Review Summary: Two Discs of pure awesomeness
After years of albums that seemingly were undercut and felt a bit too short, if only because of the strength of UGK, Pimp C and Bun B finally created their sprawling epic of a double disc album in Underground Kingz
. In rap and music in general, even the most amazing of legends have blundered on the double disc. B.I.G., Tupac, The Beatles all have tripped over themselves attempting to write a two disc album, having overlong collections of songs that felt jarring and wrong in their flow. Unlike these albums, however, Underground Kingz
, other than a couple of short exceptions, is thoroughly consistent.
The first disc of Underground Kingz
, out of the two discs, particularly shines, due to the focus of highlights being aimed at the beginning. The blazing 70s Funk Rock guitar riffs of Pimp C’s “Swishas and Doshas” and DJ Paul & Juicy J’s Willie Hutch sampling “Int’l Players Anthem” show a stark contrast between each other, but both stand out as wondrous highlights. The chemistry between Bun B and Pimp C is still so prevalent on “Swishas and Doshas”, with the grooving funk meshing perfectly with the rowdy Pimp C and the gruff, speeding delivery of Bun B. “Int’l Players Anthem” is something else though. “Int’l Players Anthem” collaborates Three 6 Mafia behind the boards, and with Outkast on the mic, which would seem a bit uncomfortable at first, but Big Boi’s awkward pushing flow and Andre 3k’s beat-less verse all add their part to a song that already is strong just from the stand point of UGK.
In spite of the first two songs creating an illusion of going completely hard, the entirety of Underground Kingz
seems a bit relaxed. UGK continue digging into their grooving sound by introducing other producers into the boards, creating a mixture of glorious rap anthems like the title track or slowly moving tracks like “Gravy”. Outside of the first two tracks, the first album stays true to the clean-cut, smooth funk sound of the pimpin’ UGK, but there are a couple of exceptional highlights. The slick, soulful organ gospel of “Quit Hatin’ The South” addresses a serious issue that goes unnoticed in hip hop, while “Trill Niggaz Don’t Die” utilizes plastic horns, funky bass, and the heart baring Z-Ro and adds a pinch of UGK for good measure in order to close the first disc on a sweet note.
The smooth moving sound of Underground Kingz
is why it works so well, but it’s also a bit of the emphasis on structure that applies to both discs. On the second disc, it’s very much similar. The soul funk epic “How Long Can It Last” and the creative Scarface re-make “Still Ridin Dirty” smash off the second disc on a thrilling note, while posse cut of the year 2006 (with Big Daddy Kane and Kool G Rap) “Next Up” and the sentimental “Living This Life” seal the album on a high note. The rest of the record consists of UGK constant making small changes to their two immense sounds and Pimp C and Bun B consistently out-rapping their other southern competition.
The difference between the two discs, however, is that the second disc is actually filled with a little bit of filler. Jazze Pha’s synths and militant drums sound undeniably stale on “Stop-N-Go”, and his bland hooks and dreadful verse just ruin a song already riding off course. Jazze Pha’s other weak production on “Tell Me How Ya Feel” show a lack of chemistry between the Jazze and UGK, which Pimp C tries desperately to cover up with his ace verses on both songs, but Bun B just sounds direly directionless on both tracks. In addition to that, although Lil Jon’s romping crunk is usually something to be enjoyed on a rap record, the original “Like That” is an utter mess, with fart-y bass and mind numbingly dull movement, almost requiring the more UGK sounding remix which is infinitely better on the first disc. Other than those couple of low lights tackled on the second disc, Underground Kingz
is still immense and at the same time generally consistent. Next time one judges southern rap, one must think of Underground Kingz