New Orleans

A brief tribute here to New Orleans musical legacy as the city slides into the sea. I don’t mean for this to be tasteless, I was planning on posting about it for a minute so now’s as good a time as any I suppose.

The Cash Money Baller Blockin’ soundtrack is probably most well known for the “Project Bitch” single, with its bouncing horn melody and weirdo bubble-pop backdrop courtesy Mannie Fresh, obviously. I’ve never seen the movie this ‘soundtrack’ accompanied, but its got a cool variety of music in addition to the Cash Money regulars – great contributions from 8ball and MJG, UGK, Mack 10, and mediocre contributions from the Bravehearts (ugh). It’s mostly a good album, uneven but the highlights can be jaw dropping – for every dramatic-by-numbers beat Mannie throws down (the title track) he hits on some bleepy future-bounce like “Rover Truck.”

The two best tracks are pretty unstoppable. Mannie’s best work is probably on the Big Tymers’ “Let Us Stunt” which has woozy vibe instrumentation and features Mannie rapping about his brand new space shuttle. The beat has the neat effect of sounding non-generic thanks to the weird tonal smudging going on during the chorus, contributing directly to that woozy, distorted feeling, softening out the edges of the standard Mannie production.

My favorite cut though is B.G.’s “Thugged Out,” which finds Mannie dropping little double-time string plucks like some cartoon bounce imitation of Sicilian mafioso music, the N.O. version of Nas’ “The Message.” B.G.’s message isn’t lyrical the same way it is for Nas; his lyrics on this cut sound like straight ahead bragging without the musical context, just cliche’d boasts on paper or lyrics websites, but thank god rap isn’t just words on internet pages. B.G.’s ‘message’ is in the performance, surfacing through B.G.’s creaking vocals, that aged, vodka-soaked strung-out croak, full of grim certainty and confidence with self-doubt, the simultaneous desperation and ruthlessness channelled through experience and shuddering honesty, only in his late teens or early 20s when this was recorded, but he sounds much older.

I gotta get it how I live and
in these bloody streets that I live on it’s real
So I gotta play it raw, cause only the strong survive
So it’s a must I sell them first, and grab them things and ride
If I don’t, nigga gonna jump in they shit and smash out
Trynna catch me slippin’ and leave Geezy ass out
But it ain’t gone happen cause believe I know how to think
I’ma shoot a hole in yo boat first, before mine sank …

B.G. – Thugged Out

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