Third Time Is A Charm

So, I’ve been listening to this Little Brother Get Back album non-stop since I got it the other day (thanks Tay). The shit is hot, literally. I’ve been playing it so much that the disc burned my fingers when I took it out the deck.

Riding around to it reminded me of three other albums:

8Ball & MJG’s On Top Of the World (1995)

UGK’s Ridin’ Dirty (1996)

Outkast’s Aquemini (1998)

Of course, there are some obvious parallels in this synergy. All four of the albums I named are from duos. All four of them are third albums (unless you want to count Ball & G’s Lyrics of A Pimp and UGK’s The Southern Way as their debuts).

But deeper than, I feel that all of these albums capture the groups at their most cohesive moments. Of course, you may disagree, but listening to LB’s The Listening takes me back to how I felt about all three of these groups first albums. You loved 8Ball, and liked MJG on Comin’ Out Hard. You knew all of Pimp C’s lyrics, but only a few of Bun B’s words on Hard To Swallow. Big Boi would rock the show, but Dre would steal it on Southernplayalistic... And then with The Listening, you’d say “damn, who is this Phonte nigga?” and then “um, who is this Big Pooh dude?”

With each of their second albums, all of these groups either went for a theme or experimented. LB bucked the establishment on The Minstrel Show while ‘Kast went comic book on ya’ll ass with ATLiens. UGK mixed Screw and live instruments on Super Tight while Ball & G ushered in that trademarked Suave sound on Outside Lookin’ In.

Fast forward to the third albums, LB’s balance on Get Back gives off the same feeling of MJG showing his ass on songs like “Friend or Foe” or “All In My Mind” from OTOTW. Or Bun B going the fuck off on “Murder” and “Fuck My Car” on RD. Or Big getting down on both of “The Art of Storytellings” and shining solo on “Slump” from Aquemini. Its almost like Pooh went in and said “shied, a nigga can’t write blogs and shit, fuck it, rap nigga.”

Another parallel I found is that each of these third albums showed the group’s growth and showcased them at their most vulnerable and most creative. Sure Ball & G gave great narratives, but not like how they did on “Hand of the Devil.” Big bad ass, trill ass UGK weren’t making songs like “One Day,” “Diamonds & Wood” or “Hi-Life” pre-Ridin’ Dirty. ‘Kast wasn’t making funked out spoken word tracks like “SpottieOttieDopaliscious.” Even though LB has always touched on self-loathing and loyalty, songs like “Can’t Win For Losing” and “That Ain’t Love” have them doing it the best.

Oh yeah, all three of these albums are what I consider to be “breakthrough.” Before Ball & G came with OTOTW, folks tried to lump them in a “Southern Gangsta” category. Yeah, they had plenty of Gangsta shit on their records, but OTOTW showed and proved that the Fat Mack & Pimp Tight deserved to be mentioned in the same breath as Mobb Deep and Dogg Pound (interesting fact: Dogg Food and OTOTW both dropped on the same day, Halloween ’95). Peep thier Run-DMC’ish chemistry on “Pimp In My Own Rhyme” if you need an example. And man, I don’t care, this IS Ball & G’s tightest album production wise. Just listen to this shit if you don’t believe me.

The same goes for Ridin’ Dirty. Pimp C and N.O. Joe went deep down into their bag of tricks to produce gems like “Murder” and “Ridin’ Dirty.” And it doesn’t hurt that tracks like “Bumper & Grill” “Break ‘Em Off Somethin’” were made around this time, further showing that Pimp was, and still is a beast on the production.

Aquemini doesn’t need much explanation. Can you think any other album that has features ranging from Raekwon to Badu to George Clinton to Backbone and Witchdoctor? Organized Noize put their foot in this album, just as they did on Witchdoctor and Cool Breeze’s albums. What were they smoking in 1998?

Get Back is proving that {gasp} these niggas just might be better off without 9th Wonder doing ALL of the beats. I mean, busting on other folks beats is what made people go out and get the Clipse’s Got It For Cheap mixtapes and crown them classics, ain’t it? I won’t be surprised if folks do the same with Get Back. I’m sure you liked Tay and Pooh on 9th’s production, but you’d be lying if you said you wouldn’t want to hear them on some Hi-Tek shit. Some Mr. Porter shit. Or that hearing them on Illmind’s shit from Chitlin Circuit 1.5 didn’t intrigue you.

Of course, you’d have to hear Get Back for yourself to see where I’m coming from. Hell, alot you might have to go back get On Top of the World, Ridin’ Dirty and Aquemini (which I’m confident that out all four of these albums, most of you have) too. If the case I’m making is true, maybe Clipse are gonna follow suit with their third [actally available at the store] album.

P.S. For all my East Coasters who may feel left out or fogotten here are some notable third albums from duos that further show the point I’m making:

Run-DMC’s Raising Hell

EPMD’s Business As Usual

Mobb Deep’s Murda Muzik Hell On Earth (counting Juvenile Hell)

[No Fiascogate here folks]

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  • Crimson

    I kinda like that “Good Clothes” joint, but Jay-Z called the other day. Apparently he wants his flow back. “Dirt Off Your Shoulder,” anyone?

  • Fire

    Good post, Aquemini is a damn good album, UGK is always on point, and I’ve been looking forward to hearing Getback because The Minstrel Show was fire. It’s nice to see somebody break down a bunch of classic hip hop albums in a blog for once.

  • jihad joey…

    you stupid for that east coast input….

  • smog

    i havent listened yet cause im just gonna cop but i got tickets to the show here in chicity which is with black milk, yes!!! and someother chicity cats, i just had come pack from billy saying dem boys were weed carriers for ninth, which is some ol bullshit, good post though, its like i finally got someone who will do serious music analyses but i dont have to go look up every other reference like fucking noz

  • the growler

    Nice post, although I am not quite up to speed on Getback just yet. For me The Minstrel Show was the shit. Please remember though Mobb Deep’s third album was Hell On Earth after Juvenile Hell and The Infamous NOT Murda Musik!

  • bhillboy37

    You could at least let us check out some snippets.

  • P-Matik

    Was it me or was Phonte gettin’ at 9th on his own sh*t (This Ain’t Love)?

  • P-Matik

    I gotta co-sign with Crimson too. Pooh seems to like warming his hands on Jiggaman’s sack.

  • Ryan

    I have to disagree and say that the first two Mobb albums are better than Murda Muzik. Infamous slightly edges out Hell on Earth due to more of the songs being memorable right of the bat, where as Hell on Earth you have to dig a little deeper in your brain to remember the classic lines frmo that album. Good post though, I own all of those afformentioned albums other than the new LB, but I will definitley check it out now.

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  • triplesixninja

    “concrete like street under my feet spittin space age pimpin over hype beats
    white sheets an ink
    record what i think
    chiefing hay getting blazed till my eyes turn pink
    uhh gangsta gangsta like cube an eazy e this the wild west knicca strapped is the way to be
    911 aint quicker than my 4 nickel
    wetting chests so u betta not forget ya vest”
    -8ball On Top of the World
    The best 8ball & MJG album 4sher
    8ball=one of the best emcees ever

  • boner jams 03

    welcome to the xxl blogosphere homie…good shit…phonte is one of the nicest point blank peerey odd….

  • yaboy

    yeah, new Little Brother is hot. I have it now (thanks tay) but will cop it on its release…

  • Black Caesar

    Murda Muzik was an evolution of sorts. It’s always good to hear hungry cats coming with that raw mindset, but they were chill on M.M.

    They got use to perfecting trax on the CD format. Product was top notch. All of their older albums were pure anyway

  • Big Homie

    Good post. Cosigns with all the albums. Aquemini is my album. Hell on Earth is one of my favorite Mobb albums, that’s just me. I remember that came around when Red’s Muddy Waters dropped and I listened to both albums non-stop

    Get Back gets played non-stop by me too

  • ya boy po


  • DGood

    On Top of the World is definitely an overlooked album, it’s hard to believe it’s the same two guys who are now putting out throw away albums on Bad Boy.

  • T.R.E.Y.

    i mean, it’s good but i wouldn’t say it’s anything that great. i actually think 9th Wonder has the best beat on the album, ‘specially after the two eh Illmind beats that start things off.

    can’t help but think a bunch of these beats could be better, but they’re solid.

  • Purple Hulk


    • Fire

      Shut the fuck up, Purple People Eater. Who do you think you are? Ridin Dirty is awesome, and what I’ve heard of Getback has been all right. So Ridin’ Dirty’s better, that’s our opinion, but calm the fuck down.

    • http://MYSPACE.COM/SAGEANDDONP Chris Newberry

      Anyone talking shit probably have not heard the damn album yet. Do yourselves a favor, go to your local Circuit City, FYE, or Best Buy, and buy the damn album! Then, sit your happy ass down and listen to the shit. The same thing happened with the last damn album(mINSTREL sHOW). Muhfuckas were going around making preconceptions about the LP and hadn’t heard one note off the album. Go Listen to the shit, and then come back and talk shit if you don’t like it. DOn’t run around and bitch about how there is no way one album can be better than another, AND YOU AIN’T EVEN HEARD THE SHIT YET!


    Damn. Cats are serious about hating on LB and sucking on Riding Dirty. I see that Pimp C has everybody sniffing these days.

    The Little Brother album is that bang. 1970′s heron flow. I’d give it the top rating, but then again I don’t own a magazine. So I’ll just say the thumbs-up. Nolo.

  • R.E.

    Man, I liked The Minstrel Show better. Don’t get me wrong, I think The Get Back is a dope album. Just not as dope as The Minstrel Show. Pooh did show his ass on this one though.

    Good post, Maurice.

  • R.E.

    Ay man, Bol called you “Maurice ‘The Pompatus of Love’ Garland.” LOL…classic. Guess they ain’t used to seeing a blogger put it down without the least bit of hate. Do your thing, homie.

  • The Legend (MONT)

    I haven’t heard GETBACK yet but it can’t be better than The Minstrel Show. In my opinion Minstrel Show is the best hip hop album since Supreme Clientele. I was a lil skeptical being that this is their first joint without 9th Wonder doing majority of the production but the “Good Clothes” track by Illmind is banging. I’m going to cop it today ……

  • Incilin

    Yes, it’s good to hear a group like LB over Hi-Tec beats and such. But having 9th wonder produce your whole album is even better. Not because he’s better than Hi-Tec or whoever, but because having one producer on an album gives it a solidarity. Too many hip hop albums have what feels like a different producer for every track and makes the music seem unfocused. Having one producer (or just a few) means the rapper and the producer will work closely to mold a distinict sound (Granted, this doesn’t always work out so well)

    The Clipse mixtapes are popular, sure. But thier not better than HHNF.

  • Raised under Reagan

    Three is the magic number (c) De La Soul

    Probably one of the best blogs I have seen on this joint … this year. Good lookin out.

    All three groups have done outstanding work over the years. Rapper Big Pooh really came off on the album.

    Getback 10/23


  • lois lane

    this album is probably their best to date… yeah, albums these days lack the consistency that comes with having one producer do the entire project, but LB sounds a lot more energetic and– well, happy on this album to be honest. that comes with being able to break outta the box that lame niggaz always wanna put you in…

    i’d say it’s the best hip hop album of the year right after P.Monch’s Desire.

    and really– i think the comparison to Ball & G’s OTOTW is the strongest– they both had come into their own that album, they were being creative as hell… Although- JG shined because he’s by far the superior lyricist of the two (just took a second for folks to catch up)…no disrespect to Ball. Pooh just stepped up to the plate… he didn’t really outshine Tay.

  • TMB

    I see where you are coming from on this one Maurice. I’m feelin Get Back as well I need to give a few more listens before I weigh in on why I liked it so much better than the last two.

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