Saturday, October 15, 2005

I Got White Girl For Sale!

The title of this post is the first thing that popped into my head when I came across this picture tonight. Anyway, on to the actual topic...

A lot of times I go on binges when it comes to Bay Area rap. For instance, right now I'm on an E-40 binge which means I'm digging through my archives and pulling out all my E-40 and E-40 related CD's and tapes. Next week I may pull out every SoleSides related piece of music I have. Anyway, at this moment I'm listening to not only the best all-around album to ever come from our friend, Mr. Earl Stevens, but also one of the best to ever come from any Bay Area rapper, which is In A Major Way. I defy you to argue with that. You can't.

For older Bay Area rap fans, In A Major Way is a landmark album, an audio reminder of when the Bay Area scene was at it's best. Who else out there can play this album now and instantly flashback to when it first came out and actually visualize what you were doing when you listened to it? I can clearly see myself in a friend's car driving through Novato, CA listenening to "Fed" with its rumbling Funk Daddy production matched with three perfect verses from 40 and thinking it was the greatest damn song I'd ever heard. To this day it's still one of my favorite tracks. Earl destroys that song!

First let's look at the production on this album, shall we?

Sam Bostic and Mike Mosley
Funk Daddy from the Northwest
Studio Ton
Kevin Gardner and Redwine, also from the Northwest

All he needed was a track or two from K-Lou and 40 would have had every top "mob" producer at the time on one album. Maybe some Ant Banks too, but he wasn't as much of a "mob" producer. There isn't a throwaway beat on the entire album. These are the kind of beats that the Bay needs to get back on and I don't give a fuck what anyone says about "living in the past" and "the Bay needs to move on." What's funny is these same people are the ones who also say that the Bay needs to embrace our own sound and expose it to the masses to blow up. The mob shit we were doing back then IS our sound and is what we should be beating into people's heads until we catch the break that the South got, specifically the Houston area. They did THEIR OWN shit from top to bottom from the sound of their music to the lifestyle they lead. They pushed Houston onto people real heavy and it worked. To me the majority of shit dropping these days from the Bay Area is sounding too much like what other regions are doing. How is that embracing our own sound? I see good things happening for us if we embrace our past and bring that "mob" sound back.

On to the features.

Suga T
Mac Mall
Spice 1
Celly Cel

This is how I like 40's features... Family, labelmates and associates. Shit, he even had Mac Mall on there which, for you youngsters who may not know, was kind of a big deal at the time because that was one of the first collaborations for rival Vallejo neighborhoods, the Crest and the Hillside. Then you throw in some solid, laidback B-Legit ("...take her for a ride in my blue Lex Luthor..."), some vintage Spice 1 and Celly Cel, slap Levitti-the best hook man in the Bay-onto a couple tracks and you got a short, but effective list of features. And don't forget that 40 got Pac on "Dusted 'N' Disgusted" which was a definite album highlight. He kept his features to a minimum and everyone put in some good work, no canned verses from anyone. Even Suga T fit in good on the "radio" track, "Sprinkle Me." And hey, for all the new Bay Area fans, you even get to hear a very young Droop-E rap on "It's All Bad." I was never a big fan of 40's feature choices on his later albums though. Obviously, he was reaching out and trying to draw in a wider range of fans on his more recent albums and sure, some of the features worked and sounded good with 40, but others just seemed forced.
Even the damn cover of In A Major Way was perfect! 40 cooking up a big ass pot of crack with a chunky, old school brick cellphone on the stove!?!?!?!?! Classic!

One thing that saddens me about this album, which deserved to go platinum within a few months of release in 1995, is that it didn't actually earn that plaque until SEVEN years later! That's ridiculous.

In closing, if you're an older Bay Area fan like me, pull all of 40's old shit out (especially In A Major Way) and listen to all of it again. And if you're a youngster who only knows 40's new music, find some of his older works and soak 'em in. E-40 and his older music (along with many other rappers and their past catalogs) defined and made the Bay Area scene that you get to enjoy now.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is a classic blog post.

October 15, 2005 10:43 PM  
Blogger seen510 said...

I can savely say that "Dusted & Disgusted" is one of the greatest posse cuts ever...

Also...I too believe the the "mob music" sound should continue to be the framework that BayHop builds from..there's no prob trying new things but I tell ya tryin' to appeal to the latest thing isnt gonna work...

Like u said about the south they did it their way...they brought their lifestyle to the masses and look at 'em now...

Nuff Said

October 16, 2005 3:50 AM  
Blogger jayo said...

I totally agree with you on In A Major Way. Easily one of my favorite albums of all time.

What I don't get, is this whole hyphy VS mob music thing. As if the bay can only have ONE sound? The bay is a diverse place, and bay rap should reflect that diversity by not relying on one standard subgenre. And it doesn't. So it seems to me that what it really comes down to in this hyphy VS mob thing is that people would rather see their favorite artists focus on one instead of the other. And really I think thats just selfish. Let the artists do what they want to do. I ain't mad at Yuk for not embracing hyphy.

Also, I really really disagree with you that bringing back mob music would help the bay blow up. I love mob music, don't get me wrong, and I support artists that keep it up, but this is a post-neptunes post-crunk world, and mob music just doesn't feel fresh. Hyphy/New Bay music spawned out of mob music, and believe that in the future something will spawn out of those. It's all about progression and evolution of soundscapes, not beating a dead horse with a aluminum bat.

October 16, 2005 1:31 PM  
Blogger jayo said...

shit, that one line should read "And it does", NOT "And it doesn't".

October 16, 2005 1:32 PM  
Blogger jayo said...

Damn, what a terrible writer i am, its a double negative so yea, what i meant with those two sentences is "They bay is diverse, thusly rap music should be and is diverse"

October 16, 2005 1:34 PM  
Blogger Doxx said...

Right on jayo. I can appreciate where you're coming from. Maybe I was a little too "one way or no way" on the issue because believe me, I'm open to all styles coming from the Bay from The Coup to 40 to Sacred Hoop to you name 'em. In fact my next post of my current 40 binge is about how we need more collabs between him and artists like Lyrics Born and Casual like on that remix of "Callin' Out." I should have been a little clearer I guess.

It's not really a thing with me about my favorite artists focusing on one particular style as much as it's about them focusing on the style that I think works best for them, be it hyphy, mob or what have you. So in terms of 40, I guess I just think he sounds better over mob music as opposed to crunk sounding music for the most part. If he sounded great to me over crunk beats I'd acknowledge it and support it.

Good dialogue folks. This is why I love this bloggin' shit.

Also, on a different note... Shoot me your e-mail or number or something. I have some questions about posting mp3's.

October 17, 2005 12:08 PM  
Blogger funkybiznatch said...

yeah man i been having conversations with a lot of folks about the validity of the term "New Bay" and what that really means in terms of a specific sound. People like genre classifications and like things to sound a certain way...take the LB/40/Casual remix for example - when we dropped that shit people were hella confused cause 40 dropped a flow that was not his signature vocal style. You'd be surprised how many people where like "that ain't 40."

For me personally the thing that gets me going about the Bay is the inherent sense of "hustle" that makes the music hype. At least for me. It's that hustle that gets me going every damn time...regardless of it being "mob" or "hyphy" or "backpacker", "arty" or just plain old cutty slaps.

October 17, 2005 4:07 PM  

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