Review Summary: I gotta get the green, and that's by any means
During the 90s, Three 6 Mafia was the hottest rap group coming out of Memphis. Project Pat, Juicy J’s older brother, worked on some music in the early days of Triple 6, but was not present enough to be considered a regular member. Unfortunately, he caught a robbery charge that would get him locked up during the crucial time that “Mystic Stylez” was produced and released. Once he was finally out, Pat contributed on the Three 6 albums “Chapter 1” and “Chapter 2,” as well as to Indo G and Gangsta Boo on their solo material. In 1999, he would release his debut album “Ghetty Green,” which I consider to be an underrated classic in the Memphis rap catalogue.
Something I appreciate in rap from this time and region is its authenticity. In many ways authenticity is a subjective term that can be applied biasedly based on a person’s individual tastes, but in this sense I mean that southern rap is laden with candid descriptions of real life experience. Project Pat no doubt experienced difficulty readjusting to everyday life after leaving prison, and through his music we can get a sense of that hardship.
While it is certainly unfortunate that Pat was not able to leave his footprint on Mystic Stylez, the timing of Ghetty Green was excellent. This album features much cleaner production than earlier Memphis material – indicative of the success of DJ Paul and Juicy J’s Hypnotize Minds label. While this isn’t an inherit stylistic improvement on its own, it does mean that the music is more accessible for people who aren’t familiar with the genre. Some may find the 20 track length daunting, but this is by no means a negative, in my opinion. The long runtime allows Paul and Juice to flex their versatility in production as the backdrop to Project Pat’s varied flows and the album’s many great features.
This album can be split into two different types of tracks. On one half you have solo Pat, which delves into the bleak Memphis lifestyle from his point of view. These tracks deal in themes involving drugs, murder, sex, and the drive he feels to survive by any means necessary. The other type is feature tracks, which usually have enough artists that Pat has a more limited appearance. Since he has less time on these songs to elaborate on a certain theme, he speaks more generally about getting money, getting high, etc. I don’t mean to say that he doesn’t kill these verses and hooks as well, but rather that they follow a slightly different formula than the solo tracks.
Pat’s rapping is exceptional. He has one of the most unique flows of the artists from his region, as well as hip hop in general. His voice blends so well with Paul and Juice’s beats, which serve as the backbone of this album. The range of the production is impressive. While the track “Out There” retains that classic Triple 6 horror sound, others such as “You Know the Biss” and “Choices” contain repurposed Soul and R&B samples that make Pat’s verses about the struggle much more raw and emotional. Some of Three 6’s most well-known samples come from artists of this vein, so it isn’t a new technique, but these two tracks do it so well that they stand out to me. Further on we have “Ballers” and “Choppers” which are built upon what sounds like a Memphis take on New Orleans style beats. This conjecture is supported by the features on these tracks, which boast verses from B.G., Big Tymers, and Hot Boys. To put it simply, I really enjoy the Hypnotize Minds and Cash Money collab. Speaking of good features, Krayzie Bone appearing on “Up There” is legendary considering how vicious the Three 6 and Bone Thugs beef was only a few years prior. His verse is incredible, and the joint chorus between him and Lord Infamous is my favorite hook on the record. Since this is a Three 6 album, there really is no shortage of amazing features given their connections with regional rappers.
Project Pat’s “Ghetty Green” is one of the more overlooked classics of Memphis rap. Although he was able to continue riding the wave of success Three 6 Mafia was making well into the 2000s, I wish more people recognized the achievement that this album is. Pat gives such a visceral picture of his real life struggle while keeping his head high and aiming for success through his art. Admittedly, this is a story that many tell, but I think he does so with such precision and authenticity that it stands above most of his contemporaries. One of the most important aspects of this album to me is that Pat does not turn his back on or deny the life he has led up to this point. He simply recognizes the potential to escape the hardship through self-expression and creativity rather than repeating the same deadlock. Regardless, he will find a way to get the Ghetty Green, no matter what.
“If you had a choice of colors
Which one would you choose, my brothers?”