Sunday G-Funk #5: Kurupt – Tha Streetz Iz a Mutha

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I’ve got a bevvy of updates for you this week, so stay tuned! I know it’s been awhile since I did Sunday G-Funk, but here I am finally back at it.  Apologies, been quite busy lately.

The top 5 is reserved especially for the best G-Funk West Coast abums history has brought us. Tha Streetz Iz a Mutha fits perfectly into that category, as Kurupt’s first critically revered solo release.  His previous release, Kuruption! reached gold status but failed to meet the lofty expectations certainly brought on by his past success as a feature artist on classic Death Row records.  Streetz reached gold status as well, but once again failed to meet sales expectations.  Losing distribution from A&M Records due to corporate mergers contributed heavily to the sales problem.

But hey, sales aren’t everything right? Because the abum is incredible regardless.  Kurupt’s lyricism throughout stays intelligent and creative while still giving off the laid-back West Coast Gangsta vibe.  Who can forget that “Xxplosive” verse from Chronic 2001?  This talent was rare among Death Row, as the majority of the roster featured Hip-Hop artists who were more suited for groovy Gangster Rap with no requirement for complex lyricism.  My favorite track, “Streetz Iz a Mutha” (which I previously mentioned in a Monday Grooves post) is quite a great jewel on this album and features exactly the kind of hardcore complex lyricism I’m talking about.

One of the biggest questions when Kurupt went solo, as is the biggest question with many group artists who go solo, is if they can succeed off their own musical ability.  There’s not exactly an abundant number of artists throughout history who did this, especially in Hip-Hop music, so I can imagine expectations were lofty and the sky was the limit.

While there’s no question Kurupt sounds the best when he’s over a Daz Dillinger beat, the most talented lyricists, in the end, need to prove their versatility over different styles of production.  Some may hate it, some may love it, but spectators of all sorts definitely respect a talented musician.  Soopafly, Bink!, Dr. Dre, and Organized Noize all provided sound for the project, producing many dope beats along the way

Sticking with his roots, Tha Streetz Iz a Mutha features not one, not two, but six Daz beats.  Even with 18 tracks on a project, that is still quite a large number from one producer.  After the collapse of Death Row and the murder of 2Pac, the heavy involvement between the two artists was surely encouraging to Dogg Pound fans everywhere.

“Trylogy”, “Ya Can’t Trust Nobody”, and the posse cut featuring Snoop Dogg, and Daz Dillinger (among others) “Represent Dat G.C.” are other classic cuts off the album.  

One last thing to mention is Kurupt’s love for calling out whack rappers in the industry and starting beef with them.  Starting from his foray into the East Coast – West Coast rivalry with Tha Dogg Pound’s “New York, New York”, Kurupt was designed for battle.  Streetz is no exception, as the final track “Calling Out Names” sends shots to the frequently disliked Ja Rule, and DMX.  Poor Ja Rule, I’ll never understand why he inspires so much hatred.

-Ronzo

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Sunday G-Funk #9: Tha Dogg Pound – Dogg Food

dogg food

As the beginning of the semester starts for most of you out there, what better way to enjoy the first Sunday with a little bit of G-Funk. Continuing the latest series, let’s take a look at the classic album Dogg Food by Tha Dogg Pound.

There is plenty that can be said about one of the signature records of the Death Row era.  The album has since gone 2x Patinum and remains one of Hip-Hop’s classics.  Kurupt’s flow and lyricism were both at a level above many other artists in the industry at the time, and Daz Dillinger was making a name as a signature West Coast producer alongside Dr. Dre.  However, controversy tended to come along with the talent at this time in their careers.

With Tha Dogg Pound brand being born in a time where the East Coast vs. West Coast battle was at it’s peak, Dogg Food served as a great medium to deliver a message.  On the song “New York, New York”, and especially in the video, where Snoop Dogg can be seen crushing New York buidings, the message of West Coast supremacy was very prevalent.  While the song may not have been as direct as 2Pac’s “Hit Em Up”, it was still enough to rile up a couple artists on the East Coast.

Capone-n-Noreaga, Tragedy Khadafi, and Mobb Deep responded with a track called “L.A., L.A.”, including a video with an equal amount of insulting visuals.

Snoop Dogg has actually said recently that he has always had love for the East, and wasn’t trying to be as involved in the rivalry as some of the other artists; but when his intentions were read wrong and still displayed to a wider audience, it was harder to convince anyone otherwise (not to mention his controversial speech at The Source Awards).

However, through all of the controversy (including other lyrics on the project aimed at Eazy-E), Dogg Food still remains an amazing body of work. Daz’s work on the keys was a major factor for a G-Funk Movement that was already in full force.  Songs like “Do What I Feel” and “Respect” are perfect examples of the signature DPGC sound.

-Ronzo