Thursday, May 2, 2013

Willie D Vs. Willie D

Iphone scams may not be the only crime Willie D committed (seriously, I can't abide EBay scammers). How about that time he sold us all the same album twice? Remember that? In 2000, he released Loved By Few, Hated By Many on Rap-A-Lot and Virgin Records. Then, in 2001, he released it again on his own label, Relentless, under the title... Relentless. But, strictly speaking, they're not exactly the same. There are couple variations. So you know I've got to make a post breaking it all down and figuring out exactly what's what on both versions, right?

Okay, on first glance, Loved is eight tracks long and Relentless is only fifteen. So a couple must've got lost along the way. Out of those, thirteen songs are exactly the same on both albums. I mean, their titles might be slightly different... The single "Freaky Deaky" featuring Pimp C, his cousin NaNa, and a poor variation of Donna Summer's "Love To Love You Baby" for the hook, was renamed "The Real (Freaky Deaky)" the second time around. But by direct comparison, they're exactly the same song. Oh, and his cousin changed her name to Nay Nay at the same time. But, anyway, all the rest of the corresponding titles seem to be a hundred percent identical, so there's no question which ones are which. The sequencing is different to help disguise that fact, presenting them all in a different order; but that's it. Listening to both albums in a row, none seem to be alternate remixes or anything like that; they're the exact same songs.

Taking those thirteen songs out of the equation, then, we're left with two apparently unique songs on Relentless and five on Loved. That's even less exciting when you remember that Loved had skits on it. "A Friend" and "The Sickness" were completely forgettable time wasters, which frankly were no loss for Relentless. But that means Loved is down to three unique songs.

Now let's get down to tacks and look at 'em one by one.

Loved By Few, Hated By Many exclusives:

1) If I Was White - Lyrically, this song is interesting. He makes valid points but without losing the quintessential Willie D personality. Unfortunately, the instrumental is limp and the hook is lame really weak background vocals (except the parts where he rants... those are great). A remix of this could be a lot of fun, but as it is, it's just an alright album track.

2) Pusscndclick - This one's funny and the instrumental's still pretty soft but more interesting than "If I Was White." Most of this hook works better, with a bunch of girls taunting, "pussy in my clique, pussy in my clique; I got a motherfucking pussy in my clique." And again, Willie has some really compelling rhymes in his verses (he definitely hadn't lost it as an MC). A remix would go a long way on this one, too; and for some reason he lets his crew member talk some annoying BS over a lot of the song (I almost thought they were suggesting he was the pussy of the song at first!); but it is a good song.

3) I'll Make You Famous - This one features Willie going harder, but production-wise at least, it doesn't go nearly far enough. The beat's decent just to listen along to without minding; but definitely nothing to get amped over.

Relentless exclusives:

1) Relentless - This one's harder than "I'll Make You Famous," but still could go a lot farther. The track feels low budget, and not in that pure, raw hip-hop way that's exciting. It's also his posse cut to showcase his new Relentess line-up, including Nay Nay. It has a sung chorus (presumably an R&B chick he was also managing), which would probably sound good on a lusher track.

2) Willie Dennis - The hardest one, kinda, with more of a classically gangsta rap instrumental. Willie D's rhymes about people trying to censor gangsta rap seem like they're left over from the early 90s, but not early enough that they sound like classic Geto Boys album tracks. It's okay, but feels a little phoned in.

A running theme you must've caught onto there is that the production consistently let Willie D down. That's actually a theme that runs through the whole album(s). Willie D was showing and proving as an MC, but his beats just weren't going to excite anyone outside of his diehard fanbase. It's a shame, because I think Willie could've blown up with this. A catchy single, some serious hardcore beats (Rick Rubin, come back!) and a nice push from Virgin, could've revitalized his career for another long stretch. He really had what it took, but all these instrumentals were average at best. And there's too much good music out there for heads to waste their time with average, let alone sub-par.

But if you're a big enough WIllie D fan to buy this album anyway (and why shouldn't you be? Willie D merits that kind of fan devotion), which version should you pick? Well, unfortunately, none of the exclusive songs are strong enough to make a big case for either one. I'd say Loved By Few, Hated By Many, because the best of the five ("Pusscidclick") is on that version, plus it has one extra. But if you already have one, it's really not worth tracking down the other unless you're a serious completist. Whichever version you come across first, or whichever one you see cheaper, is the one to go for here.

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