Westside Connection
Bow Down


5.0
classic

Review

by BigHans USER (108 Reviews)
May 6th, 2010 | 115 replies | 13,724 views


Release Date: 1996 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Ice Cube could you please pass me my steel? Thanks.

6 of 6 thought this review was well written

You know that opening scene in Office Space where the whiter than snow, white collared Michael Bolton is un-ironically throwing up pseudo gang signs and dropping less-than-phat rhymes in a flow that makes Soulja Boy sound like the second coming of “Liquid Swords” era GZA? That’s me when I hear this record. In short, “Bow Down,” the debut album from hip hop super group West Side Connection, is the personification of 90s era West Coast, chest thumping, dick measuring Gangsta Rap. With apologies to “The Chronic,” which relied heavily on comedic skits, and “Doggystyle,” which was more suitable for party starting than providing the blueprint to rolling in the darker corners of Compton and the LBC, “Bow Down” is tough guy posturing in its most legit form. It’s also arguably the greatest hip hop record to emanate from the left coast during the decade, and the greatest work Ice Cube ever put his stamp on that didn’t include the letters N, W, and A.

“Bow Down” is a non-stop assault of threats, disses, macho braggadocio posturing, and chilling narratives not seen since “Straight Out of Compton.” Set to the siren wail west coast beats popularized by Dre himself, Cube, WC (Dub C), and Mack 10 never take a breath from informing us of their alpha dog status, delivering polarizing, haunting flows with lambasting verses and catchy choruses. The presence of an undeniable hook in almost every track does not cement this as hip hop pop, the result is more definitively in your face. There are no 2Pac-esque sentimental ballads, no Snoop like odes to schoolyards and block parties, and no “$20 Sack Pyramid Sketches” from the Doctor himself. Instead of half posturing/half showcasing a false sense of sentimentality, the trio tirelessly puts on a clinic of what Gangsta rap was supposed to be, not taking a break to pour out liquor for fallen comrades or easing a radio friendly message into the mix in order to sell records. Ultimately, the theme of “Bow Down” resides in placing a greater importance on being gangsters than artists, un-relentlessly serving up highly effective doses of true Gangsta Rap.

When analyzing “Bow Down” as a collection of rap songs, the album delivers on nearly episode, perfectly melding catchy, legit beats with flawlessly executed rapping. Aside from not containing a quasi ballad, nearly every Gangsta staple is delivered in exceptional form. The quintessential turf warring elements are found in the irresistible title track, the baiting “All the Critics in New York,” and the unequivocally brutal Cypress Hill diss, “King of the Hill.” The stance that a rapper will simply not hesitate to bust a cap in someone’s ass is executed in rare form on “Cross Em Out and Put a K,” the alpha dog setting, female belittling “Do You Like Criminals,” and the tailor made for cruising in a Bro-ham “3 Time Felons.” Even the more subdued moments prove menacing, as seen on the subtle chill of “Gangsters Make the World Go Round,” and the morose, ominous thunder of “The Gangsta, the Killa, and the Dope Dealer,” which samples NIN’s “Hurt” and arguably lands as one of the top five hip hop songs of the decade. Aside from the filler track “Hoo Bangin,” “Bow Down,” flows menacingly and exceptionally well through its entirety.

Looking back, “Bow Down” would prove to be one of the last of a dying breed. When Cube boasts "and when I hear Westside Connection, I get a f*cking erection," he might be braying in formulaic gangsta, but it doesn't discount the fact that he speaks the truth. As the industry would unfortunately soon switch to top 40, club happy hip hop, genre dinosaurs started falling off in rapid fashion. Ice Cube would eventually become a parody of himself, starring in children’s movies and fleeing about as far and fast as he could from Crenshaw Blvd. The merits of “Are We There Yet” aside, “Bow Down” is like a perfect snap shot in time in terms of analyzing the genre, and with better promotion, it could have brought that genre to its knees. “Bow Down” serves several purposes, aside from providing a highly enjoyable listen; it is cemented as probably the last superb Gangsta Rap album of the era, and stands today as one of its greatest.



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user ratings (63)
Chart.
4.3
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Comments:Add a Comment 
BigHans
May 6th 2010



26455 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Bow Down.

Counterfeit
May 6th 2010



17819 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Cause I ain't a hater like you, bow down to a n***a that's greater than you!

Love the review, someone really needed to review this gem.
pos'd

BigHans
May 6th 2010



26455 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

I know, its mind blowing how this only has 6 ratings. Album is so fucking good.

MUNGOLOID
May 6th 2010



4289 Comments


really need to get this. ice cube be one of my all time faves.

BigHans
May 6th 2010



26455 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Yeah man, you definitely need to.

Counterfeit
May 6th 2010



17819 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah this is Cubes best work, by far. Just straight gangsta rap. No "Bitches Ain't Shit" (Love that too, but you know what I mean.)

BigHans
May 6th 2010



26455 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

I love the Chronic but this is one of the most gangsta of the gangsta rap albums. Cube's best work second to Straight Out of Compton.

Tupik
May 6th 2010



671 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review, I'm going to listen to this right now.

Digging: Mick Jenkins - The Water[s]

BigHans
May 6th 2010



26455 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Love how he slams Cypress Hill:

"Everybody in the ghetto knows what you're doing, one white boy, and two fucking Cubans. Claiming that you're loco but you aint Mexican, here's another jar of vasoline before youi flex again."

Inveigh
May 6th 2010



24866 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

awesome review, I'm gonna Michael Bolton the fuck out of this shit on my way home.

"why should I have to change my name?! He's the one that sucks! I was THE Michael Bolton until that no-talent ass clown started winning grammies"

Digging: YOB - Clearing The Path To Ascend

BigHans
May 6th 2010



26455 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Fucking love that movie.

The most Michael Bolton esque moment is WC's verse on The Gangsta the Killa and the Dope Dealer IMO.

BigHans
May 6th 2010



26455 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

The proof:

Who's that dumpin' out that window hoo riding (westsiide)
Nobody survives when I got my steel up
Throwing my shit up pulling the trigga
What the fuck you lookin' at n*&ga [whistle]
True blue when I bust
Leavin' bodies hangin' like the tongue of my chucks
Chalk another one, homicidal in the G ride
I swear I'm killing every n*&&a standing outside
Letting 'em have it
With my double barrel sawed off
I'm smoking everybody n^$%as bitches and all
Stretch 'em out in broad daylight muthafuck the witnesses
Eyes big as golf balls from the funny cigarette [haha]
As the sun frowns on my forehead
I sweat murder (murda!) which makes me a walking dead man
Man bringing more bad news than shlepp rock
When I bust shots
W.C. keep the hammer cocked

Inveigh
May 6th 2010



24866 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

awesome

EyesWideShut
May 6th 2010



3120 Comments


finally someone reviewed this! classic west coast gangsta rap, and one of the best. great review and perfect rating.

BigHans
May 6th 2010



26455 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Thanks. I've been meaning to do this for awhile. I was in a hip hop mood today I guess.

EyesWideShut
May 6th 2010



3120 Comments


WC solo The Shadest One and Mack 10s Based On A True Story may not be on this level, but are still great if your into west coast rap.

BigHans
May 7th 2010



26455 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

I don't think I've heard those, but they sound like they're worth checking out. WC is absolutely phenominal on this album, almost over-shadows Cube.

somberlain
May 9th 2010



2121 Comments


4.5? good review but I don't think it's THAT good

Inveigh
May 9th 2010



24866 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I was listening to this yesterday, it's not as good as I remember, but I still like it a lot

Counterfeit
May 9th 2010



17819 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Seriously? I fuckin' love this. It's easily one of the most underrated albums of the 90's.



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