Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Style Master Generals AKA The Originators (The Emcee Edition Revisited) Part 2 Of 4

Wish Bone, Layzie Bone, Krayzie Bone and Dizzy Bone (Bone Thugs N' Harmony/Bone Brothers):

I’ll never forget watching Rap City on BET the day “Thuggish Ruggish Bone” premiered. The beat sounded kinda like a West Coast beat and a Down South beat at the same time and rappers were using a style I’d never heard before. They were rapping super fast and singing at the same time. I’m lucky I pressed the Record button as soon as I heard Rev. Calvin Butts voice or I would have missed when the beat first came in.

After it was over I was just in awe at what I heard (as was everyone at school the next day). The new Source came out and it had an ad for their new EP “Creepin’ On Ah Come Up”. I couldn’t believe that those cats were from Cleveland. After the EP dropped and the single “Foe The Love Of Money” featuring Eazy E got hella burn on the radio and video channels it was time for the album “E. 1999 Eternal” to drop. The album became a huge success due to the breakout singles “1st Of The Month” and “Tha Crossroads”.

It only got better for Bone and next came the “The Art Of War” project was a huge undertaking as it was a double CD. They became one of the biggest groups in all of music and cemented their spot after releasing solo projects, starting up a record label and dropping “Btnhresurrection”, “Thug World Order” and several more projects over the years even after the departure of Wish Bone. Oddly enough, the styles these Cleveland cats came up with caught the attention of some heads in Memphis. They even started their careers with a Bone diss song called “Live By Yo Rep” in 1995, they’re called:

DJ Paul & Juicy J (Three 6 Mafia, Tear Da Club Up Thugz, Hypnotize Minds LLC):

The Memphis style involved making music specifically created to make folks go crazy to the point that they get buck and throw elbows like mad. That crazy frenetic aggressive style of music made it way to Atlanta and ultimately inspired Crunk music. Dj Paul and Juicy J were the core of a lineup that changed often as Gangsta Boo, Lord Infamous, Koopsta Knicca, Crunchy Black and several others passed through the door but it didn’t change the final product.

After years of making noise down South, Three 6 Mafia got a chance to be exposed to the nation after signing a major distribution deal. Soon the video to “Tear The Club Up” was all over BET and MTV and Three 6 Mafia and the Hypnotize Minds camp had finally arrived. After a long line of successful singles (“Tear Da Club Up”, “Late Night Tip”, “Hit Em”, “Push Em Off”, “Who Run It”, “Sippin’ On Da Syrup”, “Tounge Ring”, “Ridin’ Spinners”, “Poppin’ My Collar”, “Stay Fly”, etc.) and albums (Mystic Stylez, Chpt. 2: World Domination, When The Smoke Clears, KrazyNDaLastDayz, Choices: The Album, Da Unbreakables, The Most Known Unkown) they copped a Grammy back in 2006 and now the whole world knows who they are.

With “Last 2 Walk” about to finally drop this summer Three 6 has just one question for the industry: Who run it? Coming up in Memphis, the Hypnotize Minds Posse were inspired by a young duo that were legends down South. They were known as:

8 Ball & MJG:

The story starts back in 1991 when two young cats from Memphis record the singles “Listen To The Lyrics”, “Pimp In The House” and “Got To Be Real” then sold it independently. They hooked up with Tony Draper and his Suave House label and released a string of classic albums that moved mad units all below the Mason-Dixon line (“Comin’ Out Hard”, “On The Outside Looking In” and “On Top Of The World”). It was just a matter of time before the major labels came calling, the Suave House camp connected with Relavity Records and re-released their “On Top Of The World” LP to much success.

8 Ball & MJG’s laid back smooth styles and playa style lyricism influenced a whole new generation of listeners and now they could reach a much wider national audience. They dropped solo albums as well, first MJG dropped “No More Glory” and the next year 8Ball dropped “Lost”. They were getting regular articles in Hip Hop magazines like The Source, Blaze and XXL and their videos even cracked the MTV rotation. After they reunited for “In My Lifetime Vol. 1” it was clear that they couldn’t be denied as a pioneering Hip Hop duo. New York emcees starting rhyming like them and they were always called for guest appearances by their peers.

They kept on recording throughout the years (“Space Age 4 Eva” and “Memphis Underground”) before Diddy himself came calling after starting his Bad Boy South label. They released yet another Gold album back in 2004, it’s title? “Living Legends”. Ball and MJG are still spittin’ that raw to this day. They don’t get older as the years pass, they just pimp harder. Speaking of pimps...

Pimp C & Bun B (UGK'z AKA Underground Kingz):

In 1992, two enterprising young men from Houston begin recording songs and selling them independently. They dropped two EP’s “Banned” and “The Southern Way” before dropping their major label debut “Too Hard To Swallow”. The project was fueled by the singles “Pocket Full Of Stones”, “Use Me Up”, and “It’s Supposed To Bubble”. The Hip Hop community immediately took notice.

They nailed down their region and they spoke directly to their audience which expanded with each project, it wasn’t long before Bun B had one of the most copied flows and styles in recent memory. Pimp C stayed lyrically on point while handling much of the production duties. They continued to drop classic material as the years passed (“Super Tight..”, “Ridin’ Dirty” and “Dirty Money”), Pimp C and Bun B’s influence on the game was undeniable. There were fools sounding like UGK all over the place. Jay-Z even claimed to have a copy of “Ridin’ Dirty” that never left his car and it was the one album that he bought repeatedly.

Pimp C went away for a bid and Bun B dropped a solo album (“Trill”) before Pimp C came home and dropped”Pimpalation”. It was time for one of the most influential duos in Hip Hop to come back and drop a new project. Last year they dropped “Underground Kingz” and had one of the biggest singles of the year, it even garnered them a Grammy nomination for “International Players Anthem”. The Underground Kingz were just kings now. Unfortunately, we lost Pimp C recently but he still lives on in his music and his fan’s hearts. One of duos that they influenced appeared in that same song, they are:

Big Boi & Andre 3000 (OutKast) (Dungeon Family, Earthtone 3):

“It’s beginning to look a lot like bud/follow my every step”...as soon as I heard that flow on top of that beat I knew that I was witnessing the beginning of something. The song was called “Player’s Ball” and the group was named OutKast. The new LaFace signees didn’t seem anything likethe other post New Jack Swing R&b groups that L.A. Reid and Babyface Edmonds normally trotted out in front of the public.

These cats were straight from Atlanta but they didn’t rhyme slow and laid back like most Southern emcees. It was syllables at a break neck pace and they flowed effortlessly over the bouncy, soulful track. I wondered if they could sustain that for a full album. My questions were answered when “Southernplayalisticadillacmusik” hit Earth like a comet. Invasion! Big Boi and Dre were like ATLiens. Half men half amazing. The singles “Git Up, Git Out”, “Southernplayalisticadillacmusik” and the combination of Big Boi and Dre inventiveness and the Dungeon Family’s production made for a classic album. It was just the tip of the iceberg.

Next album was introduced by the single “ATLiens”, it was evident that OutKast wasn’t going to be any flash in the pan group and they were about to shatter the sophomore jinx and enter the Hip Hop stratosphere. Once they touched down with “Aquemini” they were regarded as one of the greatest Hip Hop duos in history. Their collective creativity and inventiveness is on a level umnatched. On every song they try to outdo the other lyrically and even though they’re so different they each manage to bring balance to the group.

They’ve gone on to release “Stankonia”, “The Love Below/Speakerboxx” and “Idlewild” all to critical acclaim and commercial success. Give it up for two of the coolest muthafunkers on the planet...the sky ain’t falling ain’t no need to panic.

Fatlip (The Pharcyde):

Fatlip considered himself an oddball, a nerd if you will. While other emcees were trying to convince you how ill they were and how hard they were Fatlip would spit rhymes about getting dissed by girls, getting beat up by gangsters and general tales of failure and woe. He also did it with a unique combination of self depreciating humor and introspection. You often felt better about your life after a Fatlip verse.

Fatlip was overshining but his crew members in The Pharcyde had enough of his antics (he was battling serious drug addiction) and decided to kick him out the group. Fatlip got himself clean and threw himself into recording even more autobiographical material, the results were his singles “What’s Up, Fatlip” and “Worst Case Scenario” from his much delayed solo LP “The Loneliest Punk”.

If you go back and listen to Fatlip’s rhymes on “Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde”, “Labcabincalifornia” and “The Loneliest Punk” and then listen to the introspective, self depreciating semi autobiographical styles that emcees like Slug, Aesop Rock and Joe Budden use you’ll realize that Fatlip was indeed an originator. Just like another cat that had to bounce from another one of the greatest crews of the 90's:

Busta Rhymes (Leaders Of The New School, Flipmode Squad):

Busta Rhymes the mighty infamous, always misbehaving and mischievous first came into the public spotlight when the Leaders Of The New School’s first single “Case Of The P.T.A”/”Teachers Don’t Teach Us Nonsense” hit the airwaves back in 1991. The song became an instant smash and the video for “Case Of The P.T.A.” quickly moved up the charts on both Rap City and Yo! MTV Raps. The album “A Future Without A Past” blew up and the singles “Sobb Story” and “International Zone Coaster” dominated the airwaves while Busta Rhymes style, delivery and rambunctious energy made him a fan favorite.

Things only got worse in the group after Busta Rhymes performance in A Tribe Called Quest’s “Scenario”. His exuberant high octane rapid fire flow and personality thrust him into the forefront and he was a household name. The streets started talking. Charlie Brown and Dinco D are wack compared to Busta, he should just go solo. 

All Brown does is scream and Dinco is just not bringing it 100%. The next album was pretty much just every emcee trying to spit 24 plus bars to showcase that they were ill, too. Brown stopped screaming and Dinco D attacked tracks with vigor. Milo found himself in the group and he often got his time to shine but none of them could stand next to the light being cast by Busta’s aura. Eventually, the New School Society broke up and Busta went dolo.

He merked guest appearance after guest appearance until it was time for his first single off of his long awaited solo album “Woo Hah! (Got You All In Check)”. The song became a smash and the video was a clip for the ages. The album “The Coming” lived up to and surpassed fans expectations. Busta was all over BET and MTV, he was officially a star now. His second album “When Disaster Strikes" completely blew up and he never looked back.

"Extinction Level Event (The Final World Front)", "Genesis", "It Ain't Safe No More", "The Big Bang" and his upcoming "Back On My Bullshit" have cemented his legacy as one of the greatest to ever do it. As for Busta, he makes sure everything remains raw. Just like his boy from the Chi:

Common (G.O.O.D Music):

Back in 1992 he was the kid making all those “b-b-b-b-bye” sounds but since then Common calmed down. The first time the public ever heard the bony homie from Stony was on the track “Take It EZ”. His debut album “Can I Borrow A Dollar?”dropped and it resonated with fans thanks to his singles “Breaker 1-9” and “Soul By The Pound”

His relentless punchlines and humorous wordplay gained him many fans but he was not the same Common that we all know now. A young Lonnie Lynn used to act so ignorant, disrespectful and unruly in the studio that Juju of the Beatnuts used to regularly chide him for his actions. Read that last sentence again slowly so it sinks in.

His sophomore album saw him dump his old style and come up with more closer to the one he has now. His lines were more precise and technically sound. He also stepped up his already impressive pen game, the result was his first classic album “Resurrection” with the singles “I Used To Love H.E.R”/”Communism”. 

His next album saw him improve even more on “One Day It Will All Make Sense” just one listen to tracks like “Invocation”, “Hungry”, “1, 2 Many..” and “Making A Name For Ourselves” it was apparent that Common was on his way to becoming one of the best in the game. Once we all heard “Like Water For Chocolate” we realized he was on his way to becoming one of the best of all time.

Classic albums and singles later Common is still one of the elite emcees in the game after 15 years of rhyming. It’s hard to believe that this is the same Lonnie Rashid Lynn that used to sit and think with a drink about how he was gonna win or wonder if he could walk a righteous path holding a beer.

We're just halfway there, fam!



Anonymous said...
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John Wilson said...

how much time does it take to actually execute posts like these?

and how does miami bass tie to other genres?

and why are visitors not recognizing the consistency of excellence you're always bringing with the posts?

it's criminal, i tell you!

Anonymous said...

really enjoyin this read,

hey dart, have you checked that new k-def/dacapo ep? called 'the article'


Anonymous said...
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Wade Word said...

you are sick with it. great read.
wade word