Monday, November 9, 2009

Ed O. G & da Bulldogs Week, Day 5 - Da Bulldogs

Ed O. G's compelling solo comeback did beg one question: what happened to da Bulldogs? And for that matter, who were da Bulldogs?

Well, both answers are pretty interesting. According to his liner notes and album cover photos, Ed O. G & da Bulldogs were a 4-man team when they were signed to Mercury/Polygram/ Chemistry Records: Ed O. G (duh), T-Nyne, Gee Man and DJ Cruz.
Though in the dedication notes of his first album, he gets a bit more inclusive, saying, "Special thanks to the Bulldogs, who are: T-Nyne, Smooth Ice Gee, DJ Cruz, Black, Bulletproof Brett, Slim Dog, Shawn Booker, Lorenzo, Bruzer, Mo, Tyrone, Money 1, Muff K. Diamond, Dream Nefra, etc." "Etc?" Isn't that enough? Well, I suppose this possibly draws a distinction between two "versions" of da Bulldogs: the smaller group being the guys he went on tour with, that got checks from the label and actually somehow contributed musically (though they don't seem to have done much), and the other being just an inclusive list of everyone down with his clique of friends. Or something. What's more, apparently, da Bulldogs are pretty much just a later iteration of Ed O.'s old Dorchester group, The FTI Crew (DJ Cruz was one, and I believe T-Nyne is the artist formerly known as Spoony T).

And as for question #2, what happened to them? Well, they started putting out their own records! They put out a couple 12"s on different labels in 1999, and finally settled on Needlepoint Entertainment (their own label, I believe... they certainly never put out anybody else), where they put out a full-length entitled Almost Famous. So let's look at one of their records and see what's going on there.

This is "Bounce" b/w "Livin It Up," which dropped on Needlepoint in 2001... neither song on this 12" is on their 2003 album. The credits on the label aren't terribly telling, just informing us that both songs are produced by a guy named Flipside. But a quick listen tells us that there's two MCs and one DJ at work here, so I'm guessing this is the basic line-up of T-Nyne, Gee Man and DJ Cruz. One of the MCs does refer to himself as Terry... I suppose that's what the T in T-Nyne is short for?

The production is simple - essentially just one endless loop per song - but dope, with a cool, slow drum track and some calm, head-nodding samples. They really feel like the sort of beats you'd expect Ed O. to rhyme over (minus any change-ups), so the territory's nice and familiar. Lyrically, "Bounce It" is pretty empty (as if you couldn't tell from the title) and can be summed up in the line, "my favorite thing's fat booties with the thong between." But they impress more "Livin It Up," where they take turns rapping to a hypothetical girlfriend who's only interested in expensive things. Each song features a little bit of scratching which is nothing show-stopping, but adds to the atmosphere. So "Bounce It" is ok, you won't be mad at it; but B-side definitely wins, and deserves a home on anybody's mixtape.

The 12" comes in a plain sleeve, but it's bright red, so that's gotta count for something, right? "Bounce It" includes Radio, Street, Inst. and Accap. versions; and "Livin It Up" has the same, minus the accapella.

So, what it boils down to, I guess, is that if Ed O. G is Gangstarr, then Da Bulldogs are Group Home. You could do worse. And if nothing else, after all these years, it's nice to finally hear these guys rap for themselves.

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