Shouts to Philaflava for putting me onto this video of post-prison sentence Mystikal spitting a freestyle while Mannie Fresh fucks around with an MPC. Although his crime makes it difficult for me to consider him anything other than a reprehensible person at some level, he’s also an indisputably significant rapper; there are times when I think his verse on “Neck Uv Da Woods” is the peak of recorded music. His innovation — recognizing that you can entirely disregard the rhythm for extended amounts of time as long as you land on the ‘one’ at the right time, without drawing particular attention to it — made him one of the most exciting rappers, and it’s incredible to hear him just spitting with that style again.
I recently caught an old interview with KLC, where he talks about waiting for Mystikal to return before getting back into music. I know KLC was an incredible talent-magnet in the mid-1990s, but it’s clear his issues with the business-end of music are a recurrent factor in his lack of a national profile, relative to comparable talents like Mannie. Although he was the talent scout & producer behind No Limit’s musical success back in the day, it’s hard to imagine Parkway Pumpin’ would have had quite as much success on its own without Master P moving from California & pushing things out on the business end. To this day, KLC has been releasing material and uploading it to datpiff only to have it ignored by almost every single channel that would otherwise care about it. So, since we’re celebrating the official, CDQ release of Young Bleed’s new material, I thought I’d help cross another life-goal off of themartorialist’s wishlist by discovering a NODJ not-ripped-from-youtube version of longtime KLC stan favorite “Play It Loud.”
That’s right, it’s been available for awhile on Groundhog Day, a KLC/Calicoe mixtape that’s been sitting on Datpiff since June of last year and somehow has an inexplicable 148 streams and 85 downloads. I’m pretty sure I could release a rap mixtape over lil lody beats & get more downloads than that. KLC must have the worst marketing sense of any major figure — one of the key producers in rap history & a classic tape can’t get more than 85 downloads?? He needs to call that shit #occupyballstreet before 60 other rappers come out with a similar title. It would be a lot better title than the one he chose for his equally great tape from this year, Grand Theft Audio (up since March, 172 downloads, despite including appearances from Mystikal, Fiend, Mia X, Serv-On, etc).
Grand Theft Audio might not have anything that is the equal of Full Blooded & HOUND’s “What It Be Like” but it does have some joints that come close, particularly “I ‘on’t hide” with a classic No Limit lineup in peak form and a beat full of twinkling pianos & that singularly taught N.O. bounce that only KLC can make work. It also has an amazing float-y R&B stripper anthem called “Talk 2 Me,” video is borderline NSFW:
Let’s talk Calicoe for a moment; he’s no Fiend, he’s no Mystikal, he’s no Mia X, but he does bring some nice lyrics at certain points (as on “Hit Me” off the Groundhog Day tape), a more restrained style than a lot of the other artists KLC works with. Calicoe also released a solo record this year — although it’s not as good as Groundhog Day, it has its moments. You can find it on Amazon, which was pretty much the only spot I could find it. It’s not even getting bootlegged! An album full of KLC production. It’s not like I want KLC to roll with the tank again — there’s a reason all of those first-wave No Limit artists left the label — but I genuinly hope he realizes that there’s a nice middle ground where folks will actually check for your music if they know it exists.