Royal T - WorldWide... From Coast To Coast
Say what you will about the man and his shady business practices, but you can't deny the fact that Royal T's "WorldWide... From Coast To Coast" is a great album and a staple of Chicano classics. This is as much a VMF masterpiece as it is Royal's. The chemistry between producer and rapper is seamless, and the selection of beats and samples is superb. The production alone warranted a need for sequel that we just never got despite the last 20 years of fans still hoping that Royal follows thru with his promise.
If I could make a compilation of great intro tracks, you bet that this album's introduction would be top 3, I mean, goddamn, I even looped this into a minute-long ringtone when ringtones were the shit several years ago. I would even let the phone ring for 20 seconds before picking up calls just because Biggie saying "throw your hands in the air if you're a player" followed by the "yah yah yah yah yaaaaaaahhhhh" part from "More Bounce To The Ounce" on a funky loop with the synth gets me amped. I can't stress enough how great the samples are in this album, especially on "Servin' Fools". One of the most entertaining samples of "The Message" with the unmistakable signature Steve Vicious synthesizer. And who can forget the sick chorus, "went solo on that ass but its all the same/ San Diego is where I serve my cane". We ain't called the Salty 619 for nothing! In case you don't know, there are subtle disses aimed at another SESD (Southeast San Diego) rapper among the most commercially successful to make it out of SD. More on that later.
Vicious Man Funk has a knack for sampling and from day one I was hooked on the incredible instrumental for "Coast To Coast" (some times named "Cruizin"). So much so that I even own the single. If you aren't aware, this is a sample of Dr. Dre's "High Powered". There are several versions of the song, each with its own distinct differences. There are few songs I skip, not because it's a bad song, but for preferential reasons and unfortunately "In The Rain" ain't for me. Now, "Ready To Roll" is my jam. That bass slaps, the claps are perfectly synchronized, and the thick trumpet sounds are perfectly mixed to VMF's signature synth. I have no clue who Joe Foxworth is, but he did an awesome job on the chorus.
It's crazy how much the instrumental changes the tone of the song, as I mentioned earlier, "Coast To Coast" also goes by "Cruizin" except that the latter of the two has a more mellow beat with a softer synth and barely audible sample of "Atomic Dogg" that I can hardly hear. It's composed in such a way that it makes Latino's verse bearable as apposed to the other version. Latino, as you may know, is from La Raza Crew (anybody know what happened to them?). Jam packed with firme rolas, none are greater than the highlight of the album: "Real Mf's". There isn't a soul in the depths of the Chicano underground that doesn't know this song. If ever there was an award for out shining the person who featured you on their own song, Mr. Shadow would take this, hands down. I mean this is one of the best Gangster Rap verses of all time, period. Rapping over an ominous beat, Big June talks his shit and makes no attempts to conceal who he is dissing (Jayo Felony, a crip, was talking mad shit about "slobs" on his tapes back in the day when he was circulating his product in Dago). Royal had an okay verse with his attempts at busting a tongue twister, but the best was saved for last, a young Shadow laid a minute long lyrical onslaught worthy of an entire blog entry, or at least a full length solo song. If you've ever wondered who that is at the end of the song repeating "South to the North but I represent the trece...", it is none other than VMF's homie LAZ (the bit is from "Toda La Gente"). What's weird is that he's a Crip. Not sure why he said he represents the 13, though he's not the first nor the last to say shit like this (Cypress Hill, Neighborhood Family Bloods, has said something along those lines and The Game has rapped from the perspective of the homeboys).
Was there a need for an intro to "Oh Honey"? No. However, "Oh Honey" is a dope song with obvious sample. Royal does a good job rapping to the pace of the song. As an homage to another San Diego rapper that passed around the time, (and whom Royal even calls his "best homie") IBM from Tru Gangsta Family, Royal replicates his most well known song, "Growin Up In the City". Starts off with an intro (we could have gone without it) and then you hear something that I wish was utilized more often because I think Royal did a good job incorporating bits and pieces of IBM's rhymes into the song to either fill in blanks or rap over Royal's voice. If you ever get to hear the original, it's (in m opinion much better) but VMF did a great job remaking the beat (classic Zapp and Roger sample, of course) and causally adding his trademark synth. I was disappointed with the toned down bass compared to the original thumping bass and the way Royal stresses his voice in what sometimes sounds like inaudible words. You can hear the original on YouTube albeit the shitty audio tape quality.
I've always been an aficionado of "Slippin'". Be honest, who doesn't like a sample of "The Funky Worm"? Royal busts his rhymes in an uptempo speed somewhat like a tongue twister and is, again, out performed by his feature (Feno). Whatever became of Feno? He was a decent rapper, or at the very least had a great verse. I'm gonna ask again, Royal, did we need a third intro track for a song? Either way "Juicy Thang 98" (named as such to distinguish the first incarnation of the song from his first appearance on "For The 619" from a few years prior) is a rola I don't mind bumping from time to time. It's a love song that I actually dig. The first version is my favorite of the two, the only difference is the chorus, this version has Terron singing loudly as apposed to the previous with a loop of the original sample's chorus.
Reminding us of his earlier work, Royal remakes one of his original songs "(For The) 619" except Steve Vicious has a bigger role to play. Not only is he a producer but a decent lyricist. Royal recites the same lyrics from before in a deeper, raspier voice as opposed to the original where he sounded like he was holding his breath and rapping at the same time. The instrumental is way different and the chorus now has a vocoder repeating my county's area code (damn I miss when all of SD County was 619). Vicious makes beats that sound like they enhance a rappers appeal, "Make It Last" has an incredible instrumental. Despite using the same formula, VMF doesn't make it boring.
Among my favorites is "Cutie Pie" for its obvious sample and the vocoder in the chorus paying homage to a classic Zapp and Roger jam. You really can't go wrong with this sample. Overall, it's a classic West Coast song that should be something that you hear on the radio. In my opinion this could have been a good cross over hit. However near the end of the album, it starts to get a bit weird. Never been a fan of some of the final tracks, such as "Shake That Ass" which sounds like some bunk Miami Bass shit from the early 90s. Same with "Booty Ass Intro". Then there's the "Oldiez From The 90's", a throwback of his early stuff on "Stop The Violence". It does end on a good note, though. Playing on the name of an Ice Cube song, "Jackin' 4 Ol' School" is a sick medley mix of several if not all the songs in this album with a few extra beats thrown in the mix (one of my favorites, wish there was more like this).
My only critique of this masterpiece is two-fold: first, the album runs a little long standing at 21 tracks (there is another version of the album with only 13 songs) and the re-used material (I'd say that 1/5 of this is composed of recycled songs from prior years). The album artwork was great: lowrider facing the San Diego skyline in a collage of other photos. The chemistry between Royal T and VMF was undeniable. That is what makes this album so great, it was really produced and meant for the mainstream. This is a must have in your collection if you're a G-Funk junkie like me. If Royal had dropped this album and never done anything else ever again, he'd have a different impact on Chicano Rap instead of the conniving figure he represents in the industry.
02. Servin' Fools (feat. Big June)
03. Coast To Coast (feat. Terron)
04. In The Rain (feat. Terron)
05. Ready To Roll (feat. Joe Foxworth)
06. Cruizin' (feat. Latino, Terron)
07. Real Mf's (feat. Big June, Shadow)
08. Oh Honey Intro
09. Oh Honey (feat. Terron)
10. IBM Intro
11. Growin Up In the City (feat. IBM)
12. Slippin' (feat. Feno)
13. Juicy Thang Intro
14. Juicy Thang 98
15. 619 (feat. VMF)
16. Make It Last
17. Cutie Pie
18. Oldiez From The 90's
19. Booty Ass Intro
20. Shake That Ass (feat. Yayo, Laz)
21. Jackin' 4 Ol' School