VA - Chicano Rap Volume 2
Bring back Chicano Rap. Make it great again. That's all that goes through my head every time I start playing these throwbacks. Of all the covers in this 3 volume set, volume 2 stands out for its artistic appeal; they all have the same Azteca painting by Jesus Helguera but the white contrast makes it stand out. Not to mention that the image is sideways (or longways, depending on your perspective). Back in my high school days, I would lend a homie my iPod classic to load up all sorts of shit, and he just so happened to have a cousin who'd hook him up with classic and hard to find Chicano Rap. At that time he only put about 4 or 5 songs from this album on my iPod. It wasn't until 6 years ago that I bought this album to have it in its entirety.
You can find some of these songs on other releases by the artists themselves, and some you can't. Though not from the roster of usual artists, Cali Life Style makes an appearance, "Just Another Night" reigns as one of their best songs, definitely some shit to cruise to. Who can hate on the Loose Ends sample? The CLS craft is simply genius: loop a funky beat, turn it into an instrumental and attach some smooth rhymes. Moving on to a song that gets better and better the more I hear it, "Here's A Little Story" gives us that atypical animated flow that Ese Daz has graced us for years, he features some vatos I've never heard of, so if anyone has any clecha on Ace and C-Note, drop it in the comments. As for the song itself, I enjoyed the sampling a lot, there were several layers of samples (classic SOS Band and many others) that were meshed well and provided a smooth gangster groove. Often overlooked in the conversations about San Diego's most gifted lyricists, that funky individual known commonly as O.F.I, has a style with a sequential monosyllabic approach and "South Bay Sway" is a perfect example (that's not an insult). His raps will have you tapping your feet and and bobbing your head to the flow over a Vicious Man Funk production. Speaking of San Diego heavy hitters, el Tecolote once again does his clowning on another unmistakable Steve Vicious track. If I'm not mistaken, the shade thrown on "It's Goin Down" is aimed at Shadow's direction (no pun intended). Knightowl raps off key and sometimes feels like he had no control over his own flow. The pleito between Knightowl and Shadow is still something I haven't wrapped my mind around, and it's been damn near 20 years since it happened.
Generally, I like Murry's taste in music and his selection hardly disappoints. I adamantly believe he has a lot more recorded material by N'land Clique (or Fully Strapped as they were formerly known), however "Mo' Funk" severely disappoints with its lackadaisical instrumental and makes for rather boring song. Worst part is that it totally undermines A-Bomb's skillful talents on the microphone and on the keyboards. Much of the chemistry on "I Come From The Land" by Mr. Lil One and the unfadable GPA was due to a Madman production. This recipe should have been a more common occurrence throughout San Diego's dominance. The 619 is a common theme in Chicano Rap, lending itself to a nickname in contrast to L.A's, if you haven't caught on it's the City of the Wicked. IBM from Tru Gangsta Family had originally dedicated a song to an average day in the Southeast sector of San Diego, "Growin' Up In The City" is a stark visualization of SD in the 90's. As tribute to his passing, Royal T dedicated the remake to IBM with a recreated-from-scratch instrumental by VMF.
"Playa Congratulata" used to be one of those songs I had in my music library but would never play. Over the years I've come to realization that it is one of Central Coast Clic's more appealing songs. The slow tempo makes you lay back and wanna cruise (Pacific) Coast Highway. Whoever the female was, she is one of the better female emcees in Chicano Rap. The Pride returns with another one, "If Blastin' U Is Wrong" sounded like the most professionally done song that they've ever recorded, the verses were dope, my only critique is the choice of the chorus. I have a feeling it was probably Mexicali Slim on the hook, but I could be wrong. "Raise Those Fingaz" has to be one of Eastside Clic's most tolerable songs. I must admit their beats were always on point and they would have probably fared off better as producers than rappers. Lyrically gifted and adept to rhyming at the pace of any beat, Mr. Shadow is in a class of his own. While he is not the first to personify marijuana, "Mary Jane" is an exemplary tune on how to go about the right way, clever rhymes riddled with tongue twisters and innuendo (emphasis on the indo) alluding to a romantically explicit relationship between man and herb.
The selection of artists and songs leaned heavily in favor of San Diego and more specifically VMF (having produced 4 of the songs on this compilation). Still it was well balanced representing almost every corner of the Southland. This was a much better selection of songs than the first Volume and I'd say it's a must for any collector. It stays on a solid rotation in my library and I dare to say, it is a classic Familia Records release.
01. Cali Life Style - Just Another Night
02. Ese Daz - Here's A Little Story (feat. L.O.L)
03. O.F.I - South Bay Sway
04. The Knightowl - It's Goin Down
05. N'Land Clique - Mo' Funk
06. Mr. Lil One - I Come From The Land
07. Royal T - Growin' Up In The City
08. Central Coast Clic - Playa Congratulata
09. Brown Pride - If Blastin' U Is Wrong
10. E/S Clic - Raise Those Fingaz
11. Mr. Shadow - Mary Jane (Beyond Entertainment) (feat. Gato)
Tags: Familia Records