VA - Chicano Rap Volume 3
Volume 3, believe it or not, is among my prized possessions. Not because it's incredibly hard to get or because it's worth an incredible amount of money. No, my friends, it's due to the fact that it is Chicano Rap done right. Not necessarily the pinnacle of Chicano Rap, but the epitome of Chicano Rap; providing us a balanced roster of formidable emcees, gangster grooves and quality production that made an everlasting impression on my taste for Chicano Rap. It started in my sophomore year back in 2004. Not certain how I stumbled across this album online, but it was a pivotal time when I was forming my preferences in music. The clips that were available online only allowed for a 30 second preview.
There was one particular day that my primo from Santa Ana had came to visit, we were kicking back and talking about music. I showed him the clips, 2 songs in particular ("California Mack" and "Cali"). I just couldn't get them out of my head. I'd gone as far as saving the audio clips to my Windows Media Player (before I started fucking with iTunes). My primo looks over and tells me, "Dogg, I got this". I waited a few weeks, what seemed like an eternity, before he came back with the 10 track album. I popped it in my disc tray and ripped it, unbeknownst to me that my settings were on like 128 kilobits per second (less than stellar). I didn't give a fuck, though. The moment I heard this album I couldn't put it down. My introduction to CLS was on this disc, I was blown away by the hard hitting track "Between The Streets". It was something out of this world, to this day it is still an all time favorite song by CLS, they just rode that instrumental like a steed, a powerful sample of the Isley's that didn't need to mimic Biggie's approach with a clever twist on the title.
First time, and probably the only time, I've ever heard the name N'Land Clique mentioned on record was on "Grave Digger". This is how I heard of Channel Brown, dude was talented and really entertaining. I clicked with the Fully Strapped sound on this one. The sampling ("Heartbreaker") is what caught my attention: its slowed down tempos and bass turned up provided an ominous sound. I found the song to be good but not great - but I did see a lot of potential in the group. Generally, a Triple C rola is jam packed with samples, but not on this one. "Central Coast Cali" is devoid of funk and quite frankly one of the least entertaining songs by CCC. To their defense, though, it is mellow and chill. Not breaking the vibe, the next song sets the bar high on what a classic sample of Whodini on a mellow beat can do to represent the California lifestyle, some shit to cruise the 101 to. If we could compile a list of one hundred greatest Chicano Rap songs, "California Mack" by O.F.I would top the that list. Another San Diego favorite, Mr. Lil One hits hard with some of that Southeast lyricism on "I Smoke Fools". On a cautionary tale of gang banging, what's interesting is the chorus; in a genre filled with drug use and other addictive substances, Mr. Lil One admits to a sober living (something he's presently advocating).
Striking back to back, the lyrical beast from the Southeast rips and tears the script apart with some sinister raps. One of his best songs, "Are You Ready For Murder" is surely an outstanding track on the compilation, and has an instrumental that even The D.O.C would marvel at. When I first heard of the Criminyls, I had hoped they had more material. I can't think of where else I've heard their music, but one this is for sure, they're underrated as fuck. "Wake Up" has a lazy instrumental with some fluid rhymes giving the track a sense of swaying back and forth. In laymen's terms it's a slow beat with rapid raps. There's something sinister and cynical about "Takin' Care Of Business" recording. The bass is turned all the way up, but the the drums from the Joe Tex sample (and several others including Zapp and Roger) give it an obscure feel. Not to mention the echoing effect on the vocals. This was my first glimpse of LSD, right off the bat you knew there was something different about these vatos. No stranger to drama, he goes off talking about "fucking up fools from OC and the Riverside counties". Now, if there's one thing Murry did that has become a pet peeve is his constant change of titles for other people's work. I spent almost a decade searching for other material on Psycholition Clic to no avail. How could a rola as dope as "Cali" be the only song these talented homies made? Well it wasn't until I bought the physical copy (original pressing) of Aztec Tribe's "Straight From Tha Zone" and read the tribal shout outs that I realized the name was Sykoalition (play on the words Psycho and Coalition) and the name of the song is "Southern Cali" from a 1997 EP titled "The Project". Murry, if you're reading this I'll buy the damn rights to this if you own it!
The 805 presented us with a refreshing sound. I will admit that at first this song by Terminal Madness (bad ass name by the way) rang like a candy ass beat and too soft. However the more it plays, I've realized this is a good song, the instrumental is well composed and the ruca on the chorus wraps it up (contrasting the lyrics of the guys rapping). If I'm not mistaking, they either changed the name to something else or go by another name (some one on the forum has mentioned it before). In retrospect, never realized how often CLS and Triple C was featured on the three volume set (considering how they were not from Familia), then again, Murry wasn't one to waste an opportunity to make a dollar. With the exception of L.A and OC, just about every corner of Southern California made an appearance. Even in the late 90s, you could see how widespread Chicano Rap was and it's potential to spread beyond the confines of Aztlan. I'll reiterate what I've previously mentioned: each installment was better than the last. If you're looking to introduce your homies to the game, this is a good way to ease them in. Just let them know that 2xDope (WiseUp89) recommends it! And yes, this is most definitely a classic.
01. Cali Life Style - Between The Streets (feat. Triple C)
02. N'Land Clique - Grave Digga
03. Cantral Coast Clic - Central Coast Cali
04. O.F.I - California Mack
05. Mr. Lil One - I Smoke Fools
06. Mr. Lil One - Are You Ready For Murder
07. Criminyls - Wake Up
08. N'Land Clique - Takin' Care Of Business (feat. L.S.D)
09. Psycholition Clic - Cali
10. Terminal Madess - We Be Playin'
Tags: Familia Records