VA - Lowrider Bajito Tour '99
Hard to believe 1999 was 20 years ago. If you're like me, the 90s feels like it was very recent. Maybe it's got to do with the fact that 9-out-of-10 songs I play are from the final decade of the previous century. Now, Thump Records' popular "Lowrider" soundtrack series dropped "Bajito Tour '99" back in - you guessed it - 1999. At this juncture, Chicano Rap was past it's infancy stage yet it was still fresh without the over saturation we would bare witness in the mid-to-late 2000's and beyond.
There isn't a soul on this earth that hasn't heard the first track in the mix. I have read online (allmusic.com) that Slow Pain began working with ALT, recording the single "My Coupdavil" and that "this newfound inspiration" lead them to clicking up with Kid Frost (forming the group Three Deep). Alluding to the notion that the song was recorded early on. Not sure how chronologically correct this is considering the song didn't make its way to a release until 1999 yet ALT and Slow Pain had recorded music in '94/'95 at least twice (Ruthless Radio theme song and "Trigger Finger"). Either way, the chemistry these two have is so dynamic it's transpired through the years as multiple groups and countless songs. While the follow up song isn't quite as enticing as the first, it is worth noting that Mr. Gee and Don Cisco are capable of forming their own styles to work parallel to each other. I will admit that Gee's delivery on "(Estelo Frio) Cold Style" is intriguing, I'm not sure how to describe his flow (if it's him holding his breath or if he raps from his stomach). Mr. Gee references this song in another jam on the "West Coast Gambinos" compilation. Probably the best song, most definitely my favorite, on the album has Light Shade Of Brown's own ODM on the beat. I'm talking about "Latin Rollers" with Slow and ODM. I'm a sucker for dope interpolations of old school songs (Dian Gordon does a great homage to the SOS Band). I even ended up buying the single along with the instrumental. Moving forward, Nino B aka OG'nius has such a commanding voice that it slices through this smooth instrumental like a hot knife through butter."Paradise" gets better every time I listen to it, although I am irked by the fact that this song is edited. Lowrider being the family-friendly label that it is, censors a sexual lyric which almost ruins this song for me (so if you got it unedited, hook your boy up, por fas).
Being one of the few female voices in Chicano Rap, especially during this time, I want to say JV was type-casted into a certain role."Twisted" features her and ALT's talents over a tune laced by Tony A where JV plays the role of a girlfriend/lover to ALT in the song (same concept was done on "County Jail" with Nino B on the "West Coast Gambinos" album). Her skills lend themselves to something she can clearly rap circles around, but of course that's me speaking from a perspective 20 years after-the-fact. Changing it up a bit, I realized Lil Rob makes seldom appearances on Lowrider soundtracks. Which is odd, considering he was probably touring the lowrider circuit at this juncture. I can't say I enjoy this rola, I find it the least appealing especially with the guest appearances by Royal T and Yogi (the latter of which I just can't sit and listen to). As I mentioned earlier, I bought the single containing "Latin Rollers" and along with it came the song and instrumentals to "Hustling Ain't Dead" with Slow Pain and Cisco. When I first heard this jam, I really wasn't feeling it, but now that I have it in instrumental, I have a newfound appreciation for it (still, I find the beat alone is a much better track), and dare I say even had radio potential. Slow throws a line on here that would later become its own song ("King Pin Cholos"), fun fact. I've pointed out numerous times to the Gambinos project, and I'll say it once more,"Modern Day Take One" has the vibe that it belongs on that album, with the mafioso overtones. ALT. paints this picture of a Godfather scene with his lyrics, not to mention the sound of his voice is reminiscent of Vito Corleone.
Abruptly transitioning to a Rasta vibe,"Got Bud" definitely doesn't belong here. It sounds more experimental more along the lines of what Cypress Hill would do than what I'd expect from Kid Frost and company. At this point in the mix, I'm not feeling the route of the sound, the Frank V track was subpar (nothing like the material from "We're At It Again"). Call me a hater, but this isn't something I would bump. After these previous songs derailed me from musical stream of dope beats and rhymes, I was happy to hear"Hustlers Ballers" (also called "Shot Callers" on Slow Pain's "Hit List" album). The Quincy Jones sample if I'm not mistaken, adds a touch of finesse to the appeal of the production. With Gee, Slow and Frost on the track, it was sure to be a good song (although I personally think Slow and Gee out-rapped Frost). When I bought this, I was actually eager to listen to the Westside Grimm solo track; he'd always been a dope feature on the Spanish Fly jams. Unfortunately it wasn't at all what I expected. Wicked Minds brings the album to a finale, and I was somewhat confused why they went with this song in particular. You may be thinking,"Well 2xDope, the song is called "Smooth Ride" so it totally makes sense!" but you're wrong. I would have preferred something with a more upbeat and funky selection, like their "Let It Bounce" song. This is a Lowrider compilation, after all. It should have funkier beats and that traditional Lowrider sound rather than these dull songs. I was a bit disappointed with the low note on which it ended, if I'm being honest.
We don't usually think of Thump as a major player in the game (Familia Records, Hi Power Entertainment, or Southland Records come to mind when we consider Chicano Rap labels) but it has been an occasional contributor to the brown underground. Most often, the usual players are the G-Spot gees but we get a little variety in the mix. In hind-site, this sounds like 2 different albums: tracks 1, 3-5, & 7 sound like the funk side while the rest sound like they're from a dimmer compilation. You can call it balanced but I would say it's more incongruent kind of like filling up your cup with Shasta when the Coke runs out. Take it for what's it's worth, I enjoyed it. Is it a must have? Not necessarily, but it can make for fun and entertaining ride. In contrast, Thump's "Ridin' Hard: The Lowrider Sound" was more rounded, I would say.
01. ALT - My Coupdavil (feat. Slow Pain)
02. Cisco - (Estelo Frio) Cold Style (feat. Mr. Gee, Tony A)
03. Slow Pain - Latin Rollers (feat. ODM)
04. Nino - Paradise
05. JV - Twisted (feat. ALT, Tony A)
06. Lil Rob - So What U Wanna Do (feat. Royal Tee, Yogi, Slow Pain)
07. Slow Pain - Hustling Ain't Dead (feat. Cisco)
08. ALT - Modern Day Take One
09. Nino B - Got Bud (feat. Mr. Gee, Frost, Tony A)
10. Frank Vee - Heat (feat. Proper Dos)
11. Slow Pain - Hustlers Ballers (feat. Mr. Gee, Frost)
12. West Grim - Card Date
13. Wicked Minds - Smooth Ride
Tags: Thump Records