Saturday, April 15, 2006

Review: Convicts - Convicts

Album: Convicts
Year: 1991
Label: Rap-A-Lot

This album is from one of the dopest record labels of all time, Lil' J's Rap-A-Lot Records. From it's early days of releasing material from the original Ghetto Boys like the "Car Freaks" 12" and then the new line up "Making Trouble" album to the Def IV, (former Ghetto Boy) Raheem and Royal Flush albums, the label was always going to be crazy. Even though the path was laid in the late 80's with those classic releases I think it was when the Rick Rubin backed Geto Boys self titled album dropped in 1990 that the label went to a new level with the early 90's releasing albums by artists like The Terrorists and Ganksta N.I.P. from the South Park Coalition, East Oaklands Seagram (R.I.P.), Odd Squad, 2 Low, DMG, Trinity Garden Cartel, Big Mello (R.I.P), Tim Smooth, Blac Monks, O.G. Style, Too Much Trouble, 5th Ward Boys and of coarse these guys, The Convicts.

(Rap-A-Lot CEO Lil J)

The Convicts consists of Big Mike and Lord 3-2 who got put together by Lil' J to make this classic album that you'd be lucky to find a copy on ebay for less than $50 and was one of the few Rap-A-Lot albums in the 90's that was released on picture cover vinyl with all the tracks instead of a plain covered 6 track "Hot Club Wax" release. The album starts off with "Free World' that has the two pretty much going through what they got convicted for and giving a run down on the jail system, pretty def track. Track 2 hits with "Peter Man" which is Big Mikes alias as a dope man, the tracks about him going around slangin' it is a crazy track but pretty unrealistic with Mike spraying up at least a dozen people including a bunch of jump out boys in 6 minutes and 45 seconds. It does have a nice Flavor Flav "stay off his dick" sample for the cut. Next up is "This Is For The Convicts" which must have pissed label mate O.G. Style off with the first minute of the track being ganked straight off his "I Know How To Play 'Em" album. After that it goes straight into some crazy fast hard rapping by Mike and followed by the same fom 3-2 with a nice beat.

This next track is called "Fuck School" and to be honest I find it out of place stuck in the middle of a in-and-outta-jail album. I think it should have been done either as track 1 or as a past tense styled track? You can guess the basics of what this one's about (dissing teachers, slangin' and partying) it has a nice funky sax sounding hook to it."Penitentiary Blues" talks about different penitentiary issues from the bad food to jackin' off in the showers and is a pretty good track but has some pretty average rhymes to it.

(The Geto Boys with Big Mike in the line-up)

This next one is one of my favourites from the album, it's called "1-900-Dial-A-Crook" it starts off with a couple of guys in the middle of stealing a car calling their phone service on advice to get it, the call gets put on to Big Mike who gives the play by play, that verse ends with the two guys thanking Mike before the next customer calls in and speaks to 3-2 about rocking up some coke. The next caller needs help on his bitch kicking him out which is answered by a dope Scarface verse. This is where the track gets a little off topic, Lil J calls up saying he's locked up in Saudi Arabia and needs to take out Saddam Hussein, Willie D kicks the Hollywood type verse followed by Bushwick Bill which seemed a little weird for me considering the Geto Boys album that came out that same year has Bushwick dedicating a whole track about 'Fuck A War' with lines like "I ain't goin' to war for no shit talking President" now all of a sudden he's taking out Saddam? "Woop Her Ass" is a good track about exactly that and has a mad sample of Andrew Dice Clay ("kick the bitch down the fuckin' block") throughout and ends with a verse by Rap-A-Lot's female rapper, Choice. "I Ain't Going Back" and "I Love Boning" are next and are not too bad but for me nothing special. The album gets back in gear with "DOA", I can't say much about this one other than it's a dope straight up gangsta track.

"Wash Your Ass" is a funny fuckin' track with lines like "Funky bitch , while dont you take a bath hoe, you've been having 'em same draws on 3 days in a row". You may think by the title that the track is a metaphore ,but no it's about people stankin' needing to wash their arses. The reason for this track is beyond me but it has a dope beat. "Illegal Aliens", This track sort of pisses me off when I hear it, 3-2 starts by dissing the fuck out of "wet backs" and then Mike starts on Japanese and Iranians and also gives a few lines to Mexicans again. The track is laced with ignorant racist comments before the track is out they manage to diss the Chinese, Vietnamese, whites and Cubans. Everyone's opinion will vary on the track though.


Over all as much as this album is sought after and is a old classic gangsta album, in my opinion it's not as good as some of the other Rap-A-Lot releases of it's era like O.G. Style's but it is still a deff album with a few incredible cuts on it. After this was released Big Mike and 3-2 went to L.A. and stayed in a apartment paid for by Suge Knight. Snoop ended up staying with Mike because of his Long Beach home being too far from the studio. Mike and 3-2 even recorded a track with Snoop and Warren G and was also signing to Death Row but with limited studio time and their project getting pushed back Mike decided to take up Lil' J's offer of replacing Willie D as the new member of the Geto Boys. The two of them packed their bags and returned to Houston, Geto Boys released "Till Death Do Us Part" in '93, and Mike followed up with his solo "Somthin' Serious", "Still Serious" and then "Hard To Hit". 3-2 hooked up with Da and Awol to release the Blac Moncs "Secrets From The Hidden Temple" album and then his solo "Wicked Buddah Baby" album and another Blac Monks album before leaving Rap-A-Lot.

Big Mike has recently been released from jail after serving three and a half years and dropped "Naw'Lins Phat". 3-2 has recently released the "Probation" album.

Convicts - Free World
Convicts - 1-900-Dial-A-Crook

Rating: 3 and a half Daytons out of 5


Anonymous said...

I've heard this album was where Dr. Dre got the whole "Death Row Inmate" idea from.
Great site man probably my favorite

BULLANT said...

Iv'e never heard that before, but I reckon your probably spot on because it was just after this came out that they started Death Row and not long after they called Mike and asked if they wanna sign up to their label because the Convicts image fits the label perfectly.

Thanks for checking us out and taking the time to comment. Much appreciated.


TexasHeater said...

Cool Cool. I heard some where that 3-2 was saying that Snoop stole his style/flow.

Also, I got a chance to meet Big Mike last year in November. We brought him down for a show with Devin the Dude, Bavu Blakes and Chalie Boy. Man if you ain't seen Big Mike perform live then your missing out.


BULLANT said...

Don't rub it in Heater, You know that I don't have a hope in hell of ever seeing him live.

Anonymous said...

Yes. this convicts album is very punk rock, as by many of the lyrics and track titles, attempts to evoke a heavy "shock value" element. The track "illegal aliens" is a great song to examine and identify as conversations of socio-economic politics of Texas at the turn of the 20th century. I found it intriguing the among of xenophobia that these two Houston African-Americans have. Especially relevant today with the Bush/Congressional Immigration debate.

TexasHeater said...

Hey hey hey, you do have hope man. I got Big Mike's contact info. You guys could for sure bring him down under. He will work with you.

BULLANT said...

With his criminal record..... our government would deny him in a heart beat. Thanks anyway though, I guess i'll have to save my change and book a flight to Texas... one day.

TexasHeater said...

Well if you do ever come down here, you already have a place to stay. Holla

BULLANT said...

Man, thanks for the offer. I hope to take you up on that one day. You know the same goes down here.


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