Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Great Peso Is Back

Maybe you remember a couple years ago, I talked about a new record by an old school guy named Chain 3, which featured The Great Peso of The Fearless Four. Now, Peso had done a couple things since those disco-era Fearless Four records... he had that single with Mr. Nasty and a couple 12"s on Tuff City. But that stuff petered out by the late 80s. And he did come back for the Fearless reunion album in 1994 [note to self: blog about that one of these days, too], but it's basically been an awfully long time since we'd heard from the man musically. But thanks to a reader named Matt, I've just found out he's actually been pretty active on that front.

This is a self-titled album by Peso simply going under the initials TGP. There's no date on it, but I'm guessing just from the sound it might be a couple years old, and it's on a label called Lake City Records. There are no guests and it's entirely produced by TGP and Karon S. Graham, who I think has done some of Mobb Deep's recent songs.

And there's no doubt this TGP is the same guy, by the way; he has his real name in the writing credits and even refers to himself as The Great Peso on one or two songs. He's now coming out of the Lake Champlain area of New York, I gather, because one of his songs is "Lake Champlain Anthem." It's an interesting little album. Or, perhaps it would be more accurate to say, the interesting thing about the album is that it's uninteresting. If you didn't know TGP stood for The Great Peso, you'd probably write this album off as completely generic.

It's not terrible, Peso still sounds good on the mic, and there are a couple of attempts to add a little something extra to the production to be more creative. But with titles like "Hot Girl," "I Like the Way U Dance" and "It's Alright," everything just sort of feels like an attempt not to draw any attention to itself. Perhaps that explains the TGP thing, too; like he's flying under Hip-Hop's radar. I mean, I can't imagine why he or anyone would want to do that when releasing music, but nothing here stands out. At least it doesn't stand out as bad either; but it's probably mostly a case of the production really not suiting the MC. I'd really only recommend this for serious old school fans who feel they have to hear it when someone like Peso comes back with a new album. You know, like me.

Perhaps a little more interesting to a broader audience is his even newer, 2015 music. He's linked up with a local, up and coming hip-hop collective called The Plattsburgh Home Team. They've just released a new CD called the Summer Sampler 2015, which predictably features all their members on solo tracks and collaborative cuts. A couple of their songs are interesting... Two MCs named Zyon Soulsmyth and Phonix Dark have a cool, atmospheric KA-like joint, and there's a 21 MC posse cut where they loop up the soundtrack to Dario Argento's Deep Red.

But yeah, The Great Peso has a song on here called "My Universe." It's got a fun chipmunk soul loop, and admittedly half of the appeal is just hearing an old school legend back on the mic doing contemporary music; but it's pretty cool. And he turns up again towards the end of the album on "Weekend Cypher," which isn't really a proper song so much as a bunch of Home Team members live. It's a high energy performance, and Peso comes in with a great old school freestyle at the end that's the highlight of the whole CD.

You can cop the Sampler CD for just $5 here, or just casually listen to the tracks 'cause it's a bandcamp. I don't know where you could find the full TGP album without getting hooked up by someone who's met him personally. But now ya know it's out there, so if you're that hardcore Fearless Four fan, put it on your want list and happy huntin'.

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