2Pac - Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z.:
’92 was a crazy year for Tupac Shakur. He got a lot of praise for his role as Bishop in the New York–based film Juice, and got a lot of flak for 2Pacalypse Now, his debut record. The album focused on the hardships and anger that came from being targeted as a young black male in America. It touched on topics such as racism, poverty, police brutality, teen pregnancy, all while at the same time offering a critique on ghetto life. Dan Quayle, then vice president of the United States, ordered Interscope Records to withdraw the record after an incident involving a suspect who killed a Texas state trooper. The suspect was allegedly listening to 2Pacalypse Now. A line off the album said, “They finally [the police] pull me over and I laugh/ ‘Remember Rodney King?’ and I blast on his punk a**”. This elicited a response from Quayle stating: "There is absolutely no reason for a record like this to be published … It has no place in our society." Those same words would then be sampled for the interlude, “Pac's Theme”.
On the deluxe edition of this vinyl reissue, the box includes burnt orange colored vinyl, 2 prints of 2Pac, 1 print of his logo, and 1 print of the original album title and track list for the record. It was originally called Troublesome 21. The original track list included unreleased material such as “Crooked Ni**a Too”, “Don’t Call Me B*tch”, “Trapped (92 Remix)”, “Nothing But Love”, “If They Come 4 U”, “Blak Kotton”, and to my surprise, “I Wonder If Heaven Got A Ghetto” (one of my favorite Pac songs).
The theme of this album focuses on the same issues from 2Pacalypse Now. It’s a continuation of 2Pacalypse Now, although 2Pacalypse Now packs a lot more memorable songs than this one.
As a 2Pac fan, I have to admit, this wasn’t his best work. When you hold this album up to standards to 2Pacalypse Now, Me Against the World, and All Eyez on Me, it falls short. Not to say that the album is forgettable, but a large chunk of it doesn’t resonate as well as a large chunk of songs from other albums. The three singles off this – “Holler If Ya Hear Me”, “Keep Ya Head Up” and “I Get Around” – tend to be the most potent.
To me, this album represents a transition phase for 2Pac. It sounded like ‘Pac was still finding himself as an artist and sounded like a mix of Ice Cube and Public Enemy. Moments where he sounded more original were off cuts like “Keep Ya Head Up”, “The Streetz R Deathrow”, the interludes, and “I Get Around”. For the most part, this album a transitional phase that was needed before he’d developed his Thug Life ideology. The album was necessary step that was needed before he’d release his landmark album two years later: Me Against the World. ANDRES
RIYL: Ice Cube, N.W.A., Public Enemy
Recommended Tracks: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 11, 13, 14
Cosey Fanni Tutti - Time to Tell:
Quite frankly, it’s criminal to consider that we don’t have this album on our wall already. I looked online and saw that it was getting a reissue, which seemed fortuitous since I’d been listening to it on and off for a month. There was something about the record that captivated me upon first hearing it, and I listened to it over and over trying to find out exactly what it was. It gave me chills.
Cosey Fanni Tutti is a British performance artist and industrial pioneer who, along with Chris Carter and Genesis P-Orridge, founded Throbbing Gristle. As a group, they existed to shock and thrill: most of their performance art and musical output early on disrupted British cultural standards and morays. Tutti’s solo work outside of Throbbing Gristle largely focused on her career in the sex industry. Initially a mail artist, she often used pornographic images in her collages, on which she became fixated. “It seemed my collages would be more 'complete' and honest if the images included me in the real sex situation I was pillaging for my own art”, she states in an interview for Compulsion Online. She worked as a stripteaser and dancer, as well as a nude model for softcore pornographic magazines. Through working in these jobs, she began to see each of these jobs both in terms of her own participation and with regards to the male viewer. “In this way, I have discovered male personality, and experienced what it is like to be the focal point of men’s sexual fantasies.” Since the shift from the anti-pornography feminism of the 1970’s and 80’s to the sex-positive feminism of the 90’s and today, her work has received critical acclaim and attention, leading Conspiracy International to reissue Time to Tell on vinyl with accompanying art books and transcripts.
Time to Tell was first issued as a cassette in 1982, featuring a photograph of a nude and tied Tutti as its cover. The eponymous track “Time to Tell” is the crux of this record: a 20 minute long synth journey overlaid by a monologue given by Tutti on her experience in sex work. The insights given within the track seem to lay the foundation for later critical research on pornography, especially in relation to her perception of the “male gaze”. For instance, her contrast between working as a nude model and a striptease artist are especially formative: nude modeling is characterized as presentation intentionally devoid of personality and agency while stripteasing is “eroticism performed live and spontaneously” giving the dancer control over her own body and its perception. Then there is also the beautiful synth line behind it, which conjoins with Tutti’s monologue to set the listener in an anxious trance. What caught my ear upon first hearing this was the distinctive twinkling sample, hypnotic and arpeggiating until close to the end of the track. It’s simply unearthly. “Ritual Awakening” is an extended and dissolving reprise of the title track, heavily turning up the unsettling vibe. “The Secret Touch” is the last track on the album and a surprising mood lifter, seemingly taking cues from New Age private press cassettes and pairing a relaxing pan flute solo with oceanic noises and drums.
The final words of this review are Cosey’s on “Time to Tell”: “One must live in the environment of the day, and make that environment as free as possible to as many people as possible... All I ask is that people once more work for themselves… It is simple and yet so very difficult. We seem to accept mass interpretation as a safety valve against personal thought... It is a means by which you can open yourself through experience and thought. ” SEAN
Rec Trax: “Time to Tell”, “The Secret Touch”
RIYL: Throbbing Gristle, new age,
Jose Guapo - Lingo 2: The Return:
I'll be honest, I didn't know about this album until I heard that there was a fresh new Famous Dex feature on the song "Why You Mad," that'll make you say "oh man god damn"---but my mistake folks because Jose Guapo is back in Atlanta with a solo mixtape, Lingo 2: The Return. Chicago native and ex-member of Rich Kidz, Guapo has teamed up with record label Quality Control (Migos, Lil Yachty, OG Maco) to run the entire Southern rap scene.
The entire tape has solid production as the foundation, and Guapo's bars are surprisingly impressive that sound as if Quavo and Playboi Carti had a hip hop love child. My personal favorites off the album include the opening track "40 Grand" and the trap ballad "Last of the Real", featuring a thoughtful and pensive Gunna on the mic. And the buck doesn't stop there. Jose Guapo reached out to Offset, Young Scooter, Derek Deshon, and legendary Sacramento sweetheart, Mozzy to crank this album up and out into our thirsty ears.
Even though this tape lacked both hype and promotion, please don't sleep on it this spring break. If you're traveling the globe or posting up in your room, Jose Guapo will kick start this season of nasty beats and clean eats! NATASHA
RIYL: Gucci Mane, Young Dolphs, old Migos
Recommended Tracks: 1, 4, 7,8,9,12