Ese Lil Joker - Nothin' But The Real Thing

Ese Lil Joker - Nothin But The Real Thing Chicano Rap

The first song I heard from Ese Lil Joker was "Funky Lowride". Before I even gave it a listen I already had my prejudices. Let us start with the name, Ese Lil Joker, probably the most generic and most made fun of nickname within the Chicano community. Then the title of the song, "Funky Lowride". So, I gave the song a listen on YouTube. When the beat hit, I was mesmerized. Then his voice came on. Probably the most G'd up Chicano rapper I have ever heard. Ese Lil Joker, even with his "accent" (we'll talk about that later), had an incredible flow. His lyrics were also hardcore gangster topics, somewhat exaggerated but also real. It's hard to explain his nuance with what is exaggerated and what was reality but if you have been around people of a "questionable" lifestyle, you will know that Ese Lil Joker spoke about what actually goes on within their/ those lifestyles.

Anyways, after discovering that song, about a week or so later, my friend played a song from Ese Lil Joker and it was one I've never heard before. My friend was one of the "older homies" and we were going to cruise to Santa Ana to a spot to hang out with other homies. Before that, we were going to buy brew from a very "infamous" spot in Santa Ana that sold beer to minors. Lets just say the spot was right in front of the DMV in Santa Ana (they don't sell beer to youngsters anymore, they got caught, so don't try kiddos). While we were cruising, that song I mentioned was called "The Town I Live In". "Hey, homie, is that Ese Lil Joker?" I asked, my friend turned back to me with an eyebrow raised and said "Yeah... You know about him too?". During those times, no one liked to "burn out the jams" which basically meant they wanted to keep their gems hidden treasures. I knew he was reluctant to tell me but I responded "Yeah fool, I have that one jam "Funky Lowride" shit gets down.". The conversation then went on for a bit, while "The Town I Live In" was bumping in background with a car with a bunch of young Chicanos. This was exactly 10 years ago and I remember that day vividly, but I sure as hell don't remember that night. From then on, I had to find the rest of Ese Lil Joker's songs.

01. Bounce To This
The intro song and what a great song to start off with. Ese Lil Joker basically shows what he is about; hardcore gangster rhymes and hardcore gangster beats. Ese Lil Joker reps his city in this. Great flow, which he is very consistent with and a great beat. The sample used by E-Dub (yeah, Lil Puppet) was by Sexual Harassment "I Need A Freak" which was also used by LSD "After Dark". This being the intro really gets in the mood to hear that hardcore Chicano Rap.
9.5/10

02. Bad Habits
Let me start off by saying how I don't really enjoy the song by The Commodores "Brick House" but E-Dub really killed this sample. It sounds so good and Ese Lil Jokers flow and lyrics really fit this instrumental. "Never giving up, and my dramas too drastic, never giving up my dirty bad habits". This song is about his criminal lifestyle and the way he has to live. Ese Lil Joker talks about going to jail, how he has to put in work, put his enemies in check and how his cholo lifestyle creates his "dirty bad habits".
8.8/10

03. Agony Of Xtacy
Basically a skit with an oldie sample in the back. The sample is Smokey Robinson "The Agony & The Ecstasy". The skit is basically a prelude for the song "Who Wants Pedo". It's just Ese Lil Joker and his homie smoking something and telling his homie to "hit it ese!". I'm sure it's PCP.
SCORE N/A

04. Who Wants Pedo
Basically this song is Ese Lil Joker talking smack. He's bragging about how "down" he is. Joker says he isn't afraid to kill you, use a gun, walk to your hood and fuck you up. "It's Ese Lil Joker with anger hate". The sample is by War "Cisco Kid".
7.8/10

05. Shoot 'Em Up
I am so suprised at how E-Dub flipped the song by The Intruders "Cowboys To Girls". It's extrememly well done and they use the songs chorus for their hook. Amazing. Ese Lil Joker really killed the beat too, perfect and consistent as usual. Talking about how he had memories of putting in work for his hood. Talks about what he did back then. Very fitting song for "reminiscing".
9/10

06. This Is How We Play
A really funky song that glorifies "kicking" it with the homies. Mostly, how Ese Lil Joker thinks it is fun doing crimes and avoiding getting caught by the police, playing cat and mouse. He represents Chiques, Oxnard in this song as well. Not really much to the song than that. The song samples Zapp and Rogers "Doo Wa Ditty".
9/10

07. The Real Thing
Ese Lil Jokers take on "Nuthin' But A G Thang" by Dr. Dre which is a loop of the song by Leon Haywood "I Want' A Do Something Freaky To You". E-Dub puts his twist onto it but nothing can compare to Dr. Dre's take on it. If you take it as its own thing you will enjoy it. Talks about being the real thing and talking bad about fake gangsters. No one likes a fake gangster; wannabes need to get checked and I guess this is how Ese Lil Joker "checks these lames".
8/10

08 & 09. The Town I Live In
The eighth track is a sample of an oldie song by McKinley Mictchell "The Town I Live In" (there is also a version by Thee Midniters). It plays the opening line of that song then track 9 plays, "The Town I Live In". This song is pure nostalgia for me, I love the memories it brings to me. Reminds me of my older homie, and when the whole crew would cruise Santa Ana and El Toro Road. I would bump this jam because of how it reminds me of how crazy some of my homeboys were, and how I tried to keep up with them. Hell, there was times I was scared as hell but I couldn't show that I was afraid. I wanted to be down. I wanted to prove myself. I had to represent myself and my homies, I had to represent "The Town I Live In". The lyrics in this song remind me of what I used to be and what I never want to go back to. The odd thing is that this song gives me a grin each time, and I think of nothing but good times when I did bad things... Even at that, I was nowhere near as bad as my homies... Nowhere close... This song embodies my teenage years every lyric he mentions is something I have seen or done at least once in my life. Ese Lil Joker glorifies it, and now that I matured, I regret my life choices. But what can I do? Samples Zapp and Roger - "More Bounce To The Ounce".
10/10

10. Funky Lowride
The very first Ese Lil Joker song I have EVER heard. One of my favorites as well. The chorus sounds good, but I can't help but think that he messed up his chorus. "J-J-O-K-E-R homie ready to roll..". As I explained in my intro, hardcore cholo rhymes and hardcore gangster beats but this track is laid back and smooth; it really embodies the G in G-Funk. A hidden gem no one really talks about in Chicano Rap. E-Dub sampled The Blackbyrds "Mysterious Vibes" very lowkey sample, I found this by accident on a Bloods and Crips song by lurking the comments. That song is called "Slob 187" by the Crips.
9.5/10

11. The Payback
One of my favorites but also the most overused hip hop sample of all time... James Brown "The Payback". A fitting song for a revenge song. Mostly about shooting his enemy and killing his enemy. Not much to say.
7.8/10

12. Dog Catcher
All right, this song is hilarious. The reason why I find it so amusing, and if you didn't know, Ese Lil Joker is dissing Madogg, and Madogg is Ese Lil Joker. Madogg is dissing himself. A lot of people speculated as to why Madogg did this. People that I have talked to mention that it was a ploy to sell more records and get some hype. Funny thing is that both Joker and Madogg are really good and both hold their own. I wonder if Madogg knew Ese Lil Joker was gonna resonate well with the Chicano audience or he wanted to strictly appeal to hardcore cholo gangbangers. Whatever it maybe, I'm glad he came up with this character. Song is okay. Considering that I know he is dissing himself takes away from the "ooooooh!" factor.
7/10

13. Ouy No Sekoj Eht
I'm pretty sure the title was supposed to be "The Jokes On You" as it says on the back of the CD case. Common thing that Familia Records does is misspelling the tracks in the CD data. Anyways, the outro is backwards with laughing in the background and all Ese Lil Joker says is "This is for the putos, peses (?), busters and motherfuckers saying I don't mean shit not trying to hear what the fuck I'm saying, the jokes on you puto.". This goes on for 50 seconds.
SCORE N/A

This is not an album I recommend to beginners in the Chicano Rap scene. They might be turned off by Ese Lil Jokers "accent" or how "banged out" he talks on top of his very hardcore gangster lyrics. To people who have been around and like Chicano Rap this is an absolute gem and a must have in every Chicano Rap collection. Awesome beat selection, consistent on point flow but repetitive themes. The tracks you must hear in my opinion would be "Funky Lowride", "The Town I Live In", and "Shoot 'Em Up". Rest in peace Madogg...You will be missed.

This album is a 8.6/10.

01. Bounce To This
02. Bad Habits
03. Agony Of Xtacy
04. Who Wants Pedo
05. Shoot 'Em Up
06. This Is How We Play
07. The Real Thing
08. The Town I Live In (Intro)
09. The Town I Live In
10. Funky Lowride
11. The Payback
12. Dog Catcher
13. Ouy No Sekoj Eht

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Tags: Familia Records, Ese Lil Joker

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