Monday, February 17, 2014

Hip Hop Nostalgia 101, Session 26: Celebrating 25 Years ---> Three Times Dope - Original Stylin (1989)

Any of you remember (or ever heard of) the Hilltop Hustlers Crew? Not only were today's group, Three Times Dope (EST, DJ Woody Wood, and Chuck Nice), a part of this crew, it also consisted of Steady B, Da Youngstas, Mentally Gifted, and Cool C. Quite the lineup right there. For the first session of 1989, we'll take a look at one of the more "unsung", if you will, groups from the late 80s.

To this day, the actual release date for this album is still unknown.

All songs produced by Three Times Dope, except 3 songs

1. Greatest Man Alive

This was a dope opener. EST wastes no time professing how dope he is, and when it came to hip hop at that time, there was no shortage of that, in a good way.
Grade- A 

2. Original Stylin

The title track is dope as well, which finds EST continues to talk about how dope he is in a true hip hop way, all the while saying Three Times Dope's style is original.
Grade- A

3. Funky Dividends

Sample check

This classic is actually a lot better than what I remembered. EST is pretty adamant about not letting any woman use him and befriend him for his money, and that comes across very clear in this song. This is another one of those old school classics that'll benefit today's generation if they actually sat down and took the time to listen to it. They could learn something.
Grade- A+

4. Improvin Da Groovin

In order to have continued success, you have to improve your sound, yes indeed.
Grade- B+

5. Increase The Peace/What's Going On

 "What you want, you will get as long as you go about it the right way"

Words of wisdom right there from EST and he's completely right. Again, today's generation would benefit from hearing a song like this. There's much more to life than crime, drugs, and trying to obtain any and everything worth having in an illegal fashion. The scratched clips from Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. were a nice touch.
Grade- A+

6. From Da Giddy Up
Produced By: Steady B

Steady B's dope beat (along with the nicely worked samples courtesy of James Brown and Dyke & The Blazers) and the energetic performance by EST brings this song to life. Another classic.
Grade- A+

7. Once More You Hear The Dope Stuff
Produced By: Steady B

Sample check #1

Sample check #2

What an apply titled song this is. There's been nothing but dopeness on this album and mid way through, it continues.
Grade- B+

8. Believe Dat

When it comes to EST, he encourages you to "believe the hype". More dopeness.
Grade- B+

9. Straight Up

 Oh man, if you were not bobbing your head to this joint, another dope one, then you were listening to the wrong song, lol. 
Grade- A

10. Who Is This!
Just an instrumental right here, also showcasing DJ Woody Wood on the turntables/wheels of steel. And yes, it's dope!

11. Crushin N Bussin (Remix) Featuring Cool C
Produced By: Chuck Nice
Co-Produced By- Steady B

Cool C comes along for this dope ride with EST, doing nothing but "crushin n bussin", lol!
Grade- B

12. Joe Familiar

And of course, this one closes the album on a dope note.
Grade- B+

The name Three Times Dope is appropriately titled for this 3 man crew. All around, this is album is nothing but dope, from the lyrics all the way up to the production. Speaking of the lyrics, EST did a damn good job on the mic with his energy and confidence.  As it turned out, while "Funky Dividends" was (and still is) a classic, the album itself was slept on (especially considering the still evolving nature of hip hop at the time) and the crew more or less became somewhat of a footnote in hip hop history (even though they would release two more albums in 1990 and 1998, respectively). Overall, this album still holds up today and it marks a very dope start to the 1989 Hip Hop Sessions.

Final Grade- B+

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