Thursday, January 27, 2011

Before Them, Compton Rap Wasn't Shit

You want to be let in on a nice, overlooked and under-rated 12"? Ok, here's "Where You From?" by Dazzie Dee. Why is it so overlooked and under-rated? The answer is simple: because it doesn't list its guest stars. Look at that label and imagine you saw it in a record store bin for $5... you'd probably pass on it. But now imagine that label read, Dazzie Dee featuring King Tee, Toddy Tee & Mix Master Spade! Yeah, now you'd pick it up, 'ey?

"Where You From?" is the only single off of Dazzie Dee's second album, The Re-Birth (which is worth checking out in its own right), both of which dropped in 1996 on Raging Bull Records. But, in fact, its origins are a little more complicated than that. It's actually a remix of "Westside Hoodstas" on Dazzie Dee's first album, Where's My Receipt?; and that song's definitely worth checking for, too.

"Westside Hoodstas" was released as the B-side to his single on Capitol Records, "Everybody Wants To Be a Gangsta," where it was titled "West Side Gangstas." It's a very smooth (as is a lot of Dazzie's stuff), laid back duet between Dazzie Dee and Mixmasta Spade. They trade verses back and forth over a track produced by Battlecat, with some sweet crooning by a couple uncredited girls on the hook. Spade does his unique brand of sing-song rhyming that a few others have tried to emulate, but only Spade could do like Spade:

"Now all you big-time rappers with those big-time names,
You done forgot about the man who introduced this game.
King Tee, Eazy-E, Cube and DJ Quik;
Before me Compton rap wasn't shit.
Now way, way back before the cash and the deals,
I used to sell mixtapes out my truck for meals.
I kept the girlies rockin' on my jock,
Spade rhymin' about the streets, gang bangin' in Watts.
I sold to the blues and I sold to the reds,
Kept the whole damn hood scene bobbin' their heads.
So don't front when you roll like you don't know me,
(Why?) I'm OG and from the CPT."

But like I said, this new 1996 version introduces "The Compton Carr" into the mix. The girls are out, replaced by new verses by King Tee and Toddy Tee; and the track - this time produced by Dazzie Dee himself - is a little less smooth and a little more upbeat and funkier. Spade must've come back to the studio, too, because even though they just re-use his verses from "West Side Hoodstas" (mashed into one double-length verse here), his voice is unmistakable, contributing to the new hook with the other MCs. Dazzie kicks an all new verse for his part, and of course both of the Tees' verses are all-new as well. This is barely a remix (it's labeled like a whole new song here on the 12", but on The Re-Birth, it's given the fuller title, "Where You From? (Westside Hoodsta Re-Mix)") and essentially a whole new, entirely different song that just recycles a bit of Mix Master Spade material.

The 12" comes with the Vocal Album Version, The Vocal Radio Clean Version and the Instrumental Version. So next time you see in a bin, remember not to pass this historical collaboration up.

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