Friday, August 10, 2007
CALL THEM THE KINGZ
For the past couple of days I have been on a serious new music kick and with the exception of a couple of albums that made me almost break my speakers, it’s been a great time for my ears. I started listening to one album and then started writing as I finished writing about one I started playing another which moved me to continue to write and so on and so and so on (BTW that “so on” line that I love using so much wasn’t originated by Outkast on “Morris Brown”, it’s actually from an old TV commercial). At the end of the day I had been moved to write about five albums - UGK’s “Underground Kings”, Zap Mama’s “Supermoon”, Keith Murrays “Rap-Murr-Phobia”, Common’s “Finding Forever”, and Alice Smith’s “For Lovers, Dreamers & Me”. I realized once I was done writing that no one was trying to read that many reviews at once. So I will be posting one each day for the next five days with album samplings and a video. Below is the first entry for UGK, which was the one that got it all started.
I just finished playing, excuse me, I mean Blasting UGK's latest double disk release "Underground Kingz" for the third time and it moved me to the point of writing about it. To be perfectly honest I was never a huge UGK fan, I appreciated and respected their contribution to Hip Hop and their strong Southern representation way before the south was getting so much attention, just wasn’t my thing. I always put them in the same class as Scarface, which for anyone who knows me knows how big a statement that is, but to be honest it had nothing to do with the music. However, with this latest release I will probably have to reevaluate their placement in my Hip Hop appreciation chart and give them their proper due.
As with most albums as of late I had it for a while and just didn’t hit the trigger on the play button, I had been in love with the first single “International Players Anthem” but that had more to do with that serious monogamy SLAP DOWN my man Andre “Feature Killer” 3000 put down with his opening verse. Which had most people seeing it as an Andre 3000 track featuring UGK and Big Boi (Respect that mans gangsta, greatest rapper of the year just off of five features, not even his own stuff, WATCH WHATS ABOUT TO GO DOWN WITH HIS NEW RAP ALBUM. The other four were DJ Unk ft. Andre 3000, Jim Jones, & Big Boi “Walk it out” (Remix), Lloyd ft. Andre 3000 & Nas “I want you” (Remix) , Rich Boy ft. Andre 3000, Jim Jones, Nelly, Murphy Lee, & The Game “Throw Some Ds” (Remix) , Devin the Dude ft. Andre 3000 & Snoop Dogg “What a Job”) Like a lot of people I spoke to about it that thought as I did - Why listen to a DOUBLE DISK album for ONE SONG? I could just go onto all my friends space pages and listen to it whenever I liked or play the extended video (posted below) on YouTube whenever I needed my wedding bell bliss and that chick talkin about “Tic, If that bitch do you dirty we'll wipe her ass out as in detergent”.
Then I decided to press play, WOW! No doubt that it’s a southern rap album by UGK, for anyone who has been a fan I’m sure you’re in no way surprised by what Pimp C and Bun B are putting down on this 26 track masterwork ridin hard while you lean offering with 3 bonus tracks. An album like this is the personification of what I call “Ridin music”, because it makes you want to lean all the way back in your ride and drive through the hood slow bobbin your head at 15 miles an hr. It’s lyrical, which has seem to become an oxymoron when in the same context as almost any other southern rap, above mentioned Andre “Feature Killer” 3000 excluded, with bluesy live instrumentation and gently rippling funk sampled beats that are perfectly chosen to put you in that leanin mood and appreciate every single word layered over them.
Every feature artist steps into the world of UGK and plays in their sandbox, while not losing the charisma and personal style that made them feature worthy in the first place. Some features surprised me off the back until I heard them and realized how perfectly they fit. When you see Too Short, Scarface, Slim Thug, Willie D, Jazze Pha, Rick Ross, Big Daddy Kane, Kool G Rap, and T.I. on the track listing you think - PIMPIN & HUSTLIN, and they don’t surprise nor let you down with any of those tracks nor the ones with no features, but then you see the other features Charlie Wilson, Dizzie Rascal, Raheem DeVaughn, and Talib Kweli then you start to question what they have in store for you and if you are willing to take this ride. I took it and never had to change my lean to feel it, all the guest knew whose house they came to and played their positions well to create UGKs muzak. The best summary I heard of the album was “heavy doses of braggadocios slick talk, unbridled swagger and machismo gun talk” I think that summed it up, so I’ll close it out with that.
~we’re the warriors they write epics about~
UGK & Outkast - Int'l Player's Anthem (Extended Cut)