Saturday, January 30, 2010

Singles: "Something Good" (VLS)

UGK - "Something Good (Extended Mix)" | zShare
UGK - "Something Good (Pimp C's Remix)" | zShare
from Something Good 12" single (Jive/Bigtyme, 1992)

"Something Good" was released in 1992, the first single1 from UGK's (credited here as the "UGK'z") debut album Too Hard to Swallow. This particular single is only available on 12" vinyl, though there are CD versions floating around, albeit promo copies with different tracklists and some different mixes. But I have no idea how available those are, or if rips of them even exist.

Pimp C's remix is probably the highlight of the single. It changes up the beat a bit by adding a much funkier guitar lick and includes different lyrics for Bun's second verse at the end. Another good thing about this single is that it features the instrumental for the extended mix. Instrumentals for UGK tracks are few and far between, so when one is available, it's always appreciated. It's a shame that there isn't an official instrumental for Pimp's remix floating around; his version definitely blows the Bernie Bismark produced album version out of the water.

The single includes Pimp's remix, the extended mix, radio edit, and instrumental.

1 Bigtyme did put out a 12" single in 1989 of "Tell Me Something Good" with "Short Texas" as a b-side. There's nothing too spectacular about it though, as it just has the street and radio versions of each track, without any special mixes or non-album leftovers.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Rarities: Live From the Harris County Jail

Pimp C - "Sixteen Five" | zShare
Pimp C f/ Pimpin' Ken - "Get My $ Bitch" | zShare
Pimp C f/ Webbie Cory Mo - "Very Thin Line" | zShare
from Live From the Harris County Jail (Self-released, 2004)

Live From the Harris County Jail was Pimp C's first full album of solo material, which he recorded before beginning his jail sentence for parole violation in 2002. It was released independently through Pimp C Family Entertainment in 2004, under Pimp's "Sweet James Jones" moniker.

The best thing about this album is that it isn't your typical incarcerated rapper album: none of the tracks are "live" or recorded over the phone. Of course, there are some gaps here and there, such as missing guest verses and some of the tracks don't sound finished. I suppose this makes sense; I'm sure Pimp wasn't able to put the finishing touches on the record due to his then upcoming bid.

If you've heard the 2005 Rap-A-Lot release The Sweet James Jones Stories, you will probably recognize quite a few of these tracks. That's because Rap-A-Lot basically took the majority of the tracks from Live From the Harris County Jail and either re-worked their production with beats courtesy of Mike Dean, Cory Mo, and Dani Kartel; added in guest verses from other Rap-A-Lot affiliated artists like Trae and Z-Ro; or made changes to their titles, such as "Sixteen Five" becoming "Swang Down/10 a Key" for whatever reason.

None of that is a particularly bad thing per se, as the Rap-A-Lot "version" definitely has a more finished and polished feel when it's compared to the original. But I guess I just appreciate the raw feel that Live From the Harris County Jail has, and of course, there is fact that it's basically Pimp C rapping over his own beats for 54+ minutes. You can't go wrong with that.

1.) "Comin' Up"
2.) "Got a Thang"
3.) "Sixteen Five"
4.) "Hustler"
5.) "So Excited"
6.) "Sweet James"
7.) "Get My $ Bitch" f/ Pimpin' Ken (uncredited)
8.) "I Want a Prostitute"
9.) "Very Thin Line" f/ Webbie Cory Mo (uncredited)
10.) "U Belong to Me"
11.) "Pimpin' Ain't Dead"
12.) "Rude Boy Gangsta"
13.) "Where the Dollas At (In My Pocket, You Bitch)" f/ Lil' Boosie (uncredited)
14.) "My Angel (Tribute to Momma)"

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Unreleased: 4 Life O.G.s

UGK - "She Luv It (O.G. Version)" | zShare
UGK f/ Raheem DeVaughn - "Still on Tha Grind (O.G. Version)" | zShare
technically from 4 Life, otherwise unreleased (RCA/Jive, 2009)

I tend to shy away from posting newer UGK material, as I prefer to focus on the older, more obscure stuff. But since these original versions of two joints from 4 Life have been making the rounds recently, I figured I might as well post them; after all, I've already posted the original track that was used to make the album's two interludes.

Both tracks have quite the different sound from their album versions, which mostly come down to sample differences—which is a recurring theme with the release of most of UGK's music, unfortunately. The effect of changing a song's sample is especially evident with "She Luv It"; the album incarnation just doesn't have the same punch when compared to the original.

Props again to BLVD ST. for posting these tracks.

[UPDATE: Added a higher quality (320 kBit/s) version of "Still on Tha Grind."]

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Mixtapes: Chapter 182: Ridin' Dirty

Bun B - Freestyle over "Wanna B Free" by Lords of Lyrics | zShare
Pimp C - Freestyle over "Juicy" by The Notorious B.I.G. | zshare
from Chapter 182: Ridin' Dirty1 (No label, 1996)

Now, here's something a little bit different. Chapter 182: Ridin' Dirty was a Screw tape that UGK did back in 1996, as a way to promote their studio record of the same name. I won't really go into what a Screw tape is, or who DJ Screw is; I'm assuming since you're reading this blog, you should have some idea. If not, read up.

The tape is a bit unique, not only because it's a UGK Screw tape, but because it consists mainly of either UGK, Pimp C, or Bun B freestyles, which are kind of a rarity—at least during that time period. Not only that, but this tape is probably one of the only places where you'll hear Pimp rapping over the "Juicy" beat. It's a worthy listen all around.

I should mention that the .zip I've uploaded only includes "Side A" of the tape. "Side B" doesn't have any UGK-related freestyles, so I've left that out. If you'd like to hear the whole thing, check it out here.

[UPDATE: As the homie Methlab points out, Houston rapper and Screwed Up Click member Grace is featured pretty heavily on this particular tape, along side Pimp and Bun. His presence on the tape was apparently at the behest of the Pimp himself, who was quite impressed with his rapping after hearing him on other Screw tapes.

As far as I can tell, he only has one album to his name (From Crumbs to Bricks) but he's shown up on a quite a few Houston/Screw related compilations and mixtapes. He's currently locked up, so I'm not sure if he's released anything recently.]

1 This particular version of the tape is part of the Diary of the Originator series, which basically collects DJ Screw's massive catalog of tapes and mixes, excluding any of his "official" releases, such as the albums he put out through Bigtyme Recordz.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Guest Spots: Bigtyme Leftovers

Happy New Year everyone. I'm sorry about the lack of posts, but I've been without a computer for the better part of two weeks or so. Everything's sorted now, so posts should be coming on a more consistent basis again.

Point Blank f/ UGK - "Cut U 'N 1/2" | zShare
from Prone to Bad Dreams (Bigtyme, 1992)

"Cut U 'N 1/2" was originally part of a demo version of Too Hard to Swallow, as this preliminary tracklist indicates (props to B B S). However, it appears in that tracklist as "Cut Cha' in Half" and there are no indications of any guests being on it. Since it was never used for their record, I assume that UGK decided to give it to Point Blank of the Wreckless Klan instead.

The track is full of your typical sexual braggadocio (of which Pimp C was the undisputed master), but the interesting part is the beat itself: it doesn't sound like what you'd expect from a Pimp C production. It sounds much more old school and even has a bit of an East Coast flavor to it.

[UPDATE: As a strange side note, Point Blank took offense at UGK for trying to get out of their contract with Bigtyme Recordz and for ultimately leaving the label. Blank ended up dissing them for these perceived slights on the track "Forgive But I Don't Forget" from his 1994 album Mad at the World. According to what I've read, "Three Sixteens" from Super Tight... was UGK's (only?) on-record response. I guess time heals all wounds though, because Bun shows up for a verse on "Mr. Playa" from Blank's 1999 album Bad Newz Travels Fast.]

PSK-13 f/ UGK - "Like Yesterday" | zShare
PSK-13 f/ UGK - "Like Yesterday (Mercy Mix)" | zShare
from Born Bad? (Bigtyme/Priority, 1997)

By the time PSK-13 (another Wreckless Klan member) put out his second album Born Bad? in 1997, UGK had left Bigtyme a looong time ago. I've always thought that "Like Yesterday" is kind of like a sequel of sorts to "One Day," with its soulful beat and the introspective lyrics. Unlike the previous track, you can tell right away that this one was a Pimp C production, just from that distorted guitar bit in the beginning.

"Like Yesterday" is one of those rare tracks that has an alternate mix readily available. In this case, it's a "Mercy Mix," done by some group called Southern Fried Entertainment. Luckily, it's tacked on to the end of Born Bad? as a bonus cut, rather than being the b-side to an obscure 12" single. I kind of prefer the original, but both versions are definitely worth a listen or two.