Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Revisiting Sporty Thievz' "Street Cinema"

As of this post, I've really been spinning Sporty Thievz [King Kirk, Marlon Brando & Big Dubez] a lot recently. In addition to sending a friend request to member King Kirk and Big Dubez on Facebook (and both being accepted), as well as following them on Twitter (and them following me back), I can honestly say I appreciate the group now more than I did in 1999 when the hit single "No Pigeons" was blazing radio and TV, and trust me I'll be getting to that song during this revisit! This intro may seem brief, but I'm going to save all of my thoughts for this review towards the end.

Release date- February 23, 1999

All tracks produced by Ski and King Kirk

One interesting thing to note about this album is it plays like a movie, a storyline on record if you will, and it's a very effective concept that we really don't see in hip hop that much these days. And speaking of movies, I'll be rating the songs in a similar fashion to how movies are rated, which would be 1-5 stars. The final rating will be reflected in this manner as well.

1. Intro

We begin things with Kirk, Brando and Dubez on their way to see "Hot Pursuit." The manner in which they arrive at the theater is quite funny too, lol.

2. The Spot

   This is where it all goes down at, "the spot," and this is mostly centered around "pushin weight" along with everything else that comes with the territory. Can't deny the storytelling on this one with a dope beat to match.

3. Fedz/Freeks (Skit)

The crew is on the run from the feds (realizing what they've done in the process), with Pennsylvania and Maine as relocation options.

*And the Freeks "skit," which is about what you would expect, leads us into:

4. Freeks/Slow Money Toney

Even at this point in 99, we have all heard songs about a certain type of woman, how far/low they will go, the things they'll do, etc, explained in true Sporty Thievz fashion.

*Slow Money Toney was hilarious, lol*

5. Spy Hunter

A "spy war" indeed, and that's what we get on this appropriately titled song.

6. Like Father Like Son/C.E.O. Freestyle

"Like Father Like Son" is an apply titled song if there ever was one. Kirk, Dubez and Brando talk about how they inherited everything they know from their fathers, and I'm sure that's something most of us men can relate to.

 *The C.E.O. was about to pull some written rhymes out prior to his, uh, freestyle, lol.

7. Raw Footage 
Featuring Tragedy Khadafi

 Alongside Tragedy, the 3 man team was a little more aggressive for this one and what resulted was a tight song.

8. Hitmen/Cheapskit

 "Hitmen, chargin 30 G's a head"

Starting out with Vinny, the crew seemingly goes from rookies to veteran hitmen in one fell swoop. I like the storytelling throughout.

 *After the conclusion of "Hot Pursuit", the crew is in the lobby. One of them, likely Kirk, runs into a woman and it seems a connection is on the horizon. Once she's asked what she (and her 2 friends) are trying to see, she replies "whatever y'all paying for", lol. Kirk is like, "what you and your friends don't have $8.00, what y'all lost y'all wallets or something", lol. He then proceeds to call Security on her ("This girl done lost her wallet", he yells, LOL) This skit can only lead us into one song.............

9. Cheapskate (You Ain't Gettin Nada)
Additional Vocals By: Liz Leite and Mocha Latte

Lol, I laughed back in 99 when I heard this and I still laugh listening to it today.

"I spend, so baby spend your mind out my pocket"

"A cheap nigga, yeah b****, get a Arch Deluxe" (remember that from McDonalds, lol)

"So what you givin up, ass honey or gas money?"

Lol, these guys went out of their way to show how, uh, cheap they were. They may not have had all the paper in the world, but no matter what the females did or said ("you not getting nada or poonany from us), the Thievz weren't budging.

10. Angel

An angel, an immortal, spiritual creature, attendant upon God
An angel, a guardian sent to overlook

This is an excellent song, one you really have to take your time with. In my view they put a different twist on "angels" and apply it in a street form.

11. Mac Daddy/Aquaskit

 The Thievz are also "macks" too and that's fully explained on this one.

*The Thievz will be on a mission, leading us into.....

 12. Aquamen

 A lyrical mission, in the water. This one scores points on creativity.

13. Ready
 Featuring Peter Gunz

With all due respect, this song could've easily been on Lord Tariq & Peter Gunz' "Make It Reign" album from 1998 and while it's ok, it seemed out of place on this album.

14. Propose A Toast

 The Thievz show mad love to fam and friends, whether they were here or not. This is the most introspective song on the album.

15. Street Cinema

 It all goes down in the street. The Thievz paint this cinematic picture. Simple yet effective.

16. No Pigeons

This was the famous rebuttal to TLC's hit single "No Scrubs". The song still holds up today and it's one of the best rebuttals (from a man's perspective against the females) that you'll ever hear. Now, I know Left Eye is no longer with us (may God rest her soul) and I still like a lot of TLC's classic material, but as the Thievz said in an interview at the time (can't recall which magazine it was in), "that Scrub shit hurts cats," so with that being said, with hindsight being 20/20, there's no way that TLC could've thought their song was not going to have some form of a response. I'm not biased at all, but "No Pigeons" makes its points. This was also the Thievz' most successful single to date, and it received almost as much radio and videoplay that "No Scrubs" did at the time (more on this later).

*17. Cheapskate (Remix)
 Additional Vocals By: Liz Leite and Mocha Latte

This song was not included on this album, but I decided to include it as a bonus. They essentially cover the same material they did on the original version, only this time they're doing it over a much better beat and they let Ms. Leite and Ms. Latte rap on this one. This is my joint right here.

"I want it, uh-huh uh-huh"

"Ain't got it, uh uh, uh uh"


Ok, I have quite a few closing remarks about the album and group.

*To begin, on a sad note, Marlon Brando was killed on May 11, 2001 after being struck by a car, driven by a drunk driver. He saved a child's life by pushing him out of the way of the swerving vehicle. That was quite the heroic, unselfish act by Brando and I'm sure Kirk, Dubez, as well as family and other friends continue to think about him to this day. (The remaining two members of the group took an indefinite hiatus from hip hop until 2013.)

*Even with all of the attention "No Pigeons" received, that unfortunately didn't help this album one bit. Another part of that can be blamed on the album being released on the fledgling Ruffhouse Records, which ceased operations in 2000. With that being said, they basically did nothing to promote this album, and even by King Kirk's admission on their latest mixtape (more on this later), the group wanted its album to be released when the time was right, the label, on the other hand, didn't want to wait and the results spoke volumes. In another unheard of thing at the time, "No Pigeons" was certified Gold on July 9, 1999, outselling the album it was supposed to help sell, if that makes sense. Kirk doesn't like the term "one hit wonder" to be applied to the group, and while I respect that a great deal, unless something changes, it goes without saying that "No Pigeons" is what they'll always be known for and it brought them a respectable amount of success.

*I give the "Street Cinema" album 4 stars. It's pretty good with its storyline driven concept and I'll be revisiting this from time to time. Unfortunately, this album is no longer in print. Outside of used copies being available on sites such as Amazon, half.com and Ebay, it's also available for purchase on iTunes for $9.99. I recommend it, for new listeners and those who are familiar with the group, but never checked out the album. Those who were fortunate enough to cop it in 99 or 2000, revisit it when you get a chance.

*In 2013, King Kirk and Big Dubez returned to hip hop with their dope mixtape titled "Speak Ya Mind Cinema Pt. 1- Beats & Brawdz", which can be download here ---> http://www.sporty-thievz.com/index.php/sporty-music?view=album&album=3.

They're also planning to release "Street Cinema 2", the sequel to its predecessor, likely to be released in 2014 and you can be rest assured I'll be checking for it!

You can also check them out on:


 via Twitter @SportyThievz

via Facebook https://www.facebook.com/sportythievz?fref=ts


 In closing, I want to thank Sporty Thievz again for their contributions to hip hop and I hope they do release "Street Cinema 2" along with more material. Salute!!


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