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Could It Be That It Was All So Simple Then?

Godfather.jpgRainy Dayz

{+} There’s been much talk amongst nerdians about the greatness that may be Only Built 4 Cuban Linx. . . II. There’s also been a great amount of revisionist history going on surrounding the orginal. Because most of you children started listening to hip-hop when Tupac died, you may not know that the Purple Tape was not always deemed the classic that is it seen to be now. True indeed, when the Wu-Gambinos dropped the now-classic LP, it was as divisive as anything this side of All Eyez On Me. During an interview back in the days when most of you were still shiiting in Pampers, KRS-One told me that the album changed the gravitational center of hip-hop. Any album coming out that wanted to be taken seriously, the Teacha opined, had to respond to Cuban Linx. Point-in-fact, the Haitian Sicilians on The Score were a direct riposte to the Wu’s pasta eating dons. As was De la Soul’s Stakes Is High (a/k/a Ground Zero for the Playa Hater Movement). See, back then, the birth of uncut cocaine rap was not viewed as a good thing.

Just as problematic as the Wu’s philandering with Colombians were the shots (on the record, on the radio and in interviews) that the Chef and Ghost Deini took at the Notorious B.I.G., right when he was engaged in so-called beef with you know who. Many accused the Wu as coast-traitors for this act. And, off the record, there were many artists who claimed the album’s production to be sloppy, noisy and all-around uncouth. (I won’t mention any names, but I still have the tapes in my closet.) It didn’t help matters that the Notorious “Greatest of All Time” B.I.G. was, himself, accused of destroying hip-hop, which caused a small ruckus with the Boot Camp Clik(a), who would go on to record with 2Pac, which would have further convoluted the mainstream’s neat picture of an East Coast/West Coast rivalry, had they cared to dig any deeper. But I digress.

All around, it was a messy time in hip-hop, and the Purple Tape was at the epicenter of subliminal jabbery. If you were paying attention, you’d have noticed that Rae, Ghost and (to a lesser extent) Rza, had been taking shots at Jigga, right up until his “retirement,” for supposedly appropriating their Cristal talk. (An idea which I’ve always found Chris Bridges.) Similarly, Outkast accused Diddy of swagger-jacking their whole playalistic vibe while their best album, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik (which is undoubtedly their best album, mind you) was snubbed by the East Coast elemental-types.(b)

This is not to say that I, myself, have always been able to declare a classic outright. Da Shinin’ took me 6 months to like. I even wrote a bad review of it in the immortal One Nut magazine. (Peace Connecticut.) But one night I was high, pumping iron(c) and it hit me like nothing else. How could I have been so stupid? Sometime later, when I was playing pool (very badly) with Dru Ha and them in D&D, I had to confess that I came around. Da Shinin’ is an album that I can still listen to ‘til this day. Yet, I’ve never thought Illmatic was a classic based on its music. I’ve rarely been able to listen to it all the way through. (As a matter-of-fact, I tried to recently and couldn’t make it.) I can’t ignore its place in history and the momentum it still carries to this day, but you’re more likely to find me bumping Fruits of Nature, Mr. Hood, Dead Serious or Staright Up Sewaside front-to-back than Illmatic. As for Midnight Marauders, it took me a few years to get into that one. (Could be becuase it came out on the same day as Enter The Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers and my true Wu-Tang story—which begins on a slow Tuesday at Bondy’s Music and includes grabbing gratis alcohol under a bar as shots ring out in a Staten Island club—deserves its own space.)

Reasonable Doubt, I fell in love with instantly. (Classic—shoulda went triple.) As I did with the second first Amerikkka’s Most Wanted, Death Certificate, Cypress Hill and One For All. But I wasn’t bowled over by The Chronic—it was music to drive by, not a headphone masterpeice. Besides, I was into Black militancy back then (power to the people, honor to the Earth) and as a good revolutionary, it was my job to boycott the best beat on the album (“Bitches Ain’t Shit”), not to mention that Dre had that little Dee Barnes incident.

In other unpopular opinions, I still Hold Wu-Tang Forever as a classic; one of the few double discs worth its dual Soundscan numbers along with Life After Death and All Eyez On Me.

And, while we’re being honest, it wasn’t until 2000 that I appreciated the bleak beauty of Hell On Earth and I originally preferred Project: Funk Da World to Ready to Die.


Gunshots In My Cookup

{+} In other news: I’ve actually listened to trust fund recipient (Lil’) Romeo’s “You Can’t Shine Like Me.” I wouldn’t be surprised if T.I. wrote that one as well, which would make him the first rapper to try to, as the kids say, ether himself(d).

{+} Stop snitchin’, you asked for the life you’re livin’/ This act is not permitted nowhere on the map/ It is forbidden to send a nigga to prison/ If you’ve been in it along with him and then snitch and become hidden. . .

Obie Trice (real name, no gimmicks) gets it right. And Akon is the new Nate Dogg. (Except people actually buy his albums.)

{+} My young fam, Rah’Saan got so much swagger. Caught him live the other night. The young god went for twenty minutes straight, dolo with no loss of stage presence, sore throat and all. Please ignore the fact that he’s aiding in the destruction of society by being on Myspace and cuff with him.

{+} Children, thirty people wearing a rapper’s promo shirt as he gets “Treached,” while technically being his entourage, is most likely, in all reality, his street team. So, if you’re gonna appoint yourself as some sort of media watchdog, barking uniformed information—even if that has become your stock in trade—is not a good look.

The moral of the story, children: Support online hip-hop, not suckers online doing hip-hop.(e)

{+} It’s a little late in the game to be thumbing through The Art of War, young homey. The generals have been dispatched, the armies are on the battlefield, and your officers are turning allegiances as you read. The laws of power been mastered since Slick Rick’s first chain. Rival crews, get your black suits up.

{+} My legal team has advised me that I can attract more fruit flies with honey than vinegar, to which I asked if a moldy banana would do, to which they said, the analogy being beside the point, that I would be better served by feigning a desire for dialogue and community—even if I could care less—which could easily be done by ending my posts with a question, sort of like an invitation for conversation. I don’t know—what do you fruit flies think of that?

P.S. – If Tara and Bol keep blirtng(f) with each other, I’ma get jealous(g).

PlayStation 2 – I plan on starting my DITT (Diggin’ In The Terabytes) series once Brendan “Snow Business” Frederick teaches me how to upload music. Elliot “Breakaday” Wilson can’t have all the fun.


(a) There are some things you know or you don’t.

(b) And you thought it all started with “Laffy Taffy.”

(c) You know I had to be high to be pumping iron.

(d) This does not include rappers voluntarily signing to Bad Boy.

(e) I only link to people I respect. The rest of the suckers on line doing hip-hop can die nameless.

(f) Blog flirting; get a chat room, already.

(g) If you think it, you must be it.

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