Sunday, November 20, 2016

3 In 1 --> Geto Boys (Revised)

Ah, the Geto Boys, the one and only Geto Boys. The last time I covered a Geto Boys album on the blog was during one of the "Hip Hop Nostalgia" sessions for 1989, in a joint session with the homie Kevin T. Robinson for "Grip It! On That Other Level," and of course you can revisit that in the blog archives. Speaking of that album, I have bumped it within recent times and to say that it has aged well would be an understatement. So, this is actually a couple of months in the making because I've had this "3 In 1" session planned for quite some time, and now it's finally upon us! In this session, I'll be taking a detailed look at the 3rd, 4th and 5th albums, respectively, from the Geto Boys, "We Can't Be Stopped," "Till Death Do Us Part," and "The Resurrection." 

Before I begin with 1991's "We Can't Be Stopped," I want to highlight a few things. 1) DJ Ready Red, who was a part of the group since its "Making Trouble" beginning, left the group for "personal reasons." I wouldn't say he was out of place, but considering the direction Scarface, Willie D and Bushwick Bill were set to take the group in, maybe his departure worked out for all parties involved. 2) I'm sure most of you reading this are pretty aware of the controversial album cover, definitely one of the most infamous images in hip hop history. The story has been told that Bushwick was shot in the eye while he and his girlfriend at the time tussled over a gun (good thing an unfortunate tragedy didn't occur). While at the hospital, Face and Willie D, along with their management team, took him out of his hospital room to take the photo, also removing the eye patch in the process. It was (and still is) graphic, however, whether it was intentional or not, this album cover, along with a hit single that I'll be talking about, sold this album in spades. Instead of making you look the other way, the graphic nature of the cover, plus the group's lyrical content, made everyone sit up and take notice. Bushwick would later express regret over the cover and rightfully so. (Oh yeah, you think a cover like this would see the light of day in present day 2016? Not a chance.) And with all this said, let's head back to 1991 and the first part of the latest "3 In 1" session!

UPDATE: Also adding his voice to this session is none other the aforementioned Kevin T. Robinson, co-author of the book "G.O.A.T. 50" and owner of ISelfDefine Productions!!

Release date: July 2, 1991

"In house" production handled by N.O. Joe, John Bido and Tony Randle

1. "Rebel Rap Family"

Kevin: After listening to this only the first time I got the album. I still skip it just like you do to this day. Lol.

Wayne: Apparently this intro was the last thing that Ready Red was involved with in terms of the Geto Boys. The Scarface influenced sounds takes us RIGHT into.....

2. "We Can't Be Stopped"
W: Courtesy of Brian Coleman's book "Check The Technique: Liner Notes for Hip-Hop Junkies," I'll let Bushwick describe this song in a complete nutshell:

"The lyrics on that were about how we were banned by Geffen for the previous album, Grip It! On That Other Level. It was bad enough that we was comin' from the South and people didn't believe that we could do what we were doing and be successful. Then to be banned by a major distributor, that was really fucked up. In the end though, it made us stronger."

Newer fans may be a bit surprised to know and learn that there was a time in hip hop when certain artists (and albums) were banned because of the content, never mind that said artists were expressing their rights to free speech, but that's another story. In spite of this, "Grip It! On That Other Level" was a success, certainly deserving of its classic label. Bushwick wasn't kidding at all when he said "in the end though, it made us stronger," because that REALLY comes across here. Minus one member, Face, Willie and Bushwick are just as mad and frustrated as ever and you can tell in the overall tone. All three men take turns with such hard, in your face lyrics that's really undeniable, plus I didn't want to quote the entire song either. Appropriately titled? Yes indeed.
*5 out of 5*

K: I love when Geto Boys call out critics and the hypocrisy of this country. 4/5

3. "Homie Don't Play That"
Willie D

W: Loyal reader, I'll let you in on a little secret: This album and in particular this song, is what I would listen to when I'm REALLY mad at something (or someone). Simply put, Willie takes NO shit from anyone, as well as lyrically putting street knowledge on full display. Allow me to break down the three tight verses.

The first verse finds Wilie calling out men, specifically, for "playin' too much," coming with "I don't understand how a man can call a man/A bitch or a ho and be playin." That's a point easy to relate to in a sense, mainly because those words are not "playing words." All in all, Willie essentially tells you to keep the jokes to yourself. The second verse finds Willie all but telling you he can be as hard as you can be, plus more; try to call his bluff, "he gon make you read his Nikes." I still laugh at the line, "Maytag ass nigga ain't nothin' but a bitch!," LOL. And again, keep those jokes to yourself. And the last verse, he goes in on the men who would dare to compliment his lady. Now, I'm sure most of us men can testify when it comes to other men complimenting our significant other. That's all well and good, but as Willie explains, you do want to keep said comments at a minimum or in certain cases, keep them to yourself. As you listen to this closing verse, one could make the argument that Willie is just a paranoid man, however, the following line sums up this verse and the entire song overall:

"game recognized, I wrote the book!"

As mentioned, this is street knowledge on full display in true Willie D form and even though this song does make you laugh a bit, the serious tone is never once forgotten, which shows effective it is, and even the multiple samples courtesy of Funkadelic, Roger & Zapp, the P-Funk Allstars, etc, give this one a funky twist.
*5 out of 5*

Willie D may be the master of straight rap talk and this song proves that. 4/5

4. "Another Nigger in the Morgue"

W: Once the drums kick in, Face definitely "gets down to business," yes indeed. On the solo tip, Face brings his aggressively sharp penmanship to the forefront. You could interpret this dope song in one of two ways: 1) it's a straight forward, lyrical warning to other MCs that if you try to test Face, your career will end up buried, or 2) if you can't test Face on the mic, your fate lies in the graveyard if you decide to get gangsta with it. Face would bring this mentality and much more on his debut solo album, "Mr. Scarface Is BacK," which dropped 3 months after this album on October 8th.
*5 out of 5*

K: Top 3 fave song on this album and one of my fave Face songs. Classic hardcore Face right here. 5/5

5. "Chuckie"
Bushwick Bill

W: Apparently this song was written for Bushwick by Ganksta N-I-P after they watched the movie "Child's Play," a movie I haven't seen in SUCH a long time. Needless to say, the star of this particular show comes as "half Bushwick, half Chuckie" and the content really speaks for itself. You know Bushwick is on some next level, shocking, out of this world type shit with lines such as, "play pussy get fucked, that means you're betta off dead/I wanna see food so I fished in a child's head,"; "my name is Chuckie, some say I'm insane/you give me some gin and I might eat a dog's brain," and "I'm gettin' hungry, I need to be fed/I feel like eatin' a bag of barbequed broke legs." Wow, I mean I can go on and on with these lines and just about all of them are as gruesome as you would expect, but at the same time, try not to take this too seriously and accept it for what it is.
*4 out of 5*

K: Another favorite. I heard this song before I knew of who Ganksta NIP (he wrote the lyrics) was. This song and NIP are pioneers of the Horrocore rap genre. 5/5

6. "Mind Playing Tricks On Me"

W: described this song WELL:

"Hip Hop's most famous paranoia anthem that inspired a whole generation of rappers to rap about the mental stress of the gangsta lifestyle."

Backed by a sample courtesy of Issac Hayes' "Hung Up On My Baby," this is the song that the Geto Boys will forever be known for and to say that it still holds up today is an understatement, and conceptually, this is art. "I sit alone in my four cornered room staring at candles" is one of the most memorable yet clear cut, psychological opening lines ever in a hip hop song. The charismatic Face delivers two verses, with the first one chronicling his lack of sleep, which translates into "sleepin' wit his finger on the trigger" and always thinking someone is watching him and listening to his private phone calls. The second verse sees that not even in the holy sanctuary of church can take the strong sense of paranoia away, even stressing that, "I know the Lord is lookin' at me/But yet and still it's hard for me to be happy." This same paranoia not only prevents him from being a father to his son, but it pushes his lady away and he doesn't realize it until it's too late. Chilling. Continuing on, Willie's success has mentally gotten the best of him, now he thinks everyone is after him because of that ("Or is it the one I beat for $5,000/Thought he had caine, but it was Gold Medal flour"). Willie's state of mind from "Homie Don't Play That" blends right into this, even admitting towards the end that "he takes his boys everywhere he go, because he paranoid." Bushwick's closing verse tops it all off. Now why he of all people would be trick or treating at his age is beyond me, but let's stick to the story. You see, Bushwick wasn't interested in any type of candy whatsoever, he wants to use this as an opportunity to fight, rob and steal..... then everything and everyone just disappears. It was all a dream for Bushwick, confirmed when "his hands were all bloody from punchin' on the concrete." Then again you can ask yourself: was this ALL a dream? Man, this has to be heard to be appreciated and even if the majority of this is simply a story and nothing more, you can see what happens when perceived thoughts are trapped in the mind and the resulting actions that tend to occur. Loyal reader, this is one of the most brilliant songs ever recorded and believe it or not, this was one of the few songs in the Geto Boys discography that received respectable radio and videoplay; the last time I heard this one the radio was mid-2002.
*5 out of 5*

K: Nothing much needs to be said about this one. Game changer and all music classic, period. The end. 5/5

7. "I'm Not A Gentleman"
Willie D

K: The older me cringes at this song but the younger me loved it. Straight foolishness, Willie D style. 4/5

W: Man, talk about an APPROPRIATELY titled song and I gotta break it down in some form. Simply put, Willie is "from the ghetto ho and he's no muthafuckin gentleman." Even though he (again) makes you laugh throughout this song, he's so believable at what he's saying that you really do feel he's 100 percent serious with everything. At the beginning, he throws a not-so-subtle shot at Queen Latifah's "Ladies First," a song I still like today mind you, by asking, "who made up that shit" (lol, you know who Willie). To put it bluntly, this entire song is one huge "F-YOU" to the ladies who sort of put a requirement on Willie to be a gentleman. I mean, he goes down a LIST of things he's simply NOT doing, check it out:

**he's not "runnin' to you at your every beckon call" (he's not your dog, he says)

**he's not opening doors or pulling out chairs ("bitches act like they handicapped," according to him)

**he's not "packin' your bags at the store", nor is he "takin' you to a play or musical" or "breakin' his neck to be extra polite"

**"And if you get cold, you gon sneeze/I ain't givin' you my coat so I can freeze" (wow, lol)

**even at your mom's crib, "he ain't removing his cap" (lol)

**"I don't give a damn if you ain't got a seat/My feet hurt too, you ain't no betta than me" ("stand yo ass up," he says)

**he's not picking up your item if you drop it, but then again, he'll "let you bend over so he can see that ass," 

**he's not letting you order at the restaurant "because you'll try to choose the most expensive"

You certainly CAN'T accuse this man of being a gentleman in any form. Willie tries to make the point in the last verse when he says, "you say I disrespect women like I'm crazy/but every woman ain't a muthafuckin lady." I'm sure that most rappers at the time (and probably today) would agree with that statement, which necessitated this hilarious yet straight to the point song. I wonder what Willie thinks of this song today. (Pay attention REAL close to the beat and you can hear the beginning of Eric B. & Rakim's "I Know You Got Soul" slowed down.)
*5 out of 5*

8. "Gota Let Your Nuts Hang"

"BOOM BOOM BOOM on ya black ass, bitch!!"

W: To this day, I still trip out at the above opening line from Face and to newer fans, "lettin' your nuts hang," mostly used in the South in the early-mid 90s, was another way of saying "stand tall and tough," so to speak. While the second and third verses contain all the money, murder and mayhem you would find in a Scarface solo spot, the first verse is quite notable. Law enforcement feels Face's lyrical wrath (and trust me, I'll go more into this when "Crooked Officer" is covered) as well as calling out those who preached the "Just Say No" to drugs line while supporting Marion Berry in office, who was arrested in 1990 for possession of crack cocaine:

"How can you preach to the fiends that they should quit/While Barry's up in Washington smokin' that shit!"

More dopeness from Face.
*5 out of 5*

K: Typical Face storytelling at the time. Nice average track. 3/5

9. "Fuck A War"
Bushwick Bill

"Muthafuck a war, that's how I feel/Sendin' a nigga to the desert to get killed/Cause two suckas can't agree on something/Thousand muthafuckas dying for nothing!!"

W: On the solo tip, this is by far the best thing Bushwick's ever done and the lines above more than describes this anti-war song. Bushwick not only calls out then-President George H.W. Bush ("I ain't gettin' my leg shot off/While Bush old ass on TV playin' golf!") and the launch of the first Gulf War, but also calls into question the reasons behind the war itself and the military's draft practices. You also get the impression that Bushwick was speaking from experience considering his angry, frustrated tone throughout the song. This remains relevant today, albeit on a smaller scale than it was in 1991 into 2003 with the "invasion" of Iraq, another example of when the happenings in the world were discussed in hip hop music. Another one that must be heard to be appreciated.
*5 out of 5*

K: The lyrics in this song still resonate today. 4/5

10. "Ain't With Being Broke"

W: Welcome to another appropriately titled song on this album. Any self respecting person should NOT be with being broke and leave it to the 3 man team to give us their different yet purposeful accounts (no pun intended). Willie not only wants more for himself, but his mother also (".....I'm tired of my mother bussin' her ass for other folks"); Bushwick vents about not having much while growing up and acknowledging being born in the poorest conditions, and Face wants to "get over" and working a job at McDonalds is not his way of getting paid. When talking about the environments they were exposed to at young ages, you always heard rappers say "and they wonder why we sold drugs," which is a profound indictment of how the predominately Black neighborhoods were treated across America for years, even as they recorded this.
*5 out of 5*

K: I always thought the hook was saying "lawdy oh lawdy." Smh. Real life type lyricism in this one. 3/5

11. "Quickie"

K: "She wants to lick my booty, I guess I betta let her???" Yeah that's all I'm saying on this one. Lol. 3/5

W: Face returns as the "gangsta of love" for this one. To keep it, uh, short and simple, Face is not interested in love making or anything close to it, he wants a "quickie,"  nothing more. Interestingly enough, he ends up having a session "that turned into a long one" at the end. (The Delegation's "Oh Honey" was sampled here.)
*3 out of 5*

12. "Punk-Bitch Game"

W: This live recording borrowed from Sly & The Family Stone's "Don't Call Me Nigger, Whitey." Sly's song is switched around, as the words "nigger" and "whitey" are replaced with two of the three words in the song's title. No rating for this.

K: Straight skip button.

13. "The Other Level"
Bushwick Bill

W: Somewhat oddly enough, this is about as smooth as a Bushwick solo spot can get thanks to the sampling of Diana Ross' "Love Hangover." Bushwick uses his rugged wit and charm to convince two unsuspecting ladies to engage in a "threesome." This is definitely some "other level" shit, even 25 years later. When I first heard it, I didn't know what to think. Not great, not terrible, just there really.
*2 out of 5*

K: Now this one kinda blew my young mind at the time. The thought of talking two women into having sex at the same time? Crazy at the time to me. Bushwick's storytelling was top notch on this one. I bet Face wrote it. 4/5

14. "Trophy"
Willie D

W: In a quote directly from the aforementioned "Check The Technique", allow Willie to describe this album's closer:

"That was a reaction to the basic disrespect that industry people have towards the Geto Boys. We've never been recognized in this game. The Source (magazine) gave us an award for Best Song back in '91 for "Mind Playing Tricks On Me", but other than that we've received no accolades. Normally when you have the hottest record of the year, that should garner some attention. They could've at least tricked us and nominated us for a Grammy. It's on the fans' minds. They know it's bullshit. We thought that the fans needed a voice at those award shows. It's such a political game and you gotta have people in high places pulling the strings. It's hard to get a fair shake."

Willie's frustration with the music industry's lack of attention shown to them specifically and hip hop in general is on full display here. At one point, it seemed like pulling teeth to even get Rap/Hip-Hop to be part of the categories at the Grammy Awards, which had to have been a response to the boycott of the show in the late 80s; Willie even says "fuck Oscar, Emmy and Tony" in an obvious shot at the aforementioned proceedings.

"Every year it's the same ol story/Same faces, same categories" (This really applies to hip hop at the Grammys these days.)

"I'm from the streets so I kick it for the ghetto/I can't talk about shit I don't know!!"

"And it should be a crime/One sucka gets nominated 5 or 6 damn times/It ain't that he's betta than the rest/It's just a damn popularity contest!!" (WELL said.)

"I sell a lot of records and a lot of people know me/NOW WHERE'S MY GODDAMN TROPHY??!!"

To close the song, Willie bumrushes the stage in a funny moment to "take the award," as well as accept "other awards" on behalf of Public Enemy, Ice Cube, 2 Live Crew and Ice-T, ironically other artists who were no stranger to controversy and ignored when it came to receiving awards on the major stages. Willie also threw a hilarious shot at Milli Vanilli by giving them the "Lip-Sync" grammy. Great song.
*5 out of 5*

K: No other group or rapper could have made this song. This is why the Geto Boys and Willie are needed in rap. 4/5

W: Oh man, 25 years later, this album has aged well, there's no question about that. Minus DJ Ready Red, the remaining 3 man team took everything that worked on "Grip It! On That Other Level" and amped up everything. They touched on very notable issues of the day in '91 (lack of attention from the mainstream media, war, police brutality, you name it) as well as bringing somewhat of a fresh perspective to things that they were already becoming known for (sex, money, murder, mayhem and the whole nine). In addition to the dope Southern production, it also was a good move that instead of having all three men on every song, they received equal solo time that balanced the overall quality. I also want to mention that an album like this wouldn't see the light of day in present day 2016, which is sad for obvious reasons, and it really takes me back to a time when artists were (very) free to express themselves without worrying about being socially and/or politically correct. The album was a Certified Platinum success, plus the hit single "Mind Playing Tricks On Me" peaked at #23 on the "Billboard Hot 100" chart. I really want to go the full monty on this one, but "The Other Level," "Punk-Bitch Game" and "Quickie" takes a few points away, leaving it at a 4.5 star rating.

K: 4.5 stars.

Before we proceed to 1993's "Till Death Do Us Part," I want to speak on Willie D for a bit. I'm not sure if he has spoken about this in interviews since, but outside of possibly having additional aspirations of a solo career, I don't think it was ever made public as to why he left the group after "We Can't Be Stopped," especially when you consider its success. Now, one would think that someone like Willie couldn't be replaced, however, not only did Face and Bushwick continue with the Geto Boys name, they would also add fellow Southern rapper Big Mike to the mix and that's when the next album comes into play.

Release date: March 9, 1993

W: Yes, I have a small story about this album before I proceed. In early-mid 1994, my cousin Osirian let me borrow the cassette. My clear intentions were to give it back when I was done, but man it was so dope that I kept delaying it. Leave it to me to play to the cassette so much that it unfortunately popped, smh+facepalm+lol. It was an accident and that was the one thing I hated about cassettes, they easily popped after a consistent, continuous play. plus the normal "wear and tear." I was a bit worried, "how am I going to tell Osirian about this?" So, my cousins and I met up one particular weekend, and when Osirian asked about his tape, I was in the undesirable position of informing him that it had popped. He took it better than I thought, but overall he still wasn't too pleased and I believe his dad had gave him that tape too. Ah, the memories, lol.

"In house" production handled by N.O. Joe, James Smith, John Bido and Tony Randle

1. "Intro"

K: J. Prince is always a great choice to kick off a Rap-A-Lot album. "Ahhhhh yeah."

W: Rap-A-Lot Records head James Prince comes through with this intro which takes us RIGHT into.....

2. "G.E.T.O."

"Here it comes fool!!!"

Holy shit, this is one incredible song right here, such a BANGER. Face and Bushwick clearly hadn't lost a step and with this one song, plus Big Mike MORE than fills the void left open by Willie D's departure. Mike's chemistry with Face and Bushwick was just as good as what Willie had with the crew. Such a dope, gangstafied, fast paced way to (re)start the album.
*5 out of 5*

K: One of the best "kick off" songs I have heard. Everyone was concerned how Big Mike would fit in but I think he killed any worries with his verse on this song. 5/5

3. "It Ain't"

"Mister mister Face, the hardest nigga being heard/Cause all I have in this world is my balls and my word/I'm sick of muthafuckas thinkin' they run shit/Until you face to face wit Scarface you ain't done shit!!"

W: Whenever I bumped Face's "The Last of a Dying Breed," I would always ask, when listening to "It Ain't, Part 2," where was part 1. Interestingly enough, it took me a long time to figure out that part 1 was on this Geto Boys album, and I'm still not sure why it took me so long to figure it out. Either way, this is another incredible song, with no hook, featuring Face at his charismatic best over some dope, Southern production (he simply works this beat). And yes, I do like this version over part 2, which is also dope. No matter what Face does in his day to day life, "it ain't shit" to him.
*5 out of 5*

K: One of those classic Scarface songs. So hardcore. 5/5

4. "Crooked Officer"

Wow, talk about a song that's STILL relevant today just like it was back in 1993. One reason I like this song so much is because all three men hold nothing back when airing out their anger and frustrations over the (police) treatment of Black men across the country, and it goes to show that really nothing had changed from the 60s to the 90s in terms of police brutality (this had been going on for years). It remains interesting to know that not only were these things happening back then, but in certain cases there was no footage of the incidents, but with the increased technology in this country, what we have seen over the last few years is police (sigh) gunning down innocent Black men and nothing being done about it. The Geto Boys and other artists were already putting this in the music, but no one wanted to listen, which is sad, and even sadder is that you had some who didn't want to hear it from hip hop artists, smh. Speaking of which, the media and the government would blow this off and offer criticism in the form of, "well, this should be banned because it encourages violence on police." Smh, now, I'm not an advocate for violence, but did ANY of these people even stop, think and ask WHY these artists felt this way (willing to take matters into their own hands) instead of coming to the immediate conclusion that "they're encouraging violence?" No, they sure didn't, which is another sad thing. "Crooked Officer" was so popular that it had a brief presence on the "Martin" show, due to Bushwick's appearance in an episode of the first season titled "Your Arms Are Too Short to Box With Martin," probably in a promotional effort. As for this song, again, another incredible one and definitely one of the best cases against the police along the lines of N.W.A.'s "Fuck Tha Police." Classic and MUST be heard to be appreciated.
*5 out of 5*

K: May be one of the most slept on, anti-crooked police songs in music. 4/5

5. "No Nuts No Glory"
Big Mike

"Cause I ain't wit that ho shit/So if you thinkin' bout fuckin' me nigga, you betta try some mo' shit!"

W: Backed by a nice sample courtesy of Millie Jackson's "I Cry," Mike blesses us with a HARD solo spot. If you ain't tough, you can't win in any endeavor. Simple yet incredibly effective and if there was one rapper who made strong points in reference to "gettin' down and going for yours," it was Big Mike. ANOTHER dope song (with no hook).
*5 out of 5*

K: The lyricism on this one is top notch. One of Big Mike's best songs. 5/5

6. "Six Feet Deep"

W: After such hard and aggressive tracks, we come to the most heartfelt song on the album. Around this time, we were beginning to hear more songs in hip hop talking about the loss of loved ones, didn't matter if it was family or friends. The three men are filled with grief and sadness as they reminisce on those that are no longer with us and the fact that some, if not all, of them died too young (some things never change). Face, Mike and Bill may come with a tough, street wise aura about them, but when it comes to this particular subject, you see a more reflective side to them and there's nothing wrong with that. Great song featuring an equally great sample courtesy of the Commodores' "Easy."
*5 out of 5*

K: I don't think this song gets mentioned enough. It seems like it got lost in their catalog. Some of Face's best lyricism is on this one. This production matches the mood of the lyrics perfectly. 4/5

7. "Murder Avenue"
Bushwick Bill

Not a big fan of this one. This was Bushwick trying too hard to keep the psycho-killa persona. 2/5

W: If you thought "Size Ain't Shit" and "Chuckie" were on another level, this solo spot from Bushwick is entirely something else that's for sure. And the man we get here is "Chuckwick Bill," the alter ego of Bushwick, based on the content. Without delivering any quotes, let's just say the song and its title speak for themselves. And just when you think this song couldn't get any more twisted, at the end, Bushwick says "the inspiration for this song, Jeffrey Dahmer," which is something you can draw your own conclusions on, but it's entertainment in the simplest form.
*3 out of 5*

8. "Raise Up"

K: Average song. Nothing bad but nothing great either. 3/5

W: Face was in full "Mr. Scarface" mode for this exercise in hardcore, lyrical gunplay, almost like a mini-movie on record/wax. It's about as hard as you can imagine. (I remember my cousins Osirian and Marlon LOVED this joint back in the day.)
*4 out of 5*

9. "Murder After Midnight"

K: The album picked up the momentum right here. Love this one, the production especially. 4/5

W: In a tale of revenge, extreme revenge, the three man crew team up to plan somewhat of a daring "murder after midnight," and with no witnesses in sight, seems like everything went according to plan. This is a tight song, but I feel if they had went back and forth throughout it as opposed to three full verses, the results would've been much different. Could they have worked the same style with the "Hard Times" sample courtesy of Curtis Mayfield? Probably.
*4.5 out of 5*

10. "Straight Gangstaism"
Big Mike (Featuring Mr. 3-2)

W: About this song, said "it described their formative years in the hood and the essence of gangstaism," and those are true words here. Fellow member of the Convicts crew Mr. 3-2 joins Mike for this one.
*4 out of 5*

On behalf of Kevin and myself, I want to send condolences to the family and friends of Mr. 3-2, who was shot and killed at a gas station on November 11, 2016. RIP.

K: One of my favorites on the album, classic all around. I printed a banner at school to hang in my room with this saying on it, lol. 5/5

11. "Cereal Killer"

W: Quite frankly, this is one of the more creative songs from Face. In addition to laughing a few times, you can't do nothing but realize how DOPE Face is here as he uses the names of popular cereal, as a running story, interspersed with murder and mayhem. I don't want to quote the entire 3:04 song, but it's another one that must be heard to be appreciated.
*5 out of 5*

K: I wasn't a big fan of the beat but I enjoyed the concept of the song. 3/5

12. "This Dick's For You"

W: In what could be described as the sole low point on the album, the three men make their intentions VERY clear to the ladies and the, uh, things they want to do. It's not a bad song per se, but I honestly could've done without it.
*2 out of 5*

K: Another song that seems to have gotten lost in their catalog. Me and my homies loved this one. So smooth. 4/5

13. "Street Life"

K: I think I had heard this song before I heard the album. This song had me at a fever pitch waiting for the album to drop. 5/5

W: This joint was also included on the soundtrack to the hood classic "South Central," which came out the year before. Face's lyrics are based on the movie itself, rapping from the perspective of O.G. Bobby Johnson. Very good song, especially when you take the actual movie into consideration while listening to it.
*5 out of 5*

14. "Bring It On"
Featuring 2-Low, Seagram, Too Much Trouble, 5th Ward Boyz, Odd Squad, Ganksta N-I-P, DMG, Mr. 3-2 and Big Mello

W: Even though Face comes with the closing verse, this 8:16 song was a true showcase for the then-increasing Rap-A-Lot Records family. All involved bring their individual talents over some hard production, essentially with no hook. Note to future labels/aspiring artists: If you ever want to showcase your (growing) roster of talent, study this song.
*5 out of 5*

K: One of the best posse cuts in rap, yeah I said it. Prove me wrong! Who had the best verse? Ganksta NIP! 5/5

15. "Outro"
W: Mr. Prince closes the album, even naming the artists on the previous song and a few other things.

W: This is SUCH an incredible album right here, even with ONE real low point, definitely one of the best albums of 1993. I think it's probably the most underrated album in the Geto Boys' discography that's for sure. It did make a respectable amount of noise back in '93, but it's not talked about as often as "Grip It!" and "We Can't Be Stopped." The production was truly top notch, and while Face (whose solo career would be on an upswing) and Bushwick brought their usual aggressive styles, as mentioned, Big Mike more than held his own along side those two men and was a worthy successor to Willie D. Much like "We Can't Be Stopped" before it, this is another album that likely wouldn't see the light of day in present day 2016 unfortunately, but I'm thankful we received it when we did, plus it was balanced the same way in terms of solo spots and songs with all three men together. Even with the moderate video play of "Six Feet Deep", "Crooked Officer" and "Street Life", the album was a Certified Gold success, achieving that certification on May 10, 1993. It's about equal to "We Can't Be Stopped" and much like that album, I want to give this 5 stars, but objectively speaking, I'm going with another strong 4.5 star rating. GREAT stuff here. 

K: 4.5 stars.

On the road to 1996's "The Resurrection," which also saw the return of Willie D, let's take a look at what the crew was up to at that point.

On October 18, 1994, Face would release his critically acclaimed third album, "The Diary." I can't believe I haven't talked about this on the blog before, but it will be the very subject at some point, either on its own or part of a "special project." Needless to say, this is an excellent album and after bumping it several weeks back, my favorite Face album has become a challenging subject once again.

If you thought Mike was dope on the "Till Death Do Us Part" album, he took what worked there and created quite this fondly remembered album, released on June 28, 1994. "Havin' Thangs?" Classic material.

This album, Willie's third, was released one week after Face's "The Diary." I haven't checked out any of Willie's solo work to this day, but that may change after this post.

I haven't checked out any of Bushwick's solo work either, and although I've heard about this album, with it coming out in the STACKED year that was 1995, my favorite year as you know, it was no surprise this fell so far under the proverbial radar.

And with all this being said, it's now time for "The Resurrection."

Release date: April 2, 1996

1. "Ghetto Prisoner"
K: I grew up in Chicago, so Larry Hoover being on this intro really grabbed my attention. This intro was perfect for the overall vibe and message of this album.

W: Mr. Prince speaks with an incarcerated Larry Hoover, and in a notable moment, Larry says, "real gangstas go to the polls," followed by James saying, "we the ones who make the difference too." Wow, and as of this writing, we are THREE days away from Election Day. And of course, we head RIGHT into.....

2. "Still"

"Back up in your ass with the resurrection/It's the group harder than an erection that shows no affection/They wanna ban us on Capitol Hill/Cause it's "Die muthafuckas, die muthafuckas!" still"  -Willie

Now this was a HELL of a way to open this banger.

".....And simply what this means is/He didn't know that every dog had his day until he seen his!" -Face

The original three man lineup is back and man, back with a vengeance too! Whoever made the call to have this open the album gets tons of props because it's such a great choice, complete with hard lyrics and the dope, unmistakable Rap-A-Lot production circa 1996. Even though they were separated for a time, Face, Willie and Bushwick come with the same mentality, but also a noticeable artistic maturity which will touched upon on this album. GREAT stuff here.
*5 out of 5*

K: Hardcore kick off, one of my all time fave Geto Boy songs. 5/5

3. "The World Is A Ghetto"
Featuring Flaj
Produced by Mike Dean and N.O. Joe

This socially and politically charged song also appeared on the soundtrack to the movie "Original Gangstas," another '96 release. As mentioned by, "the song describes the serious plight of Africa and the treatment of Black people in the modern world in general." 20 years later, it's still relevant to the issues we face in the world today. Listen closely and you'll notice an obvious difference in tone and delivery between this and "Crooked Officer" for example, but the frustration remains. VERY good song, something we need more of today.
*5 out of 5*

K: To this day I know a close friend of mine that may tell you this has to be my fave song ever. I played the song and watched the video that much. Great Geto Boys subject matter. 5/5

4. "Open Minded"
Scarface and Willie D (Featuring DMG)
Produced by Mike Dean and N.O. Joe

"I break these niggas off a proper dollar/I get the feeling that you wantin' my shit so now I gots to stop ya/There ain't no love for my opposition/Cause they opposition I knock they monkey ass up out position!" -Face

This is 4:11 slice of hardcore, Rap-A-Lot gangsta shit, no question. DMG comes with a tight opening verse, Willie continued to show that he hadn't lost a step and was quite energized, but man, Face's verse is simply awesome, which was to be expected at this point. Dope song. (And in an interesting note, I believe that former wrestler New Jack would enter the arena for his matches in ECW with this instrumental playing. He also had Dre and Cube's "Natural Born Killaz" instrumental playing sometimes too, even during his entire match. To this day, I'm not sure how owner Paul Heyman didn't have any lawsuits or cease and desist orders considering he was approving the playing of copyrighted material, but that's another story.)
*5 out of 5*

K: DMG had potential and I am glad they gave him shine on this one. Dope track. 4/5

5. "Killer For Scratch"
K: Cool intro to the next track.

6. "Hold It Down"
Scarface (Featuring FACEMOB)
Produced by Brad "Scarface" Jordan and Mike Dean

Before people started calling Scarface "Facemob," they were a group, and they are on this song. 3/5

W: This was more or less a showcase for the new group on the Rap-A-Lot label, FACEMOB, which also included Face (moreso as the leader), Devin the Dude, 350, Chi-Ray and Smit-D. They would release their debut album, "The Other Side of the Law," on August 7th of '96.)
*4 out of 5*

7. "Blind Leading The Blind"
Willie D (Featuring Menace Clan)
Produced by Mike Dean and Brad Jordan

K: Menace Clan and Willie D killed their verses. This song is pure street knowledge with substance. 5/5

W: When it comes to the subject of "the blind leading the blind," even in this case with street life, I get its meaning, however, this really should've been a solo spot for Willie, but it's basically a showcase for Menace Clan. It's decent, but more could've been done with this one.
*3 out of 5*

8. "First Light Of The Day"
Produced by Mike Dean, Uncle Eddie and Brad Jordan

"My pockets ain't hurting thats for certain
You see a broke muthafucka it's a burden
I'm the first muthafucka on the block for the cheese
And I'm the last muthafucka to leave"

W: In other words, Face, Bushwick and Willie, who may have the best verse in this song, stresses the importance of doing whatever it takes to see the very next day.
*4 out of 5*

K: "My pockets ain't hurtin' that's for certain/You see a broke muthafucka is a burden." Geto Boys classic! 5/5

9. "Time Taker"
Produced by Mike Dean

This one you have to take your time with. Time is certainly of the essence and the lack of not appreciating it or making use of it in the best way you can will ultimately seal your fate, whether it's through death or meeting God. I believe that all three verses here were connected in more ways than one. Excellent song.
*5 out of 5*

K: Poetic lyricism and a good example of why the Geto Boys are legends. 5/5

10. "Geto Boys And Girls"
Produced by Mike Dean and Brad Jordan

W: There are a lot of things, then and now, that separates the (geto) boys from the girls in a manner of speaking, especially when it comes to life on the street and all things related. This song was decent, but it was about 2 minutes too long.
*3.5 out of 5*

K: This song answered some questions about the inner turmoil in the group. 5/5

11. "Geto Fantasy"
Produced by Mike Dean and N.O. Joe

W: When you grew up and had aspirations of wanting more due to having less because of the conditions you were exposed to, it's only right/natural that when you achieve success, you give back to your community, teach the next generation and try not to rest on your laurels. Quite the deep song from the crew with a respectable sample courtesy of Rose Royce's "Love Don't Live Here Anymore."
*4 out of 5*

K: Typical Geto Boy, real to life song. Scarface's verse about politics stole the show for me. 5/5

12. "I Just Wanna Die"
Bushwick Bill
Produced by Mike Dean and N.O. Joe

K: This song was another attempt at pushing the Bushwick psycho persona. Better than "Murder Avenue" but still kind of played out. 3/5

W: When it comes to a Bushwick solo on a Geto Boys album, you already know what to expect. Bushwick "has lost all hopes inside" and just wants to die, plain and simple. Throughout this story, Face chimes in and says, "I'm not gon let you do that," then simply fades away. In addition, Bushwick is rapping the story, so to speak, while driving with thoughts of suicide on his mind. He tries to get Willie's attention mid-song, but he's having no part of it..... till the end, and what follows is an apparent gunshot to Bushwick and the crashing of that very car. This is what I would call your typical Bushwick track, but it's still good for what it is. The only thing that was missing was for Bushwick to wake up at the end and realizing this was all a dream.
*4 out of 5*

13. "Niggas And Flies"
Willie D
Produced by Derick Edwards

W: This would be your typical Willie D solo, which finds him in a hilarious yet serious form. Particularly in the first verse, he calls out those brothers who are always into something and comparing them and their actions to flies ("always in some shit"), whether it's robbing a bank and instead of keeping a low profile, said brother flaunts his ill-gotten gains and "now everybody know" or "niggas drivin Beemers livin' with they mommas," it's all the same. Straight forward and to the point.
*4.5 out of 5*

K: Willie D shines on this song. I love the message --> Black people need to stop being "niggas" and get back to our greatness and self respect. 4/5

14. "A Visit From Larry Hoover"
K: Intriguing convo between James Prince and Larry Hoover about Black people on the street level.

15. "Point Of No Return"
Scarface and Willie D
Produced by Brad Jordan and Mike Dean

W: This effective closer is one of those songs where even my words can't do it justice, truly one of those songs you must listen to in order to get its effectiveness. Willie and especially Face OWN this one inside of 3 really short minutes, but it's still sweet and in your face at the same time.
*5 out of 5*

K: Now this is the one! This song really caught me off guard with its energy and great message. Both MCs shine but that first Face verse may be a top 5 verse of his ever. 5/5

W: With the original three man team back, this was an excellent album, kinda slept on when it dropped in '96; I think people were starting to become more interested in Face's solo work at this point. While the aggressive nature was still present, they weren't as angry as years previous and even though the world was still a busy place circa '96, lyrically they were more refined and more mature on a musical level, especially with a song like "Time Taker," and their return was a welcome event in hip hop in my view. I'm not sure of the actual sales of the album, but my research found that it hit #1 on the Billboard's "Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums" chart and peaked at #6 on the "Billboard 200." "The World Is A Ghetto" was a mild success, hitting #12 on the "Hot Rap Singles" chart and that was essentially the last time one of their singles would grace Billboard. Overall, this was pretty good, culminating in the third straight 4.5 star Geto Boys album.

K: 4.75 stars.

As I prepare to close this post, let's focus a bit on the crew post-Resurrection.

I only checked out this November 17, 1998 release only once and outside of possibly two songs, I honestly wasn't impressed and the chances of me revisiting this are slim to none.

This (January 25th) 2005 release is their last album to date and all things considered, it's likely going to remain that way. I haven't bumped this one is such a long time, but I recall saying it was "decent" the last time I listened to it.

K: Thanks for reading. And thanks for the opportunity to share my opinions on my favorite group of all time Wayne. Peace brotha.

Much props and respect to Kev for his participation, no doubt!

And there you have it, another "3 In 1" session in the books. Mad props and respect to Face, Willie, Bushwick, Big Mike and all involved for the creation of all three of these albums, as well as "Grip It! On That Other Level." The Geto Boys had a certain "gritty realness" that's severely lacking in today's hip hop world. Much like N.W.A., Public Enemy, etc, they told you what you needed to hear whether you wanted to hear it or not and that's what made them stand out as much as they did. Even if they never record another album together again, I'm very thankful for that four album stretch, from "Grip It!" till "The Resurrection." THANK YOU!!!

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