Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Short And Sweet

...::: EP's :::...

Extended Play's have existed since the early days of the LP age, however the format became a massive part of the music industry in the 1950's/60's thanks to the likes of Elvis (who moved 16.5 million EP units) and RCA who used the format to release a range of soundtracks for Disney. As far as I'm aware, EP's don't have any specific time frames or a distinct track quantity but the title usually fits releases with four to seven tracks. There have been alot of hip hop artisits and groups who have dropped EP's in the past, and although many are sick, the obvious let down is that when you listen to them you are often left wanting more once the final track finishes. When I start to think of EP's in hip hop, NWA's classic "100 Miles And Runnin" pops straight into my head, closely followed by all the oldschool Street Military EP's that I feel could of got alot more exposure if they had an extra few tracks on each. I think that doing complete reviews for EP's is a bit pointless because it's hard to write alot about each one, so I've decided to just briefly talk about 5 at a time in various posts, with this being the first.

Ray Luv - Who Can Be Trusted?
First up is the EP that actually inspired this post, Ray Luv's 'Who Can Be Trusted?' EP that dropped on Strictly Business Records in 1992. San Francisco's Ray Luv came up in the game under the wing of legendary West Coast producer Khayree in the early 90's and was once rap partners with Tupac Shakur (who he also ghost wrote for). Although once known as Roc-T, Ray Luv was inspired by Tupac to change his name before he dropped this EP and created alot of noise in the Bay Area. This release features cuts courtesy of DJ Cee and production from Khayree, and its duration runs just short of the half hour mark. Although I only bought 'Who Can Be Trusted' recently, I've given his first full length album 'Forever Hustlin' alot of play over time, and although I wouldn't say the EP is of the same standard, it has a raw feel to it and some quality tracks, for example "1 Fo Ya Ass (Raymond's Dead)" that I've put up here for you to download.

Al-D - Mind At Ease
As the brother of late Houston pioneer DJ Screw, Al-D's Screwed Up Click membership is a given. After coming out with the 'Home Of The Free' album in 1995, Al-D followed up the next year with his 'Mind At Ease' EP on Jam Down Entertainment. Although it goes for almost 40 minutes, the run time is deceiving as the last track of the EP is an instrumental and the 2 tracks prior are just radio edits. With that already pointed out, I'd say the remaining 5 tracks make this EP worth owning if you're a fan of the SUC sound coming out of Texas. For me, the highlight of this release is the title track, 'Mind At Ease', featuring Act, Shorty Mac and Houston hip hop heavyweight Lil Keke. In 2001 Al-D came back with the '4 Da Green' album which is also available in a screwed-n-chopped version, he can also be heard on various Texas hip hop mixtapes and albums from other Screwed Up Click representers.

Eazy E - 5150: Home 4 Tha Sick
Although the cover clearly says that this is a 'Maxi-Single', I'm going to include Eazy E's 1992 '5150: Home 4 Tha Sick' into this post any way because it has 4 full length tracks that don't feature on any of his other original releases. Obviously Eazy is far from at his best on the repetitive Naughty By Nature produced 'Only If You Want It', but I've got to admit I still enjoy the track a fair bit, although the following 3 tracks are what make this a must have. 'Neighborhood Sniper' featuring Cold 187um is the jewell of this release, when you combine Eazy's ruthless gangsta lyrics with a hook that is as dope and original as the one on this track, you can't lose, the video for this track is also top notch as well. 'Niggaz My Height Don't Fight' allows Eazy to do what he did best, drop straight gangsta rhymes without playing around. To close out this short release, Eazy wishes the listeners a 'Merry Muthafuckin Xmas' with the help of a range of guests, including Will 1X (now Will.I.Am), who actually sounded pretty sick back then...damn, things have changed! R.I.P. Eazy E.

Rasheed - Livin' In D Ghetto
Philadelphia native Rasheed was an already accomplished battle rapper before he moved to Houston, Texas and dropped the 'Livin' In D Ghetto' EP on Lil Troy's Short Stop Records in 1994. For me, the stand out tracks on this grimey 33 minute release are: 'Skinny Nappy Nigga', 'Mr Fingers' and 'Boom Boom Bye'. After his stint at Short Stop, Rasheed later went on to sign with South Park Mexican's Dope House Records and established himself as an integral member of the Dope House family, as well as releasing the 'WetBlack' album alongside Low G. In comparison to his latest efforts, Rasheed's 1994 EP has a more rough, rugged and raw vibe to it, and although I prefer his newer stuff, the old Rasheed sound was still pretty sick. In the last couple of years Rasheed has released an array of different mixtapes etc that I'm still trying to catch up with, he's also got another album titled 'Street Corner Hustler' that he's ready to unleash, so it's safe to say he's been prolific in recent times.

3X Krazy - Sick-O
In 1995 the Oakland trio 3X Krazy (consisting of B.A, Agerman and Keak Da Sneak) dropped their debut EP, 'Sick-O' on Str8 Game Records. The EP, which runs for over 36 minutes, doesn't showcase the best of what the group had to offer, but it still proved as an effective introduction into the game, with the group since going from strength to strength both as a trio and in terms of forging solo careers. The stand out track on this EP is the title track, 'Sick-O', which features Gangsta P and Rap-A-Lot Records artisit Seagram (R.I.P.) from the 69Ville. For me, Seag grabs all the attention on this release with his solitary verse, and although 3X Krazy themselves hold their own, there is something about them that fails to grab me. The Bay Are trio followed up this EP in 1997 with their much requested 'Stackin Chips' album, which I think does the group alot more justice and is well worth listening to if you're into Bay Area hip hop.

Ray Luv - 1 Fo Ya Ass (Raymond's Dead)
Al-D ft Act, Shorty Mac & Lil Keke - Mind At Ease
Eazy E - Neighborhood Sniper
Rasheed - Boom Boom Bye
3X Krazy ft Seagram, Gangsta P - Sick-O


pimp said...

Great post!

Man Seagram and Lil Gangsta P took that track to another level. That Rasheed track is dope too; I got to find that EP.

SKITZO said...

Listenin to MAC MALL's early shit like 'ILLEGAL BUSINESS' or YOUNG LAYS 'Black N Dangerous' got me into RAY LUV...he's gotta real blunt voice...FOREVER HUSTLIN was a pretty decent full release...I'll have to sus out his first E.P

EAZY-E's E.P wasn't what I was expectin...wasn't polished enough for me...after all the work that went into the quality of M.C REN's 'KIZZ MY AZZ' E.P...RUTHLESS could have done a bit ya pointed out...NEIGHBORHOOD SNIPER was the stand out track on it...

BULLANT said...

I think Eazy just wanted to rush out a release to show Dre he didn't need him????