Monday, November 16, 2009

Ed O. G & da Bulldogs Week, Day 7 - Demos and Rarities

So, Ed O. G kept busy in the 2000's, releasing several indie albums (The Truth Hurts, Wishful Thinking, My Own Worst Enemy and the collaborative album Stereotypez with his crew Special Teamz) and singles. Finally in 2008, Direct Records released one of the best and most under-rated albums: a double LP by Ed O. G & da Bulldogs (we even hear them rap on this!) entitled Life Of a Kid In the Ghetto: Demos and Rarities. Despite the use of the term "rarities," this is all 100% previously unreleased material. It's a high quality, loud pressing in a nice picture cover and all the tracks have been "taken off the demo tapes, reels and master DATS from Joe Mansfield's original demo recording sessions." So, while the sound quality does vary a bit from track to track (especially the last couple songs on here), I think it's safe to assume that this is the best they'll ever sound.

Side A of Record 1 consists entirely of "original demo versions" of tracks that originally appeared on Ed's first album: "I Got To Have It," "I'm Different," "Feel Like a Nut," "She Said It Was Great" and an Interlude version of "Be a Father To Your Child" (basically an alternate instrumental). These are cool to have for serious fans, and there are some interesting differences ("I Got To Have It" uses the same basic samples, but places a lot more emphasis on some banging drums, and ends with some shout-outs where Ed O tells us he's down with "Stop the Violence"). They're a treat for serious fans, but not really different enough from the released versions to appeal to casual fans.

Sides B-D got those peoples' backs. Nothing but all "new" songs by Ed O. G over Joe Mansfield (Vinyl Reanimators) production. Fuckin' A. Most of these could easily have been featured on the album... in fact, I'd've preferred some of these songs. Like "Brand New Style," where he flexes freestyle rhymes over a track that's constantly switching between incredible beat changes? That's pretty much second only to "I Got To Have It." A few of the songs do feel a bit more like freestyle raps over familiar samples that were probably never really intended for commercial release, but they're still dope. There's even a track featuring Krs-One. Why on Earth they would've left a Krs-One feature off of their album if they had one back in '93 is beyond me. But we finally get to hear it now.

And as if that wasn't enough, Direct also released two 12" singles off of this album (which include instrumentals), and Acting that same year. Acting is the Dedicated EP I covered on Day 3, but with a crap load of remixes, skits, acapellas and bonus tracks. In fact, let's break down the totals:
6 songs taken off the EP (that's 100%)
3 remixes
2 acapellas
4 skits (which are basically 1 short bonus beat apiece)
3 bonus tracks, including 1 featuring Big Shug and Scientifik
The only down side? Acting is CD only (boo! hiss! You could've at least put the three new tracks and three remixes on a 12" single).

So, that's a lot of killer old (but new to us) material. But fans will be happy to know that Ed O.'s still doing it, too. His latest full-length, a collaboration with Master Ace entitled Arts & Entertainment, just dropped a couple weeks ago (10/23). Dude stays recording.

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