Monday, February 27, 2006

Review: Watts Gangstas - The Real

Artist: Watts Gangstas
Album: The Real
Year: 1995
Label: Hood Rat / Priority

I had to review this one, not only because how much I love it but because there's a guy in Japan thats going to love this. You can probably tell already that these guys are from Watts California, East Watts to be exact. This is another one of those hard gangsta albums that comes out of nowhere and then disappears into the auctions on ebay......... if your lucky. You may know them for their track on Priority records compilation 'Legal Dope'.

The two man group consists of Felony and Dedope. The album starts off with a reporter turning up at their place for an interview as the Watts G's are cooking some coke and then an interview that gets cut short due to a unwanted question, I think they could have come up with a better intro than a two minute fake interview. The first actual track on the album is 'Slangin' As I Speak' which has a fuckin' mad beat produced by Thomas and Derek Organ and equally as good rappin' about slangin' dope. The duo's tight flow is evident from the get go. This is probably my best track from the album along with the next one, 'Watts Riders' that also has a hell beat produced by the same guys as above and also has some nice scratching throughout the track. The track is about their hood, East Watts.

Next up is 'Wanna Be', a track dissing wanna be gangstas. This is another sick track with production by Step 1. 'Nine On My Hip' and 'Hennessy And Chronic' are next in line and are both pretty good medium paced tracks. 'What A Nigga (Gotta Go Through)' is about the struggles growing up in their neighbourhood and has nice samples by Tuff Crew (So Damn Tuff) and LL Cool J (Hard As Hell).

'Stay A True' is dissin fakes and has nice flowed rhymes over a slowish beat produced by Big Jess. Another one of the albums dopest tracks is 'Come Take A Ride' that starts with some hard rapping by Dedope and then Felony busts in to finish the verse, which is actually something they do constantly through the album and sounds sick. It reminds me a little of the way B.G. Knocc Out & brother Dre'sta rapped together, not by voice but by style. The track is about the east side streets and has def scratching through the hook. Next is 'Fuct In The Game' which is a slow track about them growing up and is definately my worst on the album with the singy hook.

'Due Or Die' starts off with some nice cuts before getting into some nice good old fassioned gangsta rhymes. Last up of course is the 'Outtro' which makes me laugh when I hear them describing the album as a "Tripple platinum album on yo arse". Were they serious?

This album is out on full picture cover vinyl and is a rare gem. Over all the album is crazy although if I had to find a fault it'll be the length of it (just under 50 minutes) and the lack of imagination in the tracks. Half the tracks are about growing up in East Watts and the other half about dissing fakes with some gangsta and drug lines laced throughout. Don't get me wrong this is DOPE!

Watts Gangstas - Slangin' As I Speak
Watts Gangstas - Watts Ridas

Rating: 4 Daytons Out Of Five

R.I.P. Buck Four

Rest In Peace:
Buck Four (Rock Steady Crew)

Real Name: Gabriel Marcano
Hailing From: Puerto Rico
Born: February 23 1964
Died: May 1991
Cause of Death: Tortured and then murdered execution style in his garage.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Battle On Wax: Random Disses

Sweetenlo - In '94 Ohio rapper Sweetenlo released his second album 'Compton Killa'. I'm not sure whats behind his sudden diss to Compton other than maybe trying to cash in on the whole South Bronx -vs- Compton shit? Either way the track is dope and he's the only rapper I know of that actually dissed Tweedy Bird Loc. I have an album by female rapper First Star called 'My Grip Is Like A Cobra' that is produced by Sweetenlo along with two incredible features by Sweetenlo himself. For a while I thought he was murdered in a L.A. hotel execution style with two hookers but as it turns out the story was all wrong and it was a member of female rap duo 'Sweet N Lo' that was murdered. Sweetenlo has a new album coming soon titled "Don't Let The Look Fool You". You can check out his official website at

(Article courtesy of Batel)

Insane Poetry - In '95 React Records released a 12" with a Rodney O & Joe Cooley track on the A side and Insane Poetry's 'You Better Ask Somebody' on the B side that was meant to be on their forthcoming album 'Aint Got No Brain Cells'. Although that album never came out, 'Blacc Plague' was released with the track 'You Better Ask Somebody 96' on it. It's a completely different track to the original with Psycho and Pope both dissing Rodney O. Apparently for some shady business on contracts, see Interview with Cyco in the blog archives for more info.

Tony D - Tony D, the mad oldschool rapper and producer of artists such as Poor Righteous Teachers dropped the 'Droppin' Funky Verses' album in 1991. On the CD and tape versions of this release the final track on the album is called 'Shoe Polish' (as usual vinyl heads miss out). On the track he disses 3rd Bass from the start to finish. The disses were about their looks, their raps, their status in the hip hop scene and more. Tony D closes out the track with a bit of dialogue where he continues to diss 'em, saying that 3rd Bass were signed to Def Jam as replacement white rappers because of the Beastie Boys leaving the label.

(Tony D with the posse)

Tweedy Bird Loc -No stranger to the diss game, on Tweedy's '187 Ride By' album he dissed Tim Dog, Krs, D Nice, The whole South Bronx, Eazy, Ren, Dre, Yella, and Tarrie B. On his second album 'No Holds Barred' he continued the trend with a couple more disses. One of those was directed at Queen Latifah as a reply to her track 'Who You Callin' A Bitch'. Right or wrong it's a hell track with some funny lines (be warned, if your a big Latifah fan you may not like this track). MC Lyte feels Tweedy's wrath on the track as well.

Misc? - To be completely honest I hadn't heard of Misc? until I heard this album, so I have no idea about their history (aside from the fact they hail from LA) and what is behind their hatred for Dr Dre. But, as far as I can gather, the "Fuck Dre" diss off of the "In My City" album came as a result of Misc? getting fucked around in business by Dre. On the track Dre gets dissed both as a business man and as a rapper, Misc? clearly let the listeners know what they think of Dr Dre.


Sweetenlo - Compton Killa
Insane Poetry - You Better Ask Somebody 96
Tony D - Shoe Polish
Tweedy Bird Loc Ft 4Clips - I'm Calling You A Bitch
Misc? - Fuck Dre (And Aftermath)

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Review: Raheem - The Vigilante

Artist: Raheem
Album: The Vigilante
Year: 1988
Label: Rap-A-Lot / A&M Records

This album was one of the first albums released on Rap-A-Lot records along with Def IV's 'Nice And Hard' and Royal Flush's 'Uh Oh'. Raheem is one of the original Geto Boys (Ghetto) but left the group before the 'Making Trouble' album and a little later recorded this classic 'The Vigilante'. The album contains 11 tracks with no skits, 'Dance Floor' which is the first track and has a nice catchy horn for a hook, this was also released as the single for the album and while shooting the video for it Raheems friend N.C. Trahan was shot and killed over the road at a service station. You may recall seeing his name printed on the cover of Geto Boys 'Grip It! On That Other Level' cover.

The next tracks 'Freak To Me' which is about a freaky bitch Raheem knows, and 'I'm Mackin' which has a nice funky beat over medium paced rhymes are alright tracks although don't have the best lyrics (although I'm probably a bit hard as it's '88). Next up is 'Punks Give Me Respect' which is a bit of a reggae track and isn't too bad but the end dragged on with that reggae shit a bit too long. 'Your The Greatest' is a slow love track that reminds me of old LL style which leads me to believe that he was seeing how much pussy Cool James was getting and thought he might try and get a share of what Texas had to offer, or maybe he's actually into that wack slow lovey lovey shit?

Now we get to track 6 where this so far not to bad album gets fuckin' crazy with 'Shotgun' that has a mad guitar intro before busting in with some hard fast lyrics dissin people who sign wack contracts without reading them, the way he jumps into each verse is hard as hell, the only downfall to this track is there are a couple of mad scratch sessions that should have gone on for longer. The title track 'The Vigilante' is next and is another hard track it has a fuckin' incredible beat that changes for the breaks. Next is 'You're On Notice' and along with the previous two are the trio that makes this album. It has a mad beat that sounds a little like the batman theme with sick scratchin' it uses an old bdp beat from 'Criminal Minded' for the break with a Beastie Boys 'Time To Get Ill"' sample over it, it makes the track perfect.

'Peace' is next up and it goes back to the way the album was before the last three tracks started, good but nothing special. It starts with a mid-day movie styled theme before breaking into a rap about the problem of drugs in th hood. 'Say No' sort of continues the drug theme but I'm not really a fan, it's too reggae for me which unless it's being done by a selected few rappers like K Rino or Just Ice I don't really get into it. Although it does have a good funky flow and a nice beat. The last track 'Venom' is an instrumental track with some nice up tempo beats that change through the track.

Over all this is a pretty dope album that picked up a dayton simply for those three def tracks, but even the rest of the album is still good and has some nice production by Karl Stephenson and Rap-A-Lot president James Smith with some co-production by Davy D. After this album he released his second solo album 'The Invincible' and then joined Blac Monks for their second album 'No Mercy' in '98, he has also recorded some later solo stuff since that sound o.k. but thats about it.

It's actually strange how much the South has changed and developed it's own style since this album that has a slight New York sound to it. Raheem is a down south pioneer along with other early Rap-A-Lot artists and the under rated South Park Coalition. With albums that Rap-A-Lot, Big Tyme and the S.P.C. were dropping since the late '80's it's hard to find a reason why it took so long for the south to get the respect they deserve, while America was all east vs west the south was dropping bombs that fell on deaf ears outside the south (maybe not everyone, but alot), I will also add that as happy as I am for the south to be where they are I think that alot of the rappers that are blowing up arn't the rappers that deserve it, Lil' Flip and T.I. that both claim to be king of the south are perfect examples of that and there are also a lot of rappers from the south struggling for originality and just make albums talking about gripping their grain for the hell of it because thats what making money at the moment and is getting exploited (this was not a diss to all the rappers rhyming about that as I love alot of that shit, but you can have too much of the same shit).

Raheem - Shotgun
Raheem - You're On Notice

Rating: 3 Daytons out of 5

Friday, February 17, 2006

Tribute To The Pimp

One of the things I love when listening to hip hop is a dope tribute track. I'm very aware on how much a lot of people hate 'em, thinking they're just a cheap bite and I admit some of them are but when you have an artist like Thirstin Howl putting out 'O.G. Stripes' parts 1,2 and 3 all about the hip hop he grew up listening to or David Banner's west coast dedication track 'West Side' along with dozens of others they're just an artist giving respect to the artist that inspired them to grab the mic, and I love 'em.

I put an Eazy E one up a while a go and recently a Run DMC one so now I decided to chuck one on dedicated to the Oakland mack Sir Too $hort. He's not everyones type of rapper but his innovation of slangin' tapes to anyone and everyone on the back of busses and on the corner has definately been immitated by many since including the South Park Mexican who used to have his tape in a walkman hanging around car show exits and toilets with a try before you buy system.

Ever since $hort and fellow high-school rapper Freddy B started making tapes, $horts career got bigger and bigger. He hooked up with 75 Girls and released a couple of tapes before signing a contract with Jive. He retired to pimp some more cash from his label before recording a few more albums. He's recorded mega amounts of tracks on heaps of albums although his first five or six are alot better than his later material, he started the Dangerous Crew (Spice 1,Ant Banks,Goldie etc) and his own record label. Not too many rappers have had a career as long and as successful as Todd Shaw A.K.A. Too $hort, the Oakland Vet who moved to Atlanta about ten years ago around the time he and fellow Oakland rappers the Luniz had beef both on tracks and at Summer Jam on stage where former $hort friend and Luniz manager Chris Hicks got smacked by some of $horts crew. The beef has since been squashed and they even recorded a track together.

To cut a long story short, Too $hort is a Bay legend and here is a classic $hort track as well as a few tracks by various artists from various parts of America paying tribute to $horty the PIMP!!!

Don't Stop Rappin' (75 Girls)
Players And Raw (75 Girls)
Uncut And X-Rated (75 Girls)
Life Is...Too Short (1988)
Born to Mack (1989)
Short Dog's in the House (1990)
Shorty the Pimp (1992)
Get in Where You Fit In (1993)
Greatest Hits, Vol. 1: The Player Years, 1983-1988 (1993)
Cocktails (1995)
Gettin' It (Album Number Ten) (1996)
Can't Stay Away (1999)
You Nasty (2000)
Chase the Cat (2001)
What's My Favorite Word? (2002)
Married to the Game (2003)
Pimpin' Incorporated (2006)

Magazine article from "Rap Pages" March '94
(Click Images Below To Enlarge)

Too $hort - I Ain't Trippin'
Nemesis - I Need A Freak
SPM Ft Baby Beesh & Mr Shadow - I Need A Sweet (RMX)
Little Bruce - Girl
Mitchy Slick - Kreepy Trails

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Review: Mellow Man Ace - From The Darkness Into The Light

Mellow Man Ace
Album: From The Darkness Into The Light
Year: 2000
Label: X Ray

Cuban born Mellow Man Ace (brother of Cypress Hill's Sen Dog) burst onto the hip hop scene in 1989 with the album "Escape From Havana" which featured the bi-lingual hit "Mentirosa" and the classic "Hip Hop Creature". Mellow Man Ace soon became a respected figure in hip hop along with fellow hispanic rappers Kid Frost who came into the scene with 'Hispanic Causin Panic' and MC A.L.T. who all joined forces as 'Latin Alliance' and released a self titled album in '91 with the remake of War's classic hit 'Low Rider' on it. Mellow Man Ace had a falling out with Frost which led to the diss by Cypress on 'Insane In The Brain' ("fat boy on a diet, don't try it, bust your arse like a looter in a riot") and also dissed him by name in the same track. Mellow later released "The Brother With Two Tongues" in 1992, another solid effort from the East Los Angeles rapper.

"From The Darkness Into The Light" was released in the year 2000 on X-Ray Records and was Mellow Man Ace's third album.When I bought this I didn't know what to expect (the first thing I noticed was how much Mellow Man Ace looked like Run on the left of the cover). Mellow Man Ace's debut album was half incredible and half average, his second album was 100% hip hop and was definitely an improvement on his first, which I still loved quite a bit. From the moment you turn "From The Darkness Into The Light" on until the end of the album you are greeted with nothing but pure hard-hitting hip hop rapped in both Spanish and in English. The album is split into 2 sections - the "Dark Side" and the "Light Side".

Track one is the "Cleopatra's Dungeon Intro" where Ace gives a few shout outs to people involved in making the album as well as hyping up the tracks that are to follow. Next up comes "Is It You", a track aimed at haters and doubters. The concept for this track is fairly simple, he raps a line about haters followed by the name of the track, not an incredible track but it definitely has good replay value. The third track on the album it is titled "Guillotine Tactics", it features B-Real of Cypress Hill and Profound. Mellow Man Ace spits some out-there lyrics on this track, Profound raps about the harsh ways of the world and B-Real drops some gangsta rhymes in his typical fashion. I love how the sounds of a guillotine dropping and a knife/sword swinging have been worked into the beat, sick production by the Collective Funkateerz!

"Miracles" is another quality track, the production was again handled by the Collective Funkateerz and they did a great job creating a beat with holy atmosphere for Mellow Man Ace to drop powerful rhymes over. Ace's microphone presence is top quality on this track, he really commands the listeners full attention. This is followed by the more up-beat "Promotor Super Estrella" which unfortunately I can't understand due to it being totally in Spanish. The track sounds mad and the beat is top quality, which is no surprise considering it was produced by the legendary DJ Muggs (Cypress Hill/ 7A3). The final track on the "Dark Side" is "Future Shock", as the name suggests this has a futuristic feel to it, both lyrically and also in production.

The "Light Side" starts off with "Heaven", a thought-provoking track about many of lifes problems. The hook for this track is sampled and it is pretty sombre, the production fits the track perfectly. The Muggs produced "Ten La Fe" follows this up, this is another Spanish language track and it has fitting traditional latin folk singing for its hook. Next up is "Bring It Back", a track about hustling to come up, amongst other things. Ace drops some knowledge on this track about the rap game and life in general, this is certainly one of my favourite tracks off of the album.

The next two tracks were both produced by Tony G and they both feature Mellow Man Ace's brother, Sen Dog, and they are both sick. First off is "Feel The Steel" - Sen Dog sounds aggressive as fuck in this track, which is never a bad thing. Mellow Man Ace's free-flowing style and Sen Dog's aggressive, no-holds-barred style compliment each other well. "Sly, Slick & Wicked" again shows that the Reyes brothers make a killer combination, the track is full of battle rhymes, pretty much the message is that if you mess with the Reyes brothers then you're gonna get fucked up (I can't picture anyone who would have the balls/nerve to mess with Sen Dog anyway...). The album is closed out by the "Cleopatra's Dungeon Outro" where Mellow Man Ace just goes over what you've just listened to and gives out a few more shout-outs.

In conclusion, if you are a fan of Cypress Hill or even west coast hip hop in general then this album is well worth a listen (if you haven't heard it already). This album showcases Mellow Man Ace progressing even further as a rapper and is my personal favourite album of his (although I have yet to hear "Vengo A Cobrar" which dropped in '04).

Mellow Man Ace ft Sen Dog - Sly, Slick & Wicked
Mellow Man Ace - Bring It Back

4 Daytons out of 5


Note: StreetsOnBeats is now affiliated with German hip hop site UGRAP.DE so you will now be able to view selected reviews from our blog on their website in German.

Friday, February 10, 2006

R.I.P. J Dilla

Rest In Peace:
J Dilla aka Jay Dee (Slum Village)

Real Name: James Yancy
Hailing From: Detroit, MI.
Born: February 7 1974
Died: February 10 2006
Cause of Death: Died after a long battle with kidney problems

Slum Village - Fantastic, Vol. 1 (1996)
Slum Village - Fantastic, Vol. 2 (2000)
Jay Dee - Welcome to Detroit (2001)
J Dilla - The Rough Drafts (2003)
Jaylib (J Dilla/ Madlib) - Champion Sound (2003)
J Dilla - Donuts (2006)

J Dilla was responsible for the production of many artists material including Slum Village, Common, A Tribe Called Quest, Pharcyde, Proof, Chino XL and countless others.

Slum Village - I Don't Know

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Review: O.F.T.B. - Straight Up Watts

Artist: O.F.T.B.
Album: Straight Up Watts
Year: 1992
Label: Big Beat Records

Obviously by the title and the towers on the cover you can tell these guys are from Watts CA, the same place as Kam and the Watts Gangstas. The group consists of Flipside, Low M.B. and Bus Stop. You can tell how mad this is the second this album starts with the track 'Criminal At Large' with mad scratches over a siren, the lyrics are fast and hard as is the beat. You can tell that this is gonna be one of those crazy gems in the crate right from the start (This is also available on picture cover wax).

The next two tracks, 'Watts Life' and 'The Land I Roam' are about life from where they're from and are good tracks, especially the first. The next track 'Slangin' Dope' that starts off with a "Scarface" sample and has Richard Pryor samples throughout, the beats sick and so are the raps that makes this one of the albums best tracks. Track five starts off with a snippet of N.W.A.'s straight Outta Compton before the needle skips over the record to begin ' I Ain't From Compton' where they diss N.W.A. for being fake gangstas and Compton for being soft compared to Watts, deff track.

Next are 'From Jackin' To Rappin', On In The Projects' and their sex track ' Ride Dat Monkey', all good tracks. The next track 'Poverty Stricken' is obviously about being broke and has mad samples for the breaks and has nice rhymes and 'Don't Fuck Wit My Bizness' is another gem with fast paced lyrics warning everyone to stay out of their shit.

'Blacks Divided By Tracks' is alright but ' Not For The Pop Charts' is mad, dissing all sellout rappers that go pop to get on the radio this track has another mad beat as does pretty much the entire album and the last track 'O.F.T.B.' (which by the way stands for Operation From The Bottom) is my least favourite from this 13 track album.

Pretty much to sum this album up, if you're not into gangsta rhymes for God knows what reason then chances are you'll probably hit the stop button about 30 seconds in, but if your into this type of hip hop then you'll fuckin' love it. The tracks range from good to incredible and most tracks have nice scratches and samples and dope beats with production from Tee K.O. and Brian G and the executive producer is Greg "Greedy Greg" Jesse.

I haven't heard much about these guys other than this album, a feature on 'Justice For The Hood' off of fellow Watts group Juvenile Comittee's 'Free Us Colored Kids' album from '93, a couple of tracks on Death Row soundtracks (were signed by Suge Knight but no album was released) and the 'O.F.T.B. Presents - Return Of The West' compilation (1998 Flat Broke Entertainment) that features four O.F.T.B. tracks, Juvenile Comittee have a track under a different name as well as plenty of other nice tracks and they were also on Ice T's 'Gotta Lotta Love' video in '93.

O.F.T.B. - Criminal At Large
O.F.T.B. - Slangin' Dope
O.F.T.B. - Don't Fuck Wit My Bizness

Rating: 4 and a half Daytons out of 5

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

R.I.P. Poetic

Rest In Peace:
Poetic A.K.A. The Grym Reaper (Gravediggaz)

Real Name: Anthony Berkeley
Hailing From: New York
Born: 1966
Died: July 15 2001
Cause of Death: Died after a long battle with metastatic colon cancer

Gravediggaz - Six Feet Deep 1994 (also titled Niggamortis)
Gravediggaz - The Pick, The Sickle And The Shovel 1997
Gravediggaz - Nightmare In A-Minor 2002*

*Released After His Death

Gravediggaz - 1-800 Suicide

Friday, February 03, 2006

Fear Of A Black Hat

In '93, the same year that the Chris Rock classic CB4 came out, Rusty Cundieff wrote, directed and was the main star in the funny-as-fuck hip hop film 'Fear Of A Black Hat'. Rusty played the role of 'Ice Cold' and also did all his own raps for all the tracks to the movie and soundtrack. He also wrote, directed and starred in 'Tales From THe Hood' the next year and has been in a couple of episodes of the Chappelle Show amongst other things. The other two members of the group N.W.H. (Niggas With Hats) in the movie were Tone Deff played by Mark Christopher Lawrence and the Eazy E resembled Tasty Taste that was played by Larry B. Scott, the guy that played a Tri-Lam gay in the 'Revenge Of The Nerds' movies as Lamar Latrell (a slight difference from the the little hardcore gangsta rapper in Black Hat).

If anyone reading this has never seen the movie It's well worth a watch or twenty, in my opinion it's better than CB4 although many disagree. It has been released on dvd with plenty of bonus features from interviews to videos.

Below is a interview with the members of N.W.H. in character from the February '93 issue of 'Rap Pages' before the movie came out. and a few MP3's that I could scrounge up, unfortunately my favourite track 'Fuck The Security Guard' is missing in the rack somewhere so I couldn't put it up, but i'm sure if your a fan of the movie you'll enjoy these tracks.

^^ click to enlarge^^

N.W.H. - Booty Juice
N.W.H. - Gangstas Life
N.W.H. - Just A Human Being
N.W.H. - Grab Yo Stuff

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Down With The Kings

My first hip hop tape I ever bought was Public Enemy's Nation Of Millions, obviously I fuckin' loved the shit which led to my obsession of rap. It wasn't long until I grabbed my second and third, Run DMC's "Raising Hell" and "Tougher Than Leather". I cranked Run DMC hard for the first half of the '90's and although I still love those classic albums I don't listen to them that often anymore. That "Crown Royal" piece of shit that the label put out with old DMC verses put a bad taste in my mouth along with what i've seen from Rev Run in the last couple of years.

As far as what Run DMC have done for hip hop, it's a never ending list, from being the first rap group to perform at Live Aid, first rap group to have a video played on MTV, recording with a rock group, that whole Adidas in the air shit definately changed the game forever, showing the world the success a full rap album can have and just making young kids want to start rapping which is probably the most important thing. That was just a few things that came to mind and there's no need for me to say anything else, you know who they are and what they've done.

The unfortunate thing about the Hollis, Queens legends is that DMC has problems with his voice due to all his hard rapping into the mic over the years, the former "Son Of Kurtis Blow" Run always had an ego but back in the '80's you could get away with it like Moe Dee but as hip hop got bigger so did his ego and last of all the back bone of the group was killed in his studio.

I bought a couple of discs off of a guy on ebay the other day who chucked in a couple of freebies, one of them was a Clee & Drank-A-Lot album that features a tribute track to Run DMC's "It's Tricky". This made me think of a couple of other Run DMC tribute tracks and gave me the idea to chuck them on here along with an old interview from 'Record Mirror' magazine from February '87.

^^ Click Images To Enlarge^^

Run DMC - Down With The King
Gangsta Pat - My Gators
Spice 1 - Sucka Ass Niggas
Clee & Drank-A-Lot - Trickin'