Friday, September 12, 2014

AMG's Bitchin' Trilogy

A couple years ago, I did a post about AMG's obscure, 12"-only prequel to "Once a Dog (Janine 2)" from his debut album. But that 12" alsow wound up being the beginning of a trilogy of records AMG would take the next twelve years to create. Twelve years is the exact same length of time JRR Tolkien took to write the Lord Of the Rings trilogy., so maybe that gives you some idea of what to expect. Or maybe it doesn't. I'm talking about "Bitch Betta Have My Money" and it's lesser known sequels.

"Bitch Betta Have My Money" was AMG's first single, released on Select Records in 1991. I explained in my previously mentioned post about the two versions of that 12" already, and obviously explored the B-sides for the preferable version; but now it's time to talk about the song itself. This would obviously be an important song for AMG, as we'll explore, but among other things, it wound up being the title for his debut album. The title line and hook comes from Ant Live's closing line to Big Daddy Kane's "Pimpin' Ain't Easy" with Nice N Smooth and Scoob & Scrap Lover.

And it's based on a surprisingly overbearing heavy metal guitar sample for an underground west coast hit from the DJ Quik camp. It's produced by AMG himself, though Quik gets a second co-production credit, along with Tracy Kendrick and Courtney Branch, so it's hard to say exactly who's responsible for what. On the one hand, you want to say Quik's the "real" producer, so he probably did all the heavy musical lifting. But then again, it sounds nothing like the rest of Quik's body of work. And on the album itself, Quik's co-production isn't even mentioned (though Kendrick's and Branch's still are), so I'm tempted to say AMG did the just about everything creative on this one, and the other guys just helped on technical and business ends. But that's just a guess.

Anyway, "Bitch Betta Have My Money" is one of the most successful rap songs to feature guitars at appealing to us "I'm not a rock & roll fan; please stop adding all this cross over guitar playing to everything" types. Or, to put it another way, it's one of the least garage band sounding rap songs to be dominated by guitar riffs AMG's high pitched but crisp delivery .is perfectly suited for the too-young-to-be-listening-to-this crowd, with his unlikely boasts about being a teenage pimp and long list of almost non-sequitor sexual claims. On the one hand, it's the perfectly cliche "this is what America's youth are listening to" song for the daytime talk shows of its day... but it's also good/ There's just a higher level of quality in everything Quik and his camp was releasing; and even if Quik didn't actually make any of the music here, the standards and quality control must've rubbed off here.

So almost ten years later, long after AMG was dropped from Select Records (the fact that he beefed with Quik and made an entire album without those cats really hurt him), it's no surprise AMG was looking backwards. Reunited with Quik and now on his own label, 304 Entertainment, AMG gave his album a throwback title to hopefully reclaim lost fans: Bitch Betta Have My Money 2001. And yes there was a title track to go with it, and yes it was on the debut 12" single: "Perfection" b/w "Bitch 2001."

Naturally, AMG has had a number of songs with the word "bitch" in the title (he's just that kind of artist), including "Mai Sista Izza Bitch," "Be Mai Bitch" and "Trust No Bitch;" but there's no doubt that this is a direct sequel to "Bitch Betta Have My Money." Besides the fact that the album title spells it out pretty explicitly, AMG's very first words on the track are the softly stated "part two," before he starts rapping. And the definitive Ant Live quote is back on the chorus. I think the title is just shortened here because people at the label were sick of typing it out.

Now, the A-side is produced by DJ Quik, but unfortunately, "Bitch 2001" isn't by Quik or AMG, but by somebody named The Noma. The track's not bad, it is kinda funky, but it really feels like the bland kind of instrumental a lot of west coast acts had once they signed to major labels and lost their underground sound. AMG's delivery is sort of an intentional match for the original, but he clearly has to tailor it somewhat to fit this new track, which has a fairly different vibe to the original, but I do like how they bring in the vocal sample of The O'Jay's "For the Love of Money" and merge it with Ant Live for the hook. It's honestly not bad, but AMG seems more off the track lyrically, filling the song out with junk like instructions for the listener to, "hit the website for merchandising." It's no longer about being a teenage (or older) pimp and more just a state of the union address about his rap career.

Despite the title, that record came out in 2000, but before we get to the final entry in the trilogy, we have to make a quick stop at this 2001 release from Germany. If "Bitch Betta Have My Money" was The Fellowship Of the Ring and "Bitch 2001" was The Two Towers, this would've been The Silmarillion. ZYX Records had a big run of remix singles of American rap hits in the 90s, and AMG's "Bitch Betta Have My Money" was no exception. There are five mixes on here, but that includes the original version and the "Bitchstrumental" from the original 12", plus a Radio Cut and X-tended Mix of the same basic remix. So basically there's just the one new remix. called the Jiggy Pascha Remix.

You can see on the cover [I'm showing the CD cover because it's pretty novel, but there is a plain sleeve vinyl version as well] that production credit is given to DJ Quick [sic.], but checking the fine print reveals that this new mix is actually created by Isy B and DJ Lil' Tommy. I don't know anything about either of them, really, except that they've done a lot of production and remix projects like this, often for ZYX; and frankly, that may be all there is to know about them anyway. It throws in the Busta Rhymes "Wild for the Night" vocal sample that every DJ on the planet was guilty of over-using in those days, and lays a bassline over the original guitars, which kind of conflicts. It sounds like these guys were unable to get an Acapella version for their remix and just had to do the best they could by adding sounds on top of the completed record. It's okay, and would be impressive if a DJ just did it as a live mix right in front of you at the club. But there's really no reason to buy this record. Actually, the most original and creative thing about this single is the fact that it opens with a skit, spoken in German, where I think a guy is supposed to be talking to a woman giving him head. ...I have to admit I am pretty curious what's being said there.

So now, okay, you might be saying: Werner, I knew all about "Bitch 2001," but what is this third part you're supposedly building up to? Everyone knows "Bitch Betta Have My Money" and at least AMG fans who've bothered to keep up with him know about the sequel, but our Return Of the King is pretty obscure. But it exists, and it's even on vinyl.

See, in 2002, AMG put out a pretty obscure, CD-only greatest hits compilation called Greatest Humps, Vol 1. AMG had just about enough songs to fill out on greatest hits album, by the way; and the idea of stringing it out over more than that was a mistake, and there never was a Vol. 2. But in order to get fans to buy an album of songs they would've already owned, he of course made a little new material to stick on there with his biggest hits, and one of those songs, "No," was given a 12" single release in 2003. And the B-side to that? "Bitch Give Me Back My Money."

I hadn't bothered with the Humps collection, but I was happy to throw down for the 12" when I saw it. The new song and the exclusive new B-side. But prepare to be disappointed. Because ""No" is a new song and it's alright. It's got a heavy guitar loop very reminiscent of "Bitch," actually, and AMG's still flipping that same style. But it's definitely not as good. Still, it was alright and at least lived up to my low expectations for a new AMG song in 2003.

No, it's "Bitch Give Me Back My Money" that's the real disappointment. It starts off with a useless skit with AMG talking to a girl who wants money from him, and I'll just leave you to guess what he tells her to do. Then the song starts and it's... the same instrumental and all the same vocals as the original "Bitch Betta Have My Money." He didn't even re-perform them, it's the same vocal track. The song has just been lightly remixed. There's some extra cutting, which is admittedly rather good, actually. But it's not a new song; the new title never enters into it. Some DJ (there's no credits on the record) has just taken the original song and played with it on his turntable. Oh and they actually cut in the skit, "When She Calls" from the Bitch Betta Have My Money album into the song. On the positive side, it's really well done and would've made a sweet B-side to the original 12" in 1991. It's just not what we've been lead to believe. The new title is a lie.

The true title is "Bitch Betta Have My Money (Ghetto Life Remix)," which is taken directly from Greatest Humps. There are a couple new remixes of his early songs on there ("Jiggable Pie (Nu Pie Mix)" and "Vertical Joyride (Nu Ride Mix)" are handled the same way), I suspect because he had rights issues licensing the songs from Select Records and had to make new versions to include them without paying a lot for them. Or maybe he just fucked with them because he wanted to make the album more compelling to his fans who probably had all those songs already. In either case, it was a big let down when I first laid this down on my turntables only to hear the same old song. But, then again, a 2003 sequel probably would've been a wacker disappointment anyway, and this new mix, taken on its own terms of being strictly a slightly cut up remix, is actually dope and something I'd recommend. Would I have actually wound up with something I could recommend if there was a "Bitch Give Me Back My Money?"  I doubt it.


  1. Hi Werner, if you have any "German" questions I'm here ;-)

    The 3 persons are speaking german, but they all got a migration backround and do several grammar mistakes. I will translate this mistakes in englisch too.

    The dialog goes:
    How about it sweetie?
    He 1:
    Looks good. How much you take?
    Just intercourse 50, with french blowjob 70 and you touching me is 100 sweetie.
    He 1:
    What you want for both of us?
    He 2:
    Yeah for both of us?
    For both of you I'll do special - 200.
    Both Scream:

    A lot of Germans think "Bitch" got the same meaning as "Hooker", but there are several German meanings that are not as harmful than the word "Hooker".

    Isy B is a 38 year old German producer with an Persian background. He was an A&R for ZYX Music in the "Black music" department. He is still producing to this day. There are some German Top 10 rappers hiring him.

    Besides that he got a agency that does several services regarding events. DJ Lil Tommy was a friend. There is no knowledge about what he is doing today.

    I found a very low MP3 of this remix with intro. I would love to have this intro.

    1. Ha! Thanks for that. Kinda fits with the rest of the single. lol

  2. Hey,

    I just noticed you said "The Norma" produced "Bitch 2001". I'm assuming that's the same person as "The Noma" credited on 2nd II None's Classic 220 album for producing "Stragglaz"? (together with Total Trak Productions a/k/a Tracy Kendrick & Courtney Branch)

    1. Oh yeah; you must be right. Especially since me putting an "r" in Noma was a typo, which I just fixed. ;)