Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Super Bowl Meets Killer Underground Philly Rap

You've heard me sing the praises of 100X's Poison Ladd & Beats In General a couple times now.  But there's more dopeness to the crew than just those two.  Now, pretty much every release from the posse is pretty sought after, but I think this one would be a lot more sought after if heads really knew about it.

"Thug Bowl."  There's no date on the label, but we know this dropped in the late 90's on Urban Life Entertainment Music.  To describe it simply, it's a hardcore posse cut that flips The NFL's classic Super Bowl theme.  You know those "badabah, badabah, badabababahh" horns that start it off (and play on every commercial break)?  Well, they're looped over some Run DMC-style drums and bells, and  (by crew producer L.E. Square).  Rugged bass notes are repeatedly rubbed into the track and and another Super Bowl horn sample kicks in for the hook.

You've got Rob, Mal Blak, Lex Ruger and Stafa on the mic, and lyrically, they take the Super Bowl theme to the streets, too:

"The field is a block long;
And them corners is the end zone;
And the seats is the road home.

It's a six-man front,
And the only way you play
Is to give these niggas what they want!
And the ball is a brick of coke,
So don't choke;

If you fumble in the middle,
Then your body's gettin' riddled.
In this grid iron,
You're allowed to spit iron,
It's fourth and one,

Lose the ball and use a gun!"

The song has a nice free-form feel to it, with the MCs passing the mic whether or not the hook comes around.  Each MC has a distinctive voice and flow, but they all come hard and street edged enough that even though this 12" does include Clean Versions, radio DJs would cringe at the thought of playing this.

Flip it over and you've got another violent, hardcore posse cut, this time featuring Stafa, Lex and John Conner/ Stealth Music (who I've never heard of before, but hey, it's a big posse... anyway, he also produces).  This time the MCs are kicking a pretty slick stop-and-start fast rap style, like Twista or someone would spit, over a more modern sounding stutter-drum beat.  I'll be honest, I don't feel these drums nearly as much (though there's a nice congo in the mix), but the track is saved by another creative use of a TV theme song sample, this time the deep notes from the Peoples' Court theme!  In fact.... come to think of it, that congo I mentioned is lifted from the Peoples' Court, too.  I guess that was a nice little piece of music.  Well, surprisingly, it all works.

Interestingly, the label claims that the Main version of "Real Money" is a good two minutes longer than the Clean Version.  But this isn't true; both are about three and a half minutes long.

Anyway, the TV music may sound gimmicky (and it kinda was... following the fad of releases by Hi-Tek, Lord Digga, etc), but in the expert hands of 100X it all works.  These guys were some of the sickest underground Philly had to offer - recognize.

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