green-city.jpgAs a founding member of the Geto Boys, Scarface’s name is synonymous with gangsta rap. Now, heading up his own indie label, Underground Railroad, the Godfather of the South goes back to his roots with Green City. Consisting of regional mixtape stars Spark Dawg and Yung Texxus, Mike Hee, Big Spade, MJ, J. Scott and Atlanta transplant G-Ni, the Killeen, Texas–based septuplet make their debut with Brand New Money.

Green City rep for their hometown on the Noki Swazay–produced “Slide Thru Killeen,” which features a chopped Mike Jones vocal sample on the hook. The same song structure is used on the slab-readied “25 Diamonds” and the mellow “Good Enough to Eat,” with Spark using both tracks to put his bid in as the standout member. On the G-Ni–tracked “Major Grind,” he skillfully spits, “You ain’t finna pop it, bro/So what the fuck you cock it fo’/Pockets filled with lotsa dough/Plus, I got some pot to smoke/And I ain’t got no time for no 9 to 5, I gotsta flow.”

Listening to seven rappers, however, can be a chore at times. “Like a Porn Star” is basically an X-rated version of the Shop Boyz’ “Party Like a Rockstar” that gets bogged down by juvenile quips, like Yung Texxus’, “She wanna ride the Magnum, I don’t mean the car.” Then, the 808-powered “Caddies to Caprices” and the Da Champ–produced “Get Paper” both rehash the same candy-coated, get-money dreams of every other artist from the Lone Star State.

Mike Hee and Texxus make up for those slipups on the album’s catchiest cut, “I’m Throwed.” Fueled by a singsongy chorus, Tex redeems himself with rapid-fire bars: “Hit ’em like Scott La Rock/And when the drama pop, I can’t stop the shots/Hit ’em in the waist, split ’em in his face.” Despite a few sparse lyrical inconsistencies, strong showings on “Gotta Shine” and “Lookin’ Good” prove that Scarface’s ears aren’t playing tricks on him. —MAURICE G. GARLAND