Mac Dre - Ronald Dregan: Dreganomics

1. Feelin' Myself
2. Fa My Niggaz
3. Jump It
4. Witme??
5. Me Damac
6. Dreganomics
7. Since '84
8. That's Wusup
9. On the Run
10. Get Stupid (Remix)
11. 2 Night
12. Don't Snitch

"Call the hospital, he's having convulsions! No he's getting stupid and he's loaded, yokin'. Is the sto' still open? We need heem. It's a priviledged thing, yadadamean? All in the do', like YEE! S-T-U-P-I-D!"

In the last year of his life, Mac Dre finally perfected the sound he'd been aiming for after Stupid Doo Doo Dumb, and dropped THREE of his greatest albums ever in '03 and '04 (Al Boo Boo, Genie Of The Lamp, and this one), which just makes his stupidly premature death even more of a bummer. This one has three of his most well-known songs on it in "Get Stupid", "Fellin' Myself" and "Since '84", and it seemed like it was going to be THE album that finally introduced the new Thizz sound to the rest of the world.. It's loaded from top to bottom with Bay Area slang (see the above quote) and features some of the finest production ever by the Thizz team. Synth-based tracks like "Medamac" are clearly a direct predecessor to the hyphy sound that would REALLY blow up in the next couple years, but the best tracks here are the more organic funk tracks, like the title track and "Fa My Niggaz", which both make really great use of spaghetti western acoustic guitars. Mac Dre himself was also hitting yet another career peak with his rapping on around this time, his style was never really complex but his smooth flow just slides all over these tracks like melting butter. If you want to hear him rap about things other than getting stupid, pimpin', ghostriding whips, drinking and popping E pills, there are other records in his catalog.. On this one, he is 100% in party mode. Which isn't to say that he's slacking on the mic AT ALL, he never stops being entertaining and he's endlessly quotable for days. Thankfully this album isn't loaded up with Thizz 3rd-stringers.. Mac is the only rapper on almost all of these songs, and it keeps things brief by modern rap standards, as it's "only" 12 tracks in just under 45 minutes.

Overall, I'd say that if you want to hear Mac Dre's best album, get Stupid Doo Doo Dumb. If you want to understand why he was so important to the Bay Area rap community to begin with, you can't go wrong with Young Black Brotha. But if you want to hear his best late-period album, when he was arguably at his most successful, this is probably the one to grab. And the fact that he dropped classic material in 3 different decades (much of YBB was recorded in the 80s) is enough to solidify his place as one of hip-hop's all time greatest ever for me. Just make sure you listen to this one on a system with a sub.

Geto Boys - Uncut Dope: Geto Boys' Best

1. Do It Like a G.O. 4:36
2. Assassins 5:11
3. Mind of a Lunatic 5:26
4. My Mind Playin' Tricks on Me 5:11
5. Size Ain't Shit 3:42
6. The Unseen 3:36
7. Balls and My Word 3:49
8. Scarface (Original) 5:06
9. Actions Speak Louder Than Words (feat. Ganksta Nip and Seagram) 5:53
10. Damn It Feels Good to Be a Gangster (feat. Lil' J) 5:10
11. Chuckie 3:48
12. Gotta Let Them Hang 4:08

Makes it so you can split the Geto Boys' releases into pre Big Mike and then get The Resurrection 'cause that's their best after the hard old school shit on display here

Basically a nice way to have My Mind Playin' Tricks on Me and Damn It Feels Good to Be a Gangster without just having those two songs

Suga Free - Street Gospel

1. Intro 0:48
2. Why U Bullshittin'? 4:25
3. I'd Rather Give You My Bitch 5:04
4. Doe Doe and a Skunk 5:08
5. Don't No Suckaz Live Here (feat. Playa Hamm) 5:13
6. Tip Toe (feat. DJ Quik & Hi-C) 5:16
7. I Wanna Go Home (The County Jail Song) 3:43
8. If U Stay Ready (feat. Playa Hamm) 4:47
9. Fly Fo Life 4:48
10. On My Way 4:29
11. Secrets 4:43
12. Table Interlude 1:06
13. Dip Da 4:32
14. Tip Toe (Reprise) 3:42

The mid to late 90s was a bitch for West coast rap since it was defined by The Chronic and arguably bettered on Doggystyle, so releases after that would be declared derivative and so on since the death of Pac whereas the south and east still had canon artists like Gang Starr or OutKast receiving critical acclaim and attention, and maybe only 2001 in 1999 would have the coast in critical favour again and even then prejudices against the west are still common, the area being perceived as producing misogynists unwilling to grow up out of the golden Chronic era. It's the grand tale of how only Dr. Dre matters in the scheme of things, one that either ignores DJ Quik (among others), or at least makes him an oddity

DJ Quik has been releasing albums since 1991 and hasn't made a bad one yet. Last year's The Book of David showed how the producer/MC has been developing his sound regardless of trends, falloffs, and early 90s nostalgia. He's in it 'cause he loves the music and it's worth following him to see where he takes his unique brand of west coast g funk. Everything he's done is good, but I like his work on Suga Free's debut album, Street Gospel, the most. Similar to Rhythm-al-ism of the following year, the record is beautifully lush, a mixture of incredible 90s R&B, Zapp funk, and of course west coast gangsta shit. Rather than rapping on it himself he's given us the charismatic pimp/rapper, Suga Free. Those who found Rhythm-al-ism offensive should probably stay clear, 'cause rather than loving pussy like Quik does, Suga Free makes his money selling it. He's a unique MC who makes his quick-fire rapping sound laid back, like he's half talking to the listener, half singing.

Whether or not it was a conscious decision to distance himself from the culture or sound at large which may or may not be a fiction any way, Quik's laid out some of the best and lushest funk and soul for his vile, intelligent, funny, charismatic, talented pimp friend Suga Free to rap and sing some stories over- whatever makes the beats sound better- and man, do they sound good, even if the vast majority of those hearing the MC can only take if you stay ready, you ain't got to get ready to mean something inspirational or worse, as a joke, or as anything but pimping advice, but we'll all listen to Under My Thumb and call it satire if we need to, and I'm saying this just sounds better

Compton's Most Wanted - Music to Driveby

1. Intro 0:20
2. Hit the Floor 1:49
3. Hood Took Me Under 3:39
4. Jack Mode 3:17
5. Compton 4 Life 3:17
6. 8 Iz Enough 2:48
7. Duck Sick II 3:44
8. Dead Men Tell No Lies 3:40
9. N 2 Deep (feat. Scarface) 3:51
10. Who's Fucking Who? 1:47
11. This Is a Gang 3:37
12. Hoodrat 3:55
13. Niggaz Strugglin 3:32
14. I Gots Ta Get Over 3:37
15. U's a Bitch 3:42
16. Another Victim 3:51
17. Def Wish II 3:31
18. Music to Driveby 3:30

G-funk classic with excellent pre-Chronic production and as expected from a group lead by MC Eiht, nihilistic Compton gangsta storytelling delivered simply but effectively and with heaps of charisma. The degree to which the listener will enjoy the album will probably depend on how much they like MC Eiht- those who just like the album often find his lyrics and rapping pale in comparison to contemporaries like Ice Cube, Scarface, or Nas, but still acknowledge how good the beats are. Some will probably think this shit's too ignorant, and some like the guy quite a lot so think the amazing selection of beats just push Music to Driveby into 'classic' material. I think it's real good and I'm not sure why you'd compare MC Eiht to Cube, Scarface, or Nas when he's going for something so different

Twinz - Conversation

1. Conversation #1 0:34
2. Round & Round 3:41
3. Good Times 3:44
4. 4 Eyes 2 Heads 3:27
5. Jump ta This 2:53
6. Eastside LB (feat. Warren G) 3:39
7. Sorry I Kept You (feat. Warren G) 3:15
8. Conversation #2 0:12
9. Journey Wit Me 3:19
10. Hollywood (feat. Jah-Skillz & Neb Love) 3:31
11. 1st Round Draft Pick (feat. Warren G) 3:48
12. Conversation #3 0:15
13. Don't Get It Twisted 3:58
14. Pass It On (feat. Foesum & Warren G)

1995 west coast album entirely produced by Warren G- what do you think it's gonna sound like? Smooth g-funk, right? Yeah, I even tagged it pop rap!

Conversation is kinda like Perfection but even more laid-back and nostalgic. I honestly can't find a flaw anywhere- although neither emcee is stand-out fantastic on the mic, they do what they need to do on Warren G's chill beats. As a review I just read points out, there's a crazy amount of sung hooks here which just adds to that feel-good vibe (I wanna fuckin' sing. Cuz I'm happy- Em)

You know what to expect but that's not a bad thing

Brand Nubian - One For All

1. All for One 4:56
2. Feels So Good 5:04
3. Concerto in X Minor 3:58
4. Ragtime 4:15
5. To the Right 4:18
6. Dance to My Ministry 4:21
7. Drop the Bomb 5:01
8. Wake Up (Stimulated Dummies Mix) 4:45
9. Step to the Rear 4:00
10. Slow Down 5:03
11. Try to Do Me 4:20
12. Who Can Get Busy Like This Man ... 4:30
13. Grand Puba, Positive and L.G. (feat. Positive K & L.G.) 4:31
14. Brand Nubian 4:38
15. Wake Up (Reprise in the Sunshine) 5:25
16. Dedication 4:08

Expected golden era east coast hangups- lessons from a group of black-supremacists- but Brand Nubian luckily also belong to that other group of golden era east coast expectancies: the expectation that the golden era east coast rapper or group display a certain degree of virtuosity and charisma as well as ideas and intelligence and that their beats be creative and fun. Brand Nubian do all that on One For All. There's the ideas, the intelligence, and the virtuosity- mainly thanks to Grand Puba- but also charisma- thanks to all of them (Sadat X and Lord Jamar too), which just goes with the funky production which here is great. And that's probably why One For All is a classic golden era east coast record

Redman - Dare Iz a Darkside

OK Redman, on the count of three I want you to
Completely forget how you did the first album

Big, strange, dramatic opening, Redman comes in with:

You are now about to enter the psychotic mind of Redman
Let's take a journey on a funk cosmic adventure
To where no other nigga or bitch has ever entered
Let me lick your funky emotions with my cosmic lyrics
From a place we call hell, and beyond...

I remember when I was young and thought How High was the shit and got from it that Redman would be a laid back weed rapper.... Redman has one of the coolest flows ever, and his lyrics are insane. Without him you probably wouldn't have some of your favourite rappers, from popular rappers like Eminem to weirdos like Danny Brown or lyrical guys like Talib Kweli. With spacey beats and weird noises everywhere, he just sounds even better. I think Dare Iz A Darkside is my favourite by him

Too $hort - Short Dog's in the House

How's THIS for veteran- 1990's Short Dog's in the House was Too $hort's 6th album (!) and although I like his sound a lot, it's as simplistic, minimal, and funky as I'm willing to go with rap and I'm guessing a lot of people are the same way- album number five (Life Is...Too Short) is the start of the critical appreciation of Too $hort and that's having looked past the negative ones of which there are plenty

Issues with Short Dog include his misogyny (he practically invented it in rap) and his minimal aesthetic. If you can't do the minimalism that's fair enough, but just know that from Life Is...To Short on, Short and his producers performed the funk riffs they loved so much rather than just sampling them. So it's minimal but that just means you should be dancing to the bare essential FUNKness of it and listening close to Short's rhythmic MCing which is intentionally simple. But what's he rhythmically rapping about over bare essential funk? He's a pimp rapper so it's usually gold and hoes. That's not necessarily always the caseon occasions such as The Ghetto- the song which brought me and probably heaps of others to Short Dog's in the House. When people called him out for being a misogynist he'd claim he was going for a persona or character, which is what a lot of rappers claim and actually mean (like family man/architecture connoisseur Cube or youth football coach Snoop), and a few conscioussongs on Short Dog's in the House not only prove that the persona is either a fantastic way to attract controversy and sell records, escapist ghetto phantasm, or boldly satirize such a phantasm and the social ills which continually lead to its creation,but make Short Dog's in the House easier to listen to because of the variety. It's not much and it's still a long listen, but that's cool, I like it

Kool G Rap - 4, 5, 6

1. Intro 1:02
2. 4, 5, 6 3:21
3. It's a Shame 4:04
4. Take 'Em to War (feat. MF Grimm & B-1) 3:54
5. Executioner Style 4:07
6. For da Brothaz 3:45
7. Blowin' Up in the World 4:26
8. Fast Life (feat. Nas) 4:54
9. Ghetto Knows 4:29
10. It's a Shame (Da Butcher's mix) 3:10
11. Money on My Brain (feat. MF Grimm & B-1) 4:53

Kool G Rap... Before I say how awesome 4, 5, 6 is, it should probably be noted that when other people talk about G Rap beingthe best they're usually talking about his work with DJ Polo between 1989 and 1992 and not his subsequent solo albums. I didn't know that 'til yesterday! Live and Let Die is great although sometime's it's just so fucking HARDCORE, and I thought 4, 5, 6 was just another gem in his beloved 80s-90s discography but it's actually considered the point where he was past his prime! The way he spits AND HIS PUNCHLINES on this are supposedly where he FELL OFF?! Maybe I'm not picky enough!

Kool G Rap's one of those rappers that's widely believed to be the best because the evidence is in just about any of the verses from his golden era (BUT NOT THIS ONE, STAY THE FUCK AWAY FROM 4, 5, 6), and because other rappers also called the bestfrom time to time think pretty highly of him- Big, Em, Jay, Nas, Bun, Pun (rhymes!), Cube, Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, and those are just the ones on wikipedia that I think are best if I try convince myself that there are objective standards for such an assessment. Critics love this shit- you can say WITHOUT HIM YOU WOULDN'T HAVE READY TO DIE OR ILLMATIC OR THE LESS HIGHLY REGARDED ERIC B AND RAKIM JOINTS AND THEN THERE'D BE NO CLEAN LINEARITY OR NARRATIVE IN MUSIC. I'm getting bored of that though! He's all about complex rhyme schemes and syllables and whatnot so listening to him you think when's he gonna run out of breath and when's he gonna exhaust the dictionary and stop finding words that sound similar and the answer (as it is with Big, Em, and Big Pun in particular) is NEVER- dude sounds like he could go on forever stacking more and more rhymes and actually managing to say something as well. Maybe typical of 90s east coast rap, it's HARDCORE with mafioso worship thrown in, so struggle exaggerated into something that would be nightmarish if it weren't so vivid, cocky, and exciting. The production's what you'd expect for that- laid back in the most nocturnal, grimy way, and simple enough for these exciting/cocky emcees to show off their virtuosity in creating increasingly complex rhymes and rhythms while staying on the simple beat

It's probably not as exciting as he would've been in '89 and by this stage his influence is known and the influenced go with him toe-to-toe (Fast Life), but I think it's pretty cool! A bit HARDCORE (cerebral?) for my tastes but some of the most impeccable rapping and punchlines you can come across, from one of hip hop's legends who was still LEGENDARY in 1995 regardless of what you read

Kool G Rap & DJ Polo - Live and Let Die

1. Intro 0:40
2. On the Run 4:40
3. Live and Let Die 5:16
4. Crime Pays 2:17
5. Home Sweet Home 2:37
6. Train Robbery 4:13
7. No. 1 With a Bullet (feat. Big Daddy Kane) 2:36
8. Operation CB 4:28
9. Straight Jacket 3:11
10. Ill Street Blues 3:46
11. Go for Your Guns 4:37
12. Letters 3:40
13. 'Nuff Said 2:47
14. Edge of Sanity 5:12
15. Fuck U Man 4:01
16. Still Wanted Dead or Alive 3:24
17. Two to the Head (feat. Bushwick Bill, Ice Cube & Scarface)

HARDCORE SHIT- look at the cover and you see two dudes with nooses 'round their necks standing on chairs tied to rottweilers as two evil dudes taunt them (that's Kool G Rap and DJ Polo, the two guys you'll be following for the next hour) with raw meat so when the dogs move, the dudes die

Whereas 4, 5, 6 would have G Rap displaying ridiculous charisma and punchlines and multisyllabic rhymes for a few different subjects, Live and Let Die is just straight hardcore- he has the commanding voice of Scarface and Cube as well as the sick imagination of Bushwick (all of whom appear on Two to the Head), so no matter how funky things get (and they do get funky),Live and Let Die is hardcore in every sense- from horrorcore narratives to organized crime, it's post-NWA and post-Geto Boys hardcore ghetto insanity which takes the joke and runs with it 'til, thanks to the duo's intelligence and skill, it's arguably even better. Whether the joke is strictly homage (in which case it's not only artistic but sociopolitical) or something more sinister, it's HARDCORE at it's most HARDCORE and the east coast's best rapper (arguably, of course) at his violent best

The Pharcyde - Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde

1. 4 Better or 4 Worse (Interlude) 0:44
2. Oh Shit 4:22
3. It's Jiggaboo Time (Skit) 1:26
4. 4 Better or 4 Worse 5:05
5. I'm That Type of Nigga 5:15
6. If I Were President (Skit) 1:01
7. Soul Flower (Remix) 4:23
8. On the DL 4:28
9. Pack the Pipe (Interlude) 0:21
10. Officer 4:00
11. Ya Mama 4:21
12. Passing Me By 5:03
13. Otha Fish 5:22
14. Quinton's on the Way (Skit) 2:10
15. Pack the Pipe 5:04
16. Return of the B-Boy 3:39

All-inclusive west-coast rap by insanely good rappers who take foolish to mean funnyclever, and sometimes even socially aware without all the hangups of being socially conscious. But they always have a point, whether it's not being able to cum 'cause there's something off about the girl on your dick, relationships gone wrong, masturbation, or observations on racial profiling. Perhaps an extension of the daisy age of De La Soul but with more engaging rapping (to my ear) and more 90s sounding production, not kaleidoscopic like past daisy agers, not minimal and aggressive like gangsta contemporaries, but layered, funky, and jazzy in a way to suit the laid-back secret virtuosity of the satirical clown emcees

D-Shot - The Shot Calla

The Shot Calla (1994)
1. Punk Ass Nigga
2. Crooked Cops
3. Wheels
4. The Shot Loves To Fuck
5. When The Money Was Flowin'
6. Cops Revisited
7. Call Me On The Under
8. You Ain't Shit
9. Fuck A Ho
10. Porn Star Ii (remix)
11. Typical Night
12. Player's Break



Produced by Studio Ton (Ton Whiteman)
Other rappers Suga T, Mac Shawn, E-40, B-Legit, Mugzy
Written by E-40. B-Legit, Suga T, Mac Shawn, D-Shot
Music played by Studio Ton
Vocals by Levitte King
Sick Wid It Records / SMG Solar Music Group