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Random Thoughts On the New UGK
-‘Best Buy’ has the CD for $9.99 and the “exclusive” edition with a DVD for $12.99. Even though the DVD isn’t really worth three bucks I had to buy it. The DVD is actually nice, the documentary is well-done and you get video for ‘The Game Belongs To Me’ and ‘Int’l Players Anthem’. The main nerd appeal of this version however, is the old-style double-disc case; you know, that extra thick one that ‘Life After Death’ or ‘Sign O The Times’ comes in? The CD is also an “enhanced CD” and when you put it on your computer, this little icon of the cover shows. I don’t know if it was on purpose, it had to be sort of, but it’s all this nerded-out rap nostalgia. Like its 1997 and I’m accessing the enhanced content of ‘Forever’ and going through the virtual Wu Mansion…

-I was truly excited about the album because I didn’t download the leak. In part because the widget thingy that Noz posted gave me an adequate preview of the album and also it being two discs, it’s just a lot to download and my connection would cut-out or some prick would sign off before I got the whole thing. The result was, I had only really sort of heard the songs. I heard it as a totally new album upon purchasing which hasn’t happened since ‘Late Registration’. There was also sharing the excitement of the album with my friends. At noon, I talked to Monique in Delaware who was buying it, and my friend John who works in Annapolis, MD bought it on his lunch-break. There was enthusiasm shared and text messages sent back and forth (“Pimp C needs a ghostwriter haha”, “It gets really good at the end of Disc 1”, “I think Disc 2 is even better!”) and last night, my friends and I sat around and watched the bonus DVD. It’s just fun in a way that fucking iTunes and torrent-downloads can’t be.

-Speaking of the DVD. Are UGK the coolest fucking guys ever? They just really get how shit works and they are really modest and real about everything. When Bun and Pimp talk about ‘The Story’ from ‘Trill’ its genuinely moving, especially the way Pimp C says they don’t even really talk about it. That’s how it is with real friends, especially if you’re a guy, sometimes you just nod or share a look and it says more than actually discussing your feelings.

-One of the more disturbing things on the DVD is how Pimp C definitely has this prison-stare now. If you’ve ever met anybody that’s been in prison, they pick up this stare, probably part out of survival and also because their mind’s still blown from being in fucking prison; Pimp C really has it. Every word or point he makes is emphasized by his piercing stare and a tone that kind of feels like what he is saying is life or death urgent.

-‘Underground Kingz’ is perfectly paced. It’s too long but that’s obvious, it’s a double album. However, it works by having the pacing of a single album. It really doesn’t start to get amazing until late on Disc 1 and from there on out, it all just kills. From ‘Grind Hard’ to the second half of ‘Trill Niggas Don’t Die’ (which I guess is a remix of ‘Top Drop Dyne’) with these Randy Rhodes heavy-rocker guitars, oh shit.

-I think Southern rap actually gains a lot from the length of the albums. Every ‘Cash Money’ record is “too-long” but the length also works as complete immersion into the ‘Cash Money’ world. There’s something about rap that doesn’t need to be concise and even loses something in brevity. I went crazy over ‘Hell Hath No Fury’ and ‘Return of the Mac’ when they came out but I barely listen to them now. They’re just fairly easy to “get”, you know? The stretched-out, more conventional musicality of Southern beats too, caters to longer song-lengths and borderline “jamming”. Every beat feels urgent but once you get caught up in it, it just sort of bumps and whirls around you, sometimes for like seven minutes straight. Black Moon could fit three great songs into seven minutes, depending on your point of view, that could be good or bad or both…

-For old-ass whiny rappers, fuck Common or Jay-Z, ‘Underground Kingz’ is how you age gracefully. The album undoubtedly sounds like UGK but they have their eyes and ears open to the current trends of the South and totally body the songs. They don’t have any interest in reaching-out beyond the new and old trends of their region and they don’t need the jerk-off from Coldplay on their songs to sound “mature”. Their voices are mature, their style is mature, and they take plenty of time to address the more complex aspects of “the street” without making excuses for their age or condescending to younger rappers, although there’s plenty of condescension to New York.

-Besides a roster of recent Southern rappers, you get Talib Kweli, Dizzee Rascal, the Gap Band’s Charlie Wilson, and true rap legends like Scarface, Willie D (!!!!!!), Kool G Rap, and Big Daddy Kane. What other rap album pulls that off or even attempts it?

-‘Quit Hatin’ On The South’ is like a thesis on why hatred of the South is retarded. Seriously. One thing that certainly affects record sales is that essentially an entire coast refuses to buy anything Southern. While those in the South, Midwest, or West don’t worry too much about regionalism, at least in terms of music purchasing, the East coast refuses to even take true legends like UGK seriously. Fuck everybody.

-Do not listen to this album on your little computer speakers or your iPod earbuds. Play it really loud. In your car, on your stereo, anywhere, just play it loud because that’s how you need to hear it. The production is supposed to hit you, you’re supposed to feel it the same way a really good line hits you.

-My friend Jesse made this:

-I love the DJ Screw style but most other chopped-and-screwed stuff is terrible. Michael Watts doesn’t have any of the subtlety or genius of DJ Screw. The chopped-and-screwed version of ‘Int’l Players Anthem’ is amazing though. It isn’t just formulaic chopping and screwing but a real understanding and focus on making a listenable song in the screwed style.

-”Disc 1 is better. Disc 2 is like, R & B for boys”-Monique

-Buy this album. I won’t front like my enthusiasm may not wane as it has for just about every other rap release this year but right now, this is all I’m listening to.

Written by Brandon

August 9th, 2007 at 4:36 pm

Posted in DJ Screw, UGK, the South

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  1. Thank you for taking this opportunity to speak about this, I’m strongly regarding it and I take advantage of researching this subject. If at all, as you gain data, please update this site with new information. I’ve discovered it extremely useful.

    Kymberly Alcorta

    23 Oct 10 at 7:20 am

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