizz My Black Azz” and “Shock The World” that Ren didn’t quite attain all the “propers” that his fellow group members had. Releasing an album every two years since 1992, how did Ren fare with 1996′s “Da Villian In Black” (Ruthless/Relativity)? With a lazy delivery and uninspired hooks, the answer is a resounding “no”. There are times on “Da Villian…” that Ren seemed to just babble over average beats with outdated boasts and subject matter that actually sufficed during his N.W.A. days. “Da Villian” wasn’t necessarily “horrendous”, but it was just terribly…..blah. Throughout the dozen tracks, Ren sounded tired while the bulk of the album’s production followed along the lines of the typical Bobcat, Sir Jinx “gangsta boogie” that began to grow weary on my ears near the end of ’96. The end result was an album that was empty, outdated and run-of-the-mill, but hey….it’s better than anything that we’d heard from Yella, right?
First things first, as the Whoridas first single “Shot Callin” proved these Hobo Junction affiliates could construct catchy, minimalist orchestrations that could easily win you over with the charismatic voices of emcees King Saan and Mr. Taylor. The duo’s uncanny ability to shout out their name in every song and their selection of bare-boned booming production arrangements, made possible by beatsmith Jay-Z (not that one), were clearly the album’s biggest assets. But sadly, those factors were also the group’s most flagrant liabilities. Unless a remix “one-ups” the original that appears on your LP, it shouldn’t be included. For instance, the revamped, softer version of “True Playas-N-The-Game” doesn’t really match up to it’s original version. Clearly the material found on “Whoridin” could have been trimmed down, which would have permitted tracks like “Town Shit”, a “You’re A Customer”-like selection that knocked, to stand out even more. In the long run, even though there are a few unnecessary detours within the album, it still packs enough heat to make you wanna’ “throw your W’s in the air”.