Ringing In ’08 With Slick Rick, Gucci Mane, And More

anono | January 3, 2008 12:15 pm

When it comes to a genre as broad as hip-hop, cutting through the weak beats is a full-time job. In each installment of Mean Muggin’, Ethan Padgett spreads some shine to the cats who deserve it and hates on those who don’t, whether they’re underground or overground, superstar or indie darling. This time out, in honor of the new year, he’s all about the love, whether it’s classic New York/Cali hook-ups or new-school Atlanta collaborations:

Welcome to a special beginning-of-2008, all love/no hate edition of Mean Muggin’. Just to start off y’alls new year right, please enjoy the video for one of the classic East Coast g-funk jams, Slick Rick and Warren G’s “Behind Bars.” I had never seen this before catching Ricky D live on stage last week sent me toward YouTube, and I’ve been tripping out on it ever since.

Slick Rick and Warren G – “Behind Bars” [YouTube]

For anyone checking for Mr. Sche after the Mean Muggin’ profile from a few installments back, his next release is officially on my most-anticipated-of-’08 list, Mr. Sche and T-rock’s Vendetta. College Park’s T-Rock is one of the greatest unheard rappers at the moment, and his 4:20/Reincarnated mixtape is a must. This team up is the best rap news I’ve heard in a minute.

T-Rock [Official Site]

DJ Scream is the best mixtape DJ in the world right now, and Gucci Mane and Shawty Lo are two of the most poppin’est rappers out there. So it’s no surprise I played their Guap-A-Holics disc the fuck out last year. I’ve only been living in ATL for three years now, and Gucci was something like my welcoming committee. As soon as me and my ex-girl got here in the beginning of ’05, every club night, every mixtape, every radio show–it was all about Gucci. In May of 2005, I met him in the studio at Big Cat Records, and we chopped it up about his then-upcoming debut in front of a pool table and a ripped Korn poster. I went away thinking I just met a good dude. Two weeks later, he was locked up for murder. But it got straightened out–self-defense–and since then, Gucci has slowly rebuilt his career.

“I get money, but I’m not 50/ Don’t like stayin’ clean, rather be filthy”: This is simplistic bam-bam-BAM, the Juice Crew styling on classic Redman dirty-dirty, fuck a smooth rap. I sometimes feel like I always end up giving props to cats who don’t necessarily come with technical skill, but just talk real breezy, cats that make me laugh. Then I feel like a hater when I look down on people for approaching rap in the same offhand way. But personal hypocrisies aside, anybody who raps “Tell Justin Timberlake I’m bringing gangsta back” over tinny snap beats is going to be cool with me.

Gucci’s dumb flow is seriously addictive, these slow, Rubik’s Cube rhyme patterns moving to unlock secret levels in my brain. Shawty Lo, from the group D4L, is not nearly as distinctive, but boasting “Young Doug E Fresh, I can sign my damn self” while doing the treadmill is still pretty dope. The mix jumps fast, bouncing from each lazy hook and avalanche of hi-hats to the next, catching slurs on icicle synths, dipping and diving and getting lost in the reflection of the chrome. Shawty Lo’s “Santa Claus” is almost banger-of-the-year status, a blinky anthem with Just Blaze organ hits and Shawty slathering his rhymes all over the track, while the “Dey Know” remix, with Luda, Jeezy, Plies, and Wayne wondering how the fuck this snap music kid jacked a Kanye horn-break like that, is a surprise hit. The tape can’t be pinned down, with every track bringing some mix of synthed-up brass, church bells, fast clappy hits, cartoon sound effects, ringtone chimes, and two Atlanta rappers on the top of the world.

Gucci Mane [MySpace] Shawty Lo [MySpace] DJ Scream [MySpace]