Thursday, December 6, 2007
Come Back to Me
Like most rap listeners, I'm still tripping off of the death of Pimp C... That's led me to think and reminisce on the other group that's always listed in the same breath as UGK as southern rap ambassadors, innovators and vets-- the Geto Boyz and namely, Eightball & MJG.
My favorite rapper of all time is Scarface-- who maybe unfairly, surpassed Pac around the time that The Last of a Dying Breed dropped and surpassed E-40 around the time that the Untouchable dropped. In my mind, Face has the kind of career that all rappers should strive to emulate-- on a number of levels. He's been able to remain true to the rawest elements of his lyricism and musicianship throughout his career, yet, he's evolved-- moving seamlessly between his own production and Mike Dean's to the Neptunes (on the Fix) without getting wack. That's spectacular in and of itself. He's never compromised his message, despite the changing times, yet, has managed to remain relevant and earn the nickname Uncle Face from the rappers who embrace and have helped perpetuate those changes. He can move from a solo artist to holding his own in a group-- which not many folks can do. Look at the Geto Boyz's last project-- the Foundation, or the Product where helped groom San Quinn's brother, Will Henn (who is sick) and Young Malice. He helped build a label, gets props from the "best" and can still go down to the neighborhood rib shack and not be bothered. Tell me that ain't a career these Young's (or Yung's) and Lil's should be trying to follow?
I ain't on his pole 'doe-- I'm jus' sayin'.
But enough about Face, the question that I really wanted to ask was, were in the hell are Ball & G? When Pimp died, and I hate to say it-- the story got more attention because UGK was back on the rise. They released a fairly well-received project this year, Pimp was doing hella interviews (where he was telling fools relevant shit) and sharing his Pimp Chronicles... they had managed to get themselves on the radar of kids who otherwise wouldn't have understood why they are so revered by longtime fans. But I started wondering, God forbid, what if that had been Ball, or JG?
In my mind, MJG is clearly one of the dopest lyricists of the past 15 years. Hands down. No More Glory was so intricate, so well executed-- it easily toppled the more popular effort by Ball, Lost. But if he had passed, I don't think the story would've gotten as much fanfare, even though he's arguably just as important to rap as Pimp was.
The reason is because Ball & G seem to have fallen victim to the times. And you know what the times call for-- artists who think it's okay to get murdered on their own songs, just so long as they have a big name to flaunt for the ringtones, ya know. Stuff like that.
It's sad as hell that Ball & G-- who still can spit, have finally succumbed to the madness. I can't remember the last time they dropped an album that where I couldn't at least enjoy one song (even Space Age 4Ever, which is one of their worst had "Things We Used to Do")-- but this last project, Ridin' High, was a damn lie. Dude, it was exhausting to listen to. And I tried...hard. For old time's sake, I gave it a chance. I have to wonder why they haven't been able to take the route that Face has, or even UGK, who's latest was obviously their worst project to date, but still was on track enough to at least satisfy old and new fans. To be honest, I miss these dudes. I miss the storytelling of Ball ("My Homeboy's Girlfriend") and the pure spittery of JG ("Friend or Foe"- which by the way, boasts one of the coldest verses of all time).
There is a way to enlist new fans and stay relevant without losing the qualities that made you instrumental to the game in the first place. I just hope Primro and Marlin will come back to me soon.