Review Summary: Players rejoice, here's some unheralded, oft-ignored southern music that's sure to rattle in your Cadillac.1 of 3 thought this review was well written
Although it's relatively common in the rap game, when Montgomery, Alabama cousins Daniel Thomas and Tarvares Webster - known henceforth as Big Pimp and Mr. G-Stacka The Gangsta - joined forces to form a hip-hop a group in 1999, it wasn't an act of nepotism. Despite not being greeted with the success or achieving the notoriety of other great southern rap acts from the 90's, the two cousins are indeed immensely talented. On The Pimp & Da Gangsta
, which as music critic Ryan Pecoraro said, is up there with the "likes of [UGK's] Ridin' Dirty
, [Outkast's] ATLiens
and [Goodie Mob's] [i]Soul Food[i]," the two can be found shredding through verses with ripping double time and hopping back and forth from city slick to country sh*t, and the unpredictability of the contrast is awesome.
Anybody with a sister in her tweens will recall the lyrical ethos of Miley Cyrus' (or if you prefer, Hannah Montana's) title sequence song - "I've got the best of the both worlds." Well, Big Pimp and Mr. G-Stacka have the best of both worlds as well; the best of both the simple rural life and the fast and furious urban life and of both the grit of gangbanging and the extravagance of pimping. Sure, it's largely the same old song and dance of cars, money, b*tches, guns and drugs, but it's the way Big Pimp and Mr. G-Stacka go about telling those stories that distinguish them from the rest of the dirty, dirty (pun intended.) As suggested by their stage names, Thomas and Webster, for the most part, play their own respective, obvious personas: of the pimp with a girl on each arm and of the hustler with a firearm on each hip. It recalls the lyricism of Pimp C and Bun B of legendary duo UGK, albeit on a more basic level. However, when I make note of their assumed lifestyles, that's not to say The Pimp & Da Gangsta
is an exhibit of syncretism. "Hit da Floe" conjures up images of the two cousins scouring the neighborhood armed and dangerous, kicking down doors just to find and reclaim their prized Cadillac which was lifted not too long ago. Although not their best song (that would be "Rollin Vogues,") it showcases a simultaneously do-it-yourself thuggishness but also a penchant for glitzy decadence, as well as a collaborative mentality between the two characters. Moreover, the chorus invokes double-entendre: not only of everyone ducking for cover when Pimp and Mr. G are raiding your house with guns blazing, but also of when a Dirty song gets put on in the club and all the girls go crazy.
Sticking to their roots, the self-produced The Pimp & Da Gangsta
is a decidedly more energized version of the style the likes of Organized Noize and Pimp C pioneered in the mid 90's. Thick bass lines supplement funky synths and 70's soul samples are punctuated by bluesy guitar licks with drums steadily clacking and hissing underneath. Tinged by the then-beta vein of the crunk sound Lil Jon eventually championed,the soundscapes here are not at all lacking in liveliness, and are equally appropriate for the Lac and for the club and the production is instantly recognizable as archetypically southern. Every track is excellently produced, and the entire album womps and grooves along with plenty of reverb and southern hospitality.
As with many near-classics, Dirty shoots themselves in the foot on this one. At nearly 70 minutes, The Pimp & Da Gangsta
starts to drag on at the end, and there are a few tracks that obviously shouldn't be here (the intro, "Yean Heard (Skit)", shameful sex song "Candyman.") Nonetheless, it's a great album and they deserve their props for it.
I can tally off an expansive list of rappers who would walk around in alligator boots, but I can't say that there are many rappers who would walk around with an alligator on a leash, as Mr. G-Stacka does in the music video for "Rollin Vogues." Not only is the latter symbolic of an exotic lifestyle, but there's also an immediate toughness that comes to mind, and that's exactly what this album is - part flashy pimp and part rugged gangsta. Hence, the title.