Sunday, November 16, 2008

Bent nickels down your way, don't trip

Back when I was in high school, I took the bus every morning and the bus driver would always have the radio tuned to Power 99. Sometime in my junior year, I heard Freeway's "What We Do" and was really grabbed by him. I knew him from that one verse on "1-900-Hustler" but this was his first single and considering he has guest spots from Jay and Beanie Sigel, he ripped it. Lines like, "when the sneaks start leanin' and the heat stop workin', then my heat start workin'" or "if my kids hungry, snatch the dishes out your kitchen" made what he was going through sound much more urgent than the usual sell crack/grind/paper chase talk. It sounded like that album was Free's only shot at a way to make a decent living, and if it didn't work out, he would go to any length to provide for his family. I think his dynamic tempo and barrage of words and details can be too much for some people, but luckily for me Free was in town to do a show. Since he's not homegrown or huge, the turnout wasn't great and that was disappointing. I know if this show had been scheduled at, say, the Trocadero in Philly it would have been pretty nuts. But Boston isn't the most rap-friendly city; I've never seen people more enthralled by UFC fighting than by an act on stage. Regardless of the patrons there, I was kind of surprised at how business-like the show was. When I hear Free's songs, I imagine concerts that are really emotional for him and he does all (and only) the gripping stuff. For example, I could have done without "Take You To the Top" and for most of his set, he only did his opening verse, then a quick snippet a cappella. I would have loved to hear "Baby Don't Do It" or all of "Free." So in honor of Freeway's perpetual grind in his songs, and my lack of hot water, here's what I'm rocking to this week:

Freeway feat. Faith Evans- Don't Cross the Line

The thing that has always stood out to me about Philadelphia Freeway is how Free is completely unapologetic about showing his love for Biggie and Snoop. The album is littered with Big quotes ("red boxers so my dick can breathe") or comparisons to DPG as well as doing songs with Snoop or Nate Dogg, whether or not they fit the album's tone. This song is no exception, but it finds Free at his best rapping like he needs to get something off his chest over a nice Just Blaze beats. As a quick sidenote, why would JB not work with free to devote his time to Saigon? Freeway's a great rapper with a unique style, while I can't recall a line by Saigon. Not to mention Free has actually been able to get his music out to his fans and develop a following, while Saigon complains on myspace. But what do I know?

Bohagon- Sing the Blues

If you never check out BLVD ST, you need to do so right now. Apparently, Bo's appeared on a gang of Lil Jon and Trillville songs, but I neglected to check those out, and I am quite fine with that. The only songs I know that feature Bohagon are "If It's Bumpin'" from Bubba Sparxxx's first album and an unreleased Jim Crow song. Noz, ever the champion of mistreated rap acts, caught up with Bohagon for the Fader a couple months ago, and hopefully we'll get to here more joints like this. This was produced by OutKast affiliate Mr. DJ, and BLVD ST has a great running series of unreleased songs produced by him. It's not some crazy, outer-space beat that might work for 'Kast, it feels like something in the vein of "Big Dreams".

UGK- Belts to Match

If you've ever heard "Tough Guy," you know that a UGK/Organized Noize collaboration makes for a great song. You also know that it means the song end up on the soundtrack of a terrible movie, in this case The Wood. While some wonder why Jive can't get their act together, I wonder why Bun and Pimp never added these songs to Dirty Money since they were both recorded before the album came out. In some ways, I see how Organized Noize and OutKast sound out of place compared to the beats of UGK, but it's a risk that should have been taken. Bonus track status at the very least would have been OK with me. This beat sort of reminds me of an upbeat version of "Spaghetti Junction" while Bun, Pimp and Smitty sound like they're doing a sequel of sorts to "Pinky Ring."

Cam'Ron- Killa Cam

Come on, he's the realest since "Kum Ba Ya."


Jordan said...

Re: Bohagon. I really like his single from earlier this year "been getting money," which is embedded in that noz Fader article. Also he's featured on tracks 15 and 28 of this uneven but pretty good mixtape.
I need someone to put the GA Durt album on the internet so I can get a better sense of Bo and move closer towards becoming a Playboy Tre completist.

josephlovesit said...

Damn, "Tough Guys" is so good. I can't believe it's relegated to soundtrack status; I would've loved to hear it on Stankonia. Bun's verse, those horns at the end, the accompanying clips on the Youtube video... shit's firing on all cylinders. "Belts to Match" is excellent as well. Thanks for pointing to these.

Jesus Shuttlesworth said...

jordan- "been gtting money" is good, it kind of reminds me of something jeezy would do. except i want to listen to this multiple times. what i'd really like is to hear him over some old goodie mob beats; his accent would work great with some of that stuff. i also really need to check out playboy tre, you seem to have taken a liking to him.

joseph- "Tough Guy" would have fit right in on Stankonia, you're totally right. i'd bet the Bun verse was too much for Big and Dre to tolerate, so they left it off the album. it could substitute in for "Gangsta Shit." at the end of the day, there's no excuse as to why these are on soundtracks, period. glad you enjoyed them both.

Jay (d)eff Kay said...

Whats up w/ Bohagon? Is he stuck in label hell or something? I've been meaning to check out an album or mixtape of his, ever since "been getting money" dropped - thats definitely a banger that should have blown up. the only other time I've heard him was on a Lil Scrappy song 'been a boss' - this collab is sort of a big deal to me, coz its with Mr Primatene Mist himself, Young Dro. Its pretty decent:

Jordan said...

Update: Someone did upload Georgia Durt (Bohagon and Playboy Tre) and it's pretty bad. Like, obnoxious dude outside Virgin Megastore asking if you like rap bad. ("The album is free! I'd just appreciate a donation!") This disappoints me a lot. Bohagon also released a solo album this year entitled 'Crunk In HD' that got so little attention I have to doubt if it has any merit. Nevertheless if some brave soul wished to download it and give their opinion, it would be appreciated.

Jesus Shuttlesworth said...

from what i understand, bohagon was originally on lil jon's BME label and appeared on lil scrappy and trillville's albums as well as kings of crunk and crunk juice. he's got his own label, black cartel, and has an album, Crunk in HD, out now.

also, i think he did a song with the winner of ego trip's (white) rapper show, it's on his myspace page.

what happened to dro? he wasn't on paper trail, and i haven't heard anything about a new album. lol at his "waffle house machinery."

Jay (d)eff Kay said...

"what happened to dro? he wasn't on paper trail, and i haven't heard anything about a new album."

yeah so sad about the lack of a dro album. the recession better not make it hard for niche rappers like this to put out albums. he's got a loooong way to go before his schtick runs dry. cars, guns, girls - he approaches all with the same, happy-go-lucky excitement. his enthusiasm's ridiculously addictive.

I'm just gonna pretend like fantasia's his yoko ono and its all her fault.

Jesus Shuttlesworth said...

"the recession better not make it hard for niche rappers like this to put out albums."

it might be easier to produce a bunch of niche rapper albums for the same price as, say, American Gangster. who knows, though.

hearing him talk about his cars, specifically "Ric Flair hair," is so much fun.

Jay (d)eff Kay said...

"it might be easier to produce a bunch of niche rapper albums for the same price as, say, American Gangster. who knows, though."

point taken, but to play devil's advocate, record companies may hedge their bets and go with the safer, more recognizable entities. a jay-z album might present better returns than a young dro album. Like, come a hard rainy recession day, kanye's gonna be the only artist from G.O.O.D music getting a release. Hi, My name is Consequence, can I take your order?

But like you said, who knows. I really have no clue about the internal workings of a record compny - i do however just generalize and assume that bigger conglomerate related record companies dont have their ears to the pavements, and so would take little risk with budding artists. hopefully independent companies can step their hustle up ala too short. companies like rap-a-lot and pretty much all of the bay seems like its already doing a pretty good job of developing large passionate local fanbases, and releasing non-mainstream records that sell quite well. like the last turf talk album apparently sold really well. so yeah, who knows

Jesus Shuttlesworth said...

yea, you're right in terms of what artists won't get the shaft, i was just trying to be hopeful that major labels don't give up on great acts. but this could be a great time for the independent hustle. or, gasp, rappers go on tour and are forced to put on consistently great shows.

BreadCity said...

Do you remember back around 2000/2001 when Roc-a-Fella had that huge extended fake-freeway-cipha on Flex's show? Freeway absolutely KILLED it! Jay-Z kept telling everyone to get your tape decks. I only had a clock radio, but I found it last year uploaded on a message board. Even though I'm not 17, Freeway's verses are still sick as hell. As for the rest of the team (Young Chris, Memphis Bleek, you know the deal) these [one-time] rappers literally spent the entire night bugging out with total unembarrassed enthusiasm for themselves and one another. Over beats. They were so hyped up that the lyrics were beside the point, the point being that their grimy positivity was infectious.

Jesus Shuttlesworth said...

for those who haven't seen the clip, it's here:

beans and free really know how to sneak in details that are just too much. for me, it's most surprising to hear jay's enthusiasm over hearing a lot of these guys, and it seems like he has a ton of respect for freeway.