Posted tagged ‘Scarface’

Chaz’s Top 10 Top 5 Lists (C.A.T.T.L.E.) (5 Honest)

September 21, 2010

Top Five...just Alive, Thank You Very Much.

Well, here we are, the 100th post and One-Year Anniversary of this very site. To celebrate, we’re introducing a new feature via an old feature. From the people person that brought you Chaz’s Arbitrary Top Ten List Extravaganza comes I Got 5 Honest, a no-order top five list that replaces that sense of competition with one of shared supremacy. Is this the first sign of this site becoming SocialistOpinions with Comrad Kangaski? Far from it, rather things that are so worthwhile that they’re all tied for number one. That in mind, let’s cap off our first year with ten top-five lists!

My Five Favorite Movies:

1) Day of Wrath
2) The Toxic Avenger
3) Purple Rain
4) Krush Groove
5) Lionheart

My Five Favorite Songs:

1) Kiss From a Rose
2) I Declare War
3) To Be With You
4) The Look
5) Slow Motion

The Five Best Celebrity Responses I’ve Have via Twitter:

1) When asking Goldust “What’s your favorite Master P song?”
2) When I asked the Ty company, who produce Beanie Babies, “Who would win in a fight between Quackers the Duck and Scoop the Pelican?”
3) When asking Arsenio Hall “Why was your face blurred out of later airings of Paula Abdul’s ‘Straight Up’ video?”
4) When I asked former MTV VJ and Say What? Karaoke host Dave Holmes “If we were both at a karaoke bar and I bought you a drink, could you please introduce me?”
5) When, after he tweeted at midnight, I asked Louie Anderson “Up Late Louie?”

My Five Albums I’d Take to a Desert Island that for some reason has a CD Player:
1) The Velvet Underground – The Velvet Underground
2) Odd Squad – Fadanuf Fa Ery’Body
3) The Outsidaz – The Nightlife EP
4) Scarface – The Diary
5) Flipp – Blow It Out Your Ass

My Five Favorite Music Stores:

1) Cheapo in Fridley, MN (RIP)
2) Fatbeats in Manhatttan, NY (RIP)
3) Tower Records on 4th Street, Manhattan, NY (RIP)
4) Virgin Megastore in Union Square, Manhattan, NY (RIP)
5) Fifth Element in Minneapolis, MN

Google search numbers sometime.

My Five Favorite Pro Wrestlers:

1) Chris Jericho
2) Mick Foley (Mankind / Dude Love / Cactus Jack)
3) Goldust
4) Shawn Michaels
5) Rob Van Dam

The Five Most Viewed PopularOpinions Pages:

1) Wrestling’s Top Ten Most Absurd Moments
2) The Worst KISS Song of All Time
3) South Park vs. Militant Islamic Radicals
4) Can It Be It Was All So Shady Then?
5) The Top Ten BET Un:Cut Videos

My Five Favorite Home-System Video Games of All Time:

1) God of War (PS2)
2) Shadow of the Colossus (PS2)
3) Earthworm Jim 2 (SNES)
4) Spiderman vs. The Kingpin (Sega-CD)
5) Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out (NES)

My Five Favorite Arcade Games of All Time:

1) X-Men 6-Person Arcade Game
2) Mortal Kombat 2
3) Lucky & Wild
4) Addams Family Pinball Game
5) Mortal Kombat 3

The Five Best Days of My Life:

1) 12/31/01
2) 2/12/02
3) 4/23/05
4) 8/21/07
5) 6/9/2010

So until next time…let’s agree to agree!

Top Five Rap Songs For the End of Summer (C.A.T.T.L.E.)

September 3, 2010

This is everyday for me.

Welcome to yet another installment of Chaz’s Arbitrary Top Ten List Extravaganza. As you may have seen, we’re only doing five this go round because you only have about four days left of summer and you’ve probably got enough going on in terms of squeezing those last drops of the season in. Instead of focusing on time-tested seasonal classics like “Summertime” and “Hip-Hop Hooray,” these are jams specific to this final week. So grab that last bottle of summer ale and hop the train to Coney Island as we say goodbye to another great season.

DO IT! HONOR IT! DO IT NOW!

5 ) Scarface – “It’s Going Down” (1994)

While this tasteful booty call sounds great year round, it makes for the perfect end of the BBQ “let’s do this” theme music. Brad Jordan’s charming and disarming charisma over a “99 Luftballons” interpolation made for a great moment of release on his masterpiece The Diary as well as an accessible introductory piece to arguably the greatest rap catalog of all time.

4 ) Y’all So Stupid – “Van Full of Pakistans” (1993)

Unfairly but rightly remembered as everybody’s favorite Pharcyde-ripoff, Atlanta’s own Y’all So Stupid have at least one universally beloved favorite in their arsenal, and that’s the title track off their puzzlingly named album Van Full of Pakistans. A laid back tale of loss and, well, more loss, the song compliments those of us who don’t really have a whole lot to look forward to in the fall but are having a good time anyway.

3 ) Atmosphere – “Sunshine” (2007)

Off their 2007 EP Sad Clown Bad Summer, Atmosphere’s “Sunshine” touches on those unexpected great days of summer that come out of nowhere to remind you how great the season is. Historically the first glimpse at Ant’s more live instrument-based production, it’s a fitting closer whether you’re strolling through that park you haven’t had to roll through on a whim or exiting the Minnesota State Fair, it’s makes for some great walking-away person end credits music.

2 ) Jay-Z – “Dear Summer” (2004)

Probably the most literally fitting song on the list, a “retired” Jay-Z popped up on Memphis Bleek’s 2004 album 534 for the entirely Bleek-less song “Dear Summer.” While the face value reads as Jay actually saying goodbye to the season, the context of when it dropped made it seem like the final bow of a storied career. Half-victory lap, half-“I Still Got It,” Jay hasn’t sounded like this since his 2006 return and we’re all the worse for it.

1 ) Juvenile & Soulja Slim – “Slow Motion” (2004)

It’s unfortunate New Orleans rap legend Soulja Slim had to have his first Number One single nine-months after his death, but it’s the type of song that will live forever. Teaming up with Southern rap icon and Bounce pioneer Juvenile, “Slow Motion’s” become something of a requiem for both Slim and the summer itself. Pro J’s beat sets the sluggish summer scorch perfectly for Slim and Juvy to go back and forth one last time. The Life Garland directed video’s also among the most touching of the medium, featuring many then-feuding New Orleans rap artists all coming together to remember one of their own.

FUN FACT: Sometimes words have two meanings.

So there you have it. Have a great labor day weekend!

My Twitterview with SCARFACE

June 30, 2010

"Come and take a ride with the Bradster."

Welcome back to PopularOpinions. Today we’re unveiling the first in a series of interview I’ve conducted on Twitter. These “Twitterviews” are the result of my conversing with someone of importance in rapid succession to the point of getting a fair amount of information in 140 characters or less. Our inaugural post comes from my interview with legendary Houston rapper Scarface. We were both on Twitter at 4:30 AM ET the morning of March 21st, 2010 and chatted it up on music, movies and his career.

What Geto Boys release are you most proud of?

Resurrection.

Do you still consider Odd Squad’s Fadanuf Fa Ery’body the best album Rap-a-Lot ever put out?

In my opinion, yes.

I agree. I also feel Poppa LQ’s Your Entertainment, My Reality is the most under appreciated.

I feel ya.

When was the last time you performed with a full Go-Go band?

Wow, over 10 yrs ago.

What was it like working with director Mike Judge (Office Space) in the movie Idiocracy?

He’s a funny dude.

My favorite rapper of all time.

We give Twitter a Five Out of Five

So until next time…let’s agree to agree!

Chaz’s Best of Rap-A-Lot Compilation – FREE DOWNLOAD & HISTORY LESSON!

June 7, 2010

A Symbol of Quality

As I’ve stated many times on this site, rap music is awesome. It’s a subject I’m passionate about and will gladly discuss for hours on end. Among my favorite topics of that of Houston’s Rap-A-Lot Records. Formed in 1986 by then-car dealer James “J Prince” Smith, it has honed Hip-Hop to some of its highest heights. Along with breaking the regional glass-ceiling that plagued southern rappers throughout the 80s, the label’s been home to some of the genre’s most respected and beloved artists such as Scarface, Devin the Dude and UGK’s Bun-B. It’s a label whose catalog is deep with a roster full of artists that each bear a distinct sound while maintaining the label’s standard of quality output.

In recognition of VH1’s Hip-Hop Honors acknowledging the label tonight, I’ve decided to share my Best of Rap-A-Lot Compilation I made back in 2007 at the height of my Rap-A-Lot fandom. I’ve always felt the Houston sound is perfect for this time of year, with the entire country being baked by a brutal sun the label provides the perfect soundtrack for anything from backyard barbecues to after-hours antics. I tried to not include more than one song from each album and I know there are some glaring omissions whose albums I didn’t have at the time as many of the label’s releases are either out-of-print or inaccessible depending on where you are, so I’ve decided to add the five most regrettable cuts at the end.

His awesomeness, J. Prince

I know there’s also some of you who never have/wanted to give any rap music south of the Mojo Nixon line a chance. This mix and entry is also for you to hopefully provide some context and level with you as to why these artists are praised and why their music is dope. Enlighten yourself, fool.

DOWNLOAD THE ENTIRE MIX HERE: http://www.4shared.com/file/USpWvM1G/Best_of_Rap-A-Lot.html

Tracklisting:

1) Seagram “2 For 1”
– Starting things off we have the late Seagram. A Bay Area favorite, Seagram is most known for being the first in rap to use the “Double Dutch Bus” ‘izzle’-speak, predating E-40/Snoop Dogg/Missy/Fran Drescher with 1992’s “Straight Mobbin.” I opted instead to open this collection with “2 For 1,” to help ease in those of you not familiar with country rap tunes by having Seagram utterly destroy a medley of classic breaks (re: samples) for five minutes. Welcome to Rap-A-Lot

2) Convicts “Peter Man”
– One of the most sought after records in the RAL catalog is the debut of (future-Geto Boy) Big Mike and (future-Blac Monk) 3-2 as The Convicts. Their self-titled release is a concept album from two, you guessed it, Convicts behind bars. An industry favorite, it’s constantly eluded to on several certified rap classics. One listen to “Peter Man,” and many moments of Dr. Dre’s The Chronic are going make a lot more sense.

3) Geto Boys “Mind Playing Tricks on Me”
– The label’s biggest hit and an canonical rap song, “Mind Playing Tricks on Me” is truly one of the genre’s biggest triumphs. It also lead to a popular viral Star Wars video and one of the best St. Ides ads of all time.

4) Poppa LQ “South Central Soldier”
– In the early 90s, the label expanded with Rap-A-Lot West and one of the best releases from the imprint was Your Entertainment, My Reality by Poppa LQ. Under-appreciated even in Rap-A-Lot circles, this reinvention of the one-time “Native Son” Laquan was one of rap’s most dramatic metamorphosis resulting in the perfect implication of the Rap-A-Lot aesthetic in the West Coast soundscape.

5) Geto Boys “Crooked Officer”
– When Willie D left the Geto Boys, he was replaced by aforementioned Convicts member Big Mike. The result was the trio’s darkest album Til Death Do Us Part. A midst a much more brooding production, one of the album’s highlights was the scathing “Crooked Officer,” one of the best corruption songs ever recorded.

They know how to play 'em.

6) OG Style “Catch ‘Em Slippin”
– Dearly departed duo OG Style consisted of ‘Original E’ Eric Woods and producer DJ Woods (UGK’s “One Day”). The first single off I Know How to Play ‘Em,, it features my favorite usage of that Meters sample ever. Love this song.

7) Geto Boys “Gangsta of Love”
– The ORIGINAL version that appeared on their 1989 Grip It on that Other Level album is among the most savagely “ig’nant” sex songs ever recorded. Steve Miller caught feelings and had the sample replaced (with “Sweet Home Alabama”) when it reappeared a year later on their 1990 Rick Rubin produced self-titled American debut.

8 ) DMG “Psycho”
– The FIRST Minnesotan rapper to break national*, St. Paul’s DMG put the Twin Cities on the map with 1992’s Rigormortiz. Short-but-sweet, “Psycho” at first listen sounds like the best Scarface song that Face didn’t make. Midwest represent.

9) Geto Boys “Do It Like a G.O.”
– Label president J.Prince does the intro on this jump off that expresses the frustration of being a Southern voice that gets largely ignored by the media at large. This features the infamous DJ Ready Red “at’cha/statue” line Mr. Lif referenced in the Revenge of the Robots documentary, as well as arguably the absolute angriest Willie D ever sounded.

Bushwick Bill AKA Dr. Wolfgang Von Bushwickin the Barbarian Mother Funky Stay High Dollar Billstir

10) Menace Clan “Kill Whitey”
– Perhaps the most famous obscure rap group, made highly Googled by unintentionally hilarious white-supreamicist websites for their leading examples that rap music as a whole is racist, Menace Clan’s 1992 album Da Hood features some of the glossiest production in the label’s catalog. Yes, it’s possibly the most explicitly racist rap song you’ll ever hear, but if you can listen to Wagner, you should be able to divorce the message from the music and appreciate Menace Clan too.

11) Odd Squad “I Can’t See It”
– Off Fadanuf Fa Ery’body, the album Scarface considers the label’s best, comes Devin the Dude’s first group the Odd Squad. Tied for my favorite rap album all time, it features “I Can’t See It,” the solo-cut from member Blind Rob Quest that remains rap’s best anthem for the vision impaired.

12) Scarface “I Like P***y”
– If “Gangsta of Love” was notable for its brash explicitness, “I Like P***y” off Face’s solo debut stands out for its Epictetus-level stoicism. Off a haunting bassline, Face flexes his storytelling ability to almost-realtime describe an average sexual encounter.

13) Big Mike “Havin Thangs”
– Produced by UGK’s Pimp C, Big Mike’s debut solo single is one of the most revered cuts in the RAL catalog. The sleeper hit off the Dangerous Minds soundtrack, it’s also the song a girl I dated in college believed should be McDonaldland character Grimace’s theme music when the fast food chain decides to finally toughen up their image.

14) The Terrorists “F**k the Media”
– One of the earliest recorded responses to how rap is viewed in the media, this song off the duo’s impossibly titled Terror Strikez: Always Bizness, Never Personal makes the argument that rap shouldn’t be subjected to such particular scrutiny and that the music should stand for itself, best articulated with the line “Ask why I rap about violence and not peace, ho get out my face before I burn you with some hot grease.”

"Come and take a ride with the Bradster."

15) Scarface f/ Ice Cube & Devin the Dude “Hand of the Dead Body”
– Off my other favorite rap album of all time The Diary, Scarface’s “Hand of the Dead Body” sees him joined by Ice Cube to offer the best response from an artist perspective to the critiques of rap’s violent nature. What makes “Hand of the Dead Body” special is that it’s a reactionary record that by-passes the media itself to speak directly to the listeners as to why these allegations are frivolous. It dissects the arguments from both sides and stands the centerpiece of one of the most honest albums ever released.

16) Devin the Dude “Do What You Wanna Do”
– Alleviating the pressure is Devin the Dude’s “Do What You Wanna Do,” a relaxing smooth cut that oozes cool. It’s as uplifting as laid back gets.

17) Geto Boys “Damn, It Feels Good to be a Gangsta”
– Yes, the song from Office Space, implemented into cinematic immortality by fellow Texan Mike Judge. Enough’s been written about this song, so instead I’d like to use this time to stress how awesome Face was in Judge’s follow-up Idiocracy, stealing the show in the greatest post-credits scene in movie history.

18) Devin the Dude f/ Snoop Dogg & Andre 3000 “What a Job”
– Closing things out is the recent cut from the Dude that celebrates the realities of the rap life instead of bemoaning it. The passion on display here really captures what later-RAL releases have been about – a love for the craft doing whatever possible to offer something fresh and unique to the Hip-Hop nation. At a time when it’s been easier than ever for music to become homogenized in oversaturation and a career in the field seems as unstable as ever, “What a Job” is a testament to the label’s passion and quarter-century of quality.

We give Rap-A-Lot Records a Five Out of Five

Oh, and here’s another live five –

(also noteworthy – Do or Die, Ganksta Nip and UTP)

For further reading check out Andrew Noz’s Top 25 Rap-a-Lot songs and his 2004 Rap-A-Lot Week coverage.

So until next time…Let’s Agree to Agree!

*MC Skat Kat DOESN’T COUNT!

A Guide to One-Take Rap Videos

May 7, 2010

Take me out to the blog post! One take, that is!

As this site has well established, rap music is awesome. What’s also awesome, is the art of the music video. Once thought to be merely a three minute promotional tool aired for 1-3 months and then never seen again, thanks to the YouTube era they’ve now entered immortality and help determine who is going to direct our Terminator sequels. Being primarily a commercial for a song, record labels and musicians alike have tried cutting costs as many ways possible. Since rock group The Replacements introduced the one-take video in 1986 with “Bastards of Young,” videos that have been one-take or made to seem like they were one-take have been successful as both an eye-catching and cost-cutting tactic.

Since I think we’ve all seen enough OKGO, I’ve decided to compile the definitive list of one-take rap videos.

Xzibit – “What U See is What U Get” (1998, Director: Gregory Dark)

The video that made me a regular BET watcher, a tribute to Hitchcock’s Rope, “What U See is What U Get” follows Xzibit to the store to get some milk, only to have any and everything get in his way. While it’s much more impressive to see on television as there’s A LOT more going on than can fit in a YouTube screen, its sheer ingenuity and replay value has allowed it to stand the test of time much more than its more expensive counterparts*.

MF Doom – “Dead Bent” (1999, Director: Piston Honda)

Once upon a time before he was a no-showing cartoon of himself, MF Doom was an indie oddity whose mask existed as a metaphor for one hiding their scars within rap music. A tragic figure, he was never more visually realized than the 1999 video for “Dead Bent.” A reinterpretation of Cibo Matto’s “Sugar Water,” Doom exists hauntingly as an everyday supervillain. Consider it – domestic Doom.

Scarface – “On My Block” (2002, Director: Mark Klasfeld)

My favorite rapper and my favorite video director team up to make my favorite from this list. One continuous trip around the block shows everything Scarface’s neighborhood has gone through over the course of his life. Beautifully bookended by a life/death dichotomy, this is one of only two videos I ever remember BET heavily promoting the debut of**. Keep your eyes peeled for Scarface’s only appearance in the video selling Uncut Dope out of the trunk.

Lil Jon f/ Mystikal & Krayzie Bone “I Don’t Give A” (2003, Director: Gil Green)

This one is the most obviously not one take, but the choppyness serves a purpose. A rap reinterpretation of Prodigy’s infamous “Smack My Bitch Up” video***, this video follows a night on the town with Lil Jon and the Eastside Boyz as all H*ck breaks loose. With a cameo list only rivaled by UGK’s “International Players Anthem”, the rapid fire jump-cutting to concert footage come-to-life is meant to mimic the experience of live music while on syrup. Consider it visual chopping and screwing.

louis logic & JJ Brown – “The Great Divide” (2006, Director: Jed I. Rosenberg)

What’s cool about former Demigodz member louis logic’s “The Great Divide” video is how it is a direct interpretation of the song without being a literal one. The frozen frame of the camera showing logic walking in place while the entire rest of the world walks past him mirrors the song’s protagonist who can’t get out of his own way and live his life until the very end when he just releases himself and walks along with the world.

Hangar 18 – “Feet to Feet” (2008, Director: Paul Iannacchino)

After not appearing in their 2007 album Sweep the Leg’s first video “Baking Soda,” Definitive Jux MCs Alaska and Windnbreez made a video that rested on the strength of their charisma. Capturing the energy of their live performances, the one-take serves as both a channel of unfiltered Hangar as well as some pretty cool visuals.

Nyle – “Let the Beat Build” (2009, Director: Chadd Harbold)

Finally, the video that was number #1 on YouTube, Okayplayer, Gawker, Google, NASA and everywhere in-between, Nyle’s “Let the Beat Build.” His senior project, capturing the vibrant energy of the NYUterus, the sheer insanity here is that the entire clip is a live performance. A labor of love****, it wound up getting so popular that it bucked the entire corporate music industry label system and landed on MTV*****. Since you’ve probably read everything there is to read about this video, please enjoy this song that Nyle and I made last year as a free download.

YOU JUST NEED ONE TAKE!

So until next time…let’s agree to agree!

*I just rewatched the Busta Rhymes-Janet Jackson “What’s It Gonna Be” video for the first time in a decade, and it’s aged so bad it hurt my feelings.

**The other being Juvenile’s “Follow Me Now,” which has nothing to do with this list.

***Extra props for keeping the original twist ending.

****Love, of course, meaning hours upon hours of rehearsal.

*****That’s MTV ONE! Insert the same “MTV-never-plays-videos” joke you’ve made since 1996 here.