VA - South Side Stories Vol. 3 Chicano Rap

Have you ever heard of "The Rule of 3"? Perhaps you've heard that third time is the charm. Whatever it may be, I will say that in terms of Chicano Rap that rule rings true, at least when it comes to compilations such as "Southside Riders Vol. 3", "Chicano Rap Vol. 3", and this: "South Side Stories Vol. 3". Underworld 805 Records laid down some rolas for the land, from the 805 down to the 619 and from the OC across the IE.

Starting the album off with some heat, the first track is "I'll Kill You" by Dominator featuring Lil Rob and Shadow. A late 90s banger with arguably one of Lil Rob's best verses to date, the only thing I don't like is the audio quality. This version is in serious need of some adjustments (plus at 1:13 there's a defect). Taking it to the Inland Empire, the Dukes Click do their thing over an oldie beat. I'm not a fan of rapping over oldies, so my opinion is biased (plus I'm really critical of this style if it's not executed with precision). Skip. I have mixed feelings for the third track. In short, I think the concept of the song turned out better than the execution. The Mexican Mak can rap, he can flow and the beat selection was cool ("White Horse") but something about this song says this belongs in a club where people are popping pills and shroomed the fuck out.

Track four is, in my opinion, the best song S.A. Criminals has put out. I liked it since I first heard it way back when MySpace first introduced music on profile pages. The beat may have been jacked from ODM and Marro but they executed their raps well to the rola. Not sure who thought having songs back to back with the same artists was a good idea but I beg to differ. Skip. "So Called Friends" is a wack song, with an even worse chorus. Brownie points for the idea but it fell short. The sixth track has me on the fence. I don't know what it is about Mistha X, I wanna like his music. I'm rooting for him. But there's something that just doesn't keep me engaged. Maybe he's too monotone? The instrumental for "Questions" is sick though.

Back on track with a thumping jam by CLS, "Between The Street" is an absolute gem. Too bad there's a glitch on this song, too (at the 1:06 mark. Tomas Solis, if you're reading this, hook it up with a defect-free copy!). But the highlight of this album is "California Soldier". Putting that gangster twist on a classic GQ song ("I Love The Skin You're In") with superior rapping by T Dre, Dreamer, Rebel and the genius that is Dominator. The chorus is among my favorite things from this timeless song (taken from another Triple C song). Shit's gonna have you hitting replay once or twice. Keeping the 805 flavor savoring in your mind, "Times Are Gettin Crazy" marinates well in your system. Undoubtedly a Triple C classic.

From the 805 to the Six-One-Nine, Lil One and Dreamer penetrating your mind. The more I think about it, the more I dig the idea of an entire project by rappers from the two locals. Lil and Dreamer throw down some lineas on Kleer's classic beat ("Intimate Connection") with an ominous tempo and low synth over some bumping bass, makes for a good mix. Another outstanding track is Crooked Stilo's "What You Want", probably my favorite (it's between this or the eighth track). The beat is unique: it has a modern twist with an old school touch. Rarely is a Chicano Rap song made about the club scene, so this kinda caught me off guard when I heard Brownhood and XCite rapping about it. The song has a club tinge with some hood elements, unsure how I feel about it. Down to the thirteenth and last rola, giving the comp a proper ending unless you suffer from triskaidekaphobia. The Triple C rips the script apart with a few tongue twisters and a smooth instrumental to balance the verbal onslaught on "Love For The West". Undoubtedly, Dominator lives up to his name.

While most of these songs I've heard on their respective albums, I am a sucker for a good compilation (or mix) of Chicano Rap, though at times it does have some dull songs. The album itself has an appealing cover, those infamous neighborhood letters in barrio calligraphy across the top, some pewees posted by their Schwinns (lowrider bikes) with the official Old English font on the lower right hand corner reading "Mi Vida Sureña". Definitely a solid mix of barrio anthems and bangers. Pick it up and have a listen. It has my seal of approval.

01. Dominator - I'll Kill You (feat. Lil Rob, Shadow)
02. Dukes Click - Once In Awhile
03. The Mexican Mak - Low Ride
04. S.A Criminals - Walking Through Your Hood (feat. Wicked, Mistha X)
05. Joker - So Called Friends (feat. Pelon)
06. Mistha X - Questions (feat. Cynthia)
07. Cali Life Style - Between The Street
08. T Dre - California Soldier (feat. Dreamer, Rebel, Dominator)
09. Central Coast Clique - Times Are Gettin Crazy
10. Dreamer - Only In Your Dreams (feat. Mr. Lil One)
11. Crooked Stilo - What You Want
12. XCite - Up In Da Club (feat. Brownhood)
13. Central Coast Clique - Love For The West

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