Posts Tagged ‘the notorious b.i.g.

11
Oct
08

Albums That Need to Be Reissued

There’s nothing asshole label heads love more than reissuing old albums they somehow scored the rights to, forcing you to dig deep into your pockets for a Jackson just to hear an “alternative mix” with a different snare. How exciting!

It’s true, reissues generally add nothing to classics (Marvin Gaye, What’s Going On) at best, and corrupt masterpieces at worst (Michael Jackson, Thriller: 25th Anniversary Edition). But I’m confident that this could be rectified by sitting these label execs the fuck down and schooling them on what albums they actually need to be reissuing, instead of just dragging out the 15th Thriller reissue.

What follows is a list that does just such a thing. Now get on it!

Schoolly D Schoolly D / Saturday Night! The Album

What, the founder of gangsta rap don’t get no love? Both of these albums are out-of-print and impossible to find unless you get a bootleg or drop 100 big ones on eBay for some old-ass, beat up copies.

It’s ridiculous that young heads can’t get a legit copy of the album with “PSK What Does It Mean?” and “Gucci Time” on it. I hear shifty-ass Jive Records may have reissued them a while back, but without all of Schoolly D‘s tracks, and with the two albums all mixed together out of order.

Fuck that, release a 2 disc set, make the first disc Saturday Night! and the second disc Schoolly D. Or, if you can’t afford to press that up, do like the Amerikkka’s Most Wanted /Kill At Will reissue and just put the two albums on the same disc, but in the right order.

Come on, this is a hip hop legend, sampled by the likes of the Beastie Boys, The Notorious BIG, and Jim Jones.

He’s relevant, he’s talented. Reissue these.

Ice-T Power

Ice-T is a beast, and this is far and away his strongest effort. However, it has a huge, gaping hole right in the middle of it. Colors, Ice-T’s best song aside from 6 N The Morning, doesn’t appear on any of his studio albums, just his greatest hits collection and the Colors soundtrack (good luck finding that). There isn’t a better album to put it on than Power – they have the same punchy, funkadelic synths and smoothed-out Ice-T flow.

Sure, it’s only one bonus track, but if you’ve heard Colors, you know that that the addition of that one track would elevate Power from classic to masterpiece.

One thing, though: you can’t just tack it on at the end of the album, that would fuck up the story told in the intro and outro. Put it between “Girls LGBNAF” and “High Rollers,” maybe?

Snoop Doggy Dogg Doggystyle / Over the Counter

Death Row’s dropped two Doggystyle reissues already, but they didn’t do it proper. All of the skits are mixed into the songs (incredibly frustrating, trust me), and Gz Up, Hoes Down is nowhere to be found (actually, it was nowhere to be found after early pressings). It’s sort of nice to know that I own the best version of Doggystyle around (purhcased on eBay), but at the same time, it sucks that the world can’t enjoy this classic like it should.

And I’m sure I’m not the only Snoop fan fiending for his unreleased debut album, Over the Counter. All we got is a 5-track bootleg of it. Give us the full thing on a second disc, maybe tack on all those Doggystyle outtakes floating around YouTube, too.

Whoever it is bought (buys?) the rights to Death Row’s catalogue owes it to hip hop to make this happen.

It’s already been reissued, but after hearing the recently leaked OG Edition, I’m sold on the idea of another go at it. I’m sure Puff would be up for it, since money’s involved. Maybe he could buy his jet back.

What else deserves a proper reissue? Talk on it.

05
Sep
08

Rappers Are Not To Be Trusted

(Case in point…)

The other day, I was browsing the hip-hop music section in a used book store I frequent when I came across a Naught By Nature CD, “Poverty’s Paradise.”‘

I had recently bought their self-titled classic on cassette from Goodwill and fallen in love with it, especially the Queen Latifah-assisted “Wickedest Man Alive.” I hadn’t heard of “Poverty’s Paradise” before, however, and wasn’t sure if I should buy it or not. I ultimately didn’t. Why? Because, unfortunately, I’m not a rock fan. Rappers are not to be trusted.

Unlike, say, AC/DC or whatever else rock fans listen to, I cannot simply stroll into a store, grab a CD by a rapper I like, and go buy it. Unlike most other genres of music, rappers are ridiculously inconsistent.

They don’t even make so-so follow up albums, many of them drop a classic and then turn bad. Think about it – how many hip-hop artists can you name, just off the dome, who had great debuts and awful follow ups? How about Raekwon, Nas, Jay-Z, Big Pun, and The Pharcyde?

These are legendary artists – I even go so far as to call Pun the greatest rapper of all time – so why can’t they bring it more than once or twice?

Of course there are exceptions  – Biggie, KRS-One, Scarface, and Ghostface Killah come to mind – but the overwhelming majority of hip-hop artists, as Jay-Z said on Takeover, had a “spark when [they] started, but now [they’re] just garbage. Fell from Top 10 to not mentioned at all.”

What’s the reason for this? And why is it exclusive to hip-hop? Shit, I could go pick up literally any Prince album right now and I guaranteed I’d love it. Same with James Brown, John Legend, John Lennon, Rick James, etc.

One can never be sure, but I think it may have something to do with hip-hop’s “reality fetish.” I own one of those shitty QD3 DVDs (notorious for recycling the same interviews ever movie), “The Art of 16 Bars” where one artist – I wish I could remember his name – brags for a while about having no imagination. “I wish I could use my imagination and just make stuff up, but I can’t.” Apparently he could only rap about his own concrete reality.

In any other genre, he would get laughed at for saying that, but not in hip-hop. It’s the only genre of music where the fans expect everything said to be true. It’s dangerous to be a rapper, where using a gun metaphor can inspire people you’ve never met to step to you.

Look at the consistent artists I mentioned before – you’ll notice they’re also the ones who have the best imaginations. Biggie commited suicide on record, Scarface did a song about being a psychopath and one about being a ghost, KRS-One did a track about being a blunt, and Ghostface penned Underwater, a trippy fantasy where he meets mermaids and Spongebob, ultimately finding Atlantis.

You could say it’s because artists aren’t as hungry after they drop and get rich, but I suspect that’s because they run out of ideas after the first album, which is sort of a culmination of their entire lives up to that point. They just don’t no where to go after it. It all seems to come back to a lack of imagination.

Or am I missing what it is? Speak on it.