Sunday, November 22, 2009

Guest Spots: "Free"

Lil' Sin f/ UGK - "Free"
from Who Got Yo Back (BLVD, 1998)

Lil' Sin f/ Mr. Joshay, UGK - "I Wanna Be Free"
from Greatest Flames (S.U.C., 2006)

This is another semi-obscure joint that's shown up in a few different places. I think most people know this one from it showing up on a lot of the Dirty Money bootlegs that were circulating around the Internet around 1999 to 2001.

"Free" first appeared as the fourth track on Lil' Sin's sophomore album Who Got Yo Back in 1998. The production on the track is much more laid-back than its later remix, and has less of a sing-song chorus. This version of "Free" was also on a compilation album called Drank Sippas: Let's Po' a Fo', which was put out at the start of 2000. A screwed version of that comp is available, but it's just as out-of-print as the O.G. version.

In mid-2000, the track was remixed and given a new title: "I Wanna Be Free." This remixed version appeared on both of the albums that Sin put out that year: My Secret and Livin'-N-Sin (which, confusingly, called the remix by the O.G.'s title). The album that Sin put out in 2006, Greatest Flames, also does this same title switch for some reason. The remix features a different beat, which also makes it much more urgent sounding than the original. The chorus is also slightly different, which is now being sung by Mr. Joshay, a dude who did some guest vocals on a few other tracks on Sin's albums.

As I mentioned earlier, this track showed up on many of the Dirty Money bootlegs that hit the Internet in the early '00s. It makes sense, since I think this was one of the stronger UGK-related tracks to come out during that long drought between studio records. Oddly, the version of "Free" that shows up on the bootlegs is the older '98 version, rather than the newer remix.

Both versions of "Free" are produced by Pimp C, naturally. Oh, and just for reference: there is a 12" single of the '98 version available (though actually finding it is probably another matter entirely), in case you want the track's instrumental and accapella.

[UPDATE: I just remembered that the "Free" accapella is blended with Scarface's "Homies & Thugs" instrumental on the Trill Azz Mixez mixtape that DJ C-Wiz put out. Here's a link, in case anyone is interested in hearing it. I'll probably post that whole tape eventually; there's a lot of good stuff on there.]

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