Review Summary: 84's, candy paint, switchin' lanes, sippin' drank.
After breaking into the mainstream alongside Nelly on the hit single “Grillz,” it wasn’t difficult recognizing Paul Wall for what he is. Hailing from Houston, Paul Wall is just another dirty south boy influenced by the Texas rap scene. He enjoys the purplish hued concoction of codeine syrup and Sprite (complete with a Jolly Rancher.) He owns several lowriding automobiles decked out with big chrome rims, woodgrain and leather steering wheels, and luminous, bright paint jobs. He owns a few pairs of valuable veneers made with precious metals and jewels.
As a whole, the ethos of the UGK-era Houston hip-hop culture was largely centered around rare, custom cars (scrapers being the choice all the G’s); diamond-studded jewelry (pinky rings and grills being must-haves); and heavy drug use (pro tip: doing marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy, and codeine syrup is all the rage.) Many rappers were minorly successful in their attempt to imitate UGK’s signature style. Paul Wall is, somewhat, one of those artists.
With his southern, urbanized Caucasian drawl and materialistic, dumbed down lyricism, Paul Wall is one of the technically worst to ever attempt to mimic the southern rap legends Bun B and the deceased Pimp C. But he’s just so fun
. With his Texas tycoon funk beats adorned with funk reverbs, subtle, soul organs, buzzing synths, deep, drawling horns, and thudding bass to back him all the way, (besides the soul-track by Mr. Lee and the jazz track by Kanye West) Paul Wall succeeds in creating some great lane-switching, grain-gripping music. With his swaggering bravado ebbing him on, Paul Wall raps,
“I got a deep freezer up on my neck and sno-cones up in my ear/An ice tray up in my mouth, I'm lookin’ somethin’ like a chandelier/You can call me the ice man, I cause a blizzard every time I breathe/Posted up on that South Lee, with Big Mix and my boy Lil' Heat/Where's the drank? I'm runnin’ low, Cabbage Head told me it's a drought/But not to worry though, never doubt, I'll go to the doctor wit a cough/It's Paul Wall baby that's my name/Fly like a plane/What it do/I drop the top of my potnah plaque and chunk the deuce to that boy Gooch. Just like a midget I'm sittin’ low/and like a snail I'm crawlin slow/Where's Mike?, where's Bawdy?, he on the grind ducked on the low/Yeah I like my music slow, yeah I like my train mud/ I'm chopped up by Michael Watts, it's Paul Wall baby that's what's up.
In essence, Paul Wall is cool when he’s saying stuff like that, backed by his dripping beats. But when he strays from his comfort zone, he trips all over himself. Kanye’s jazz cut on “Drive Slow” is awful in juxtaposition to Wall’s subjects, as is Mr. Lee’s soulful composition on “Sippin’ Tha Barre.” On top of that, Paul makes a laughingstock of himself with his attempts at social consciousness (“Sippin’ Tha Barre,”) sentimentality (“Girl,” “Just Paul Wall”) downright stupid topics (“Internet Going Nutz”) and various awkward boasts such as “I’ll make you feel like you’re on the moon.”
An exceptionally mixed effort, The Peoples Champ
succeeds in being an entirely average combination of playful bravado, idiocy, and stylistic misplacement. If only Paul Wall could identify himself correctly, and adhere to what works, this record could easily be a 3.5. Alas, Paul Wall drops a full point due to his confusion and lack of intellect. So disappointing. Oh well, I’ll go listen to Ridin Dirty