Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|5th Ward Boyz|
Genres: Pop, Rap & Hip-Hop
Listen to Samples
Thumping funk from the 5th Ward (3.5/5)
ctrx | 'bout to show you how the EAST COAST rocks... | 08/05/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If someone were to ask me, I'd probably say that 5th Ward Boyz primarily existed as a Rap-A-Lot alternative to Geto Boys. Coming from the same Houston neighborhood, the trio always exhibited a style, sound, and subject matter that was similar to their pioneering labelmates, although they never found the mainstream success they did. However, it's hard to argue with the statement of their third album, 1995's "Rated G," which is actually better than some of the Geto Boys' own LPs. E-Rock, 007, and Lo-Life aren't really distinctive in their own rights (it's hard to imagine a solo album from any of them), but as a unit they are cohesive, especially on this effort. Vocally and flow-wise, they do sound a lot like Geto Boys, and their dark and depressed lyrics on "Rated G" are top-notch. Their deep tales of the downside of street life, dark philosophies, and rough narratives are often excellent. Houston's hip hop scene was in its golden era at this point, and this is reflected in the production as well, mostly handled by the genius Rap-A-Lot in-house producer Mike Dean. His beats are heavy, deep, rich, and funky, and they are of an equal quality to the great production you'd find on a concurrent Geto Boys, Facemob, or Big Mike release. One complaint I have is that the album's running time is a bit bloated, with some songs on the second half that run too long. There are a few tracks on the second half of "Rated G" that are too long and redundant. 1995 was a great year for Rap-A-Lot, and with such albums as Bushwick Bill's Phantom of the Rapra, Mad CJ Mac's True Game, and Poppa LQ's Your Entertainment My Reality, "Rated G" never received its due attention, much like 5th Ward Boyz themselves. Nevertheless, "Rated G" is an album well worth your checking out, especially if you're a fan of the sounds of Geto Boys, Facemob, U.G.K., and the mid-90s Houston and Rap-A-Lot scene.
The album opens with the rough "Dirty," a grimy and solid opener. One of the best tracks is the excellent "Concrete Hell," one of the most effective songs of their discography. Over mournful and depressing production, 5th Ward Boyz tell a stirring prison narrative that takes the listener inside the mentality of a convict. "Situations" sadly speaks of life's struggles, another nice song. I also really like "5th Ward," an upbeat, catchy, and funky production. "The Streets" brings more thick gangsta funk, and "Your Life" is a more thoughtful but slightly monotonous effort. "Death Is Calling" is okay but too long at nearly seven minutes, and "Raisin Cain" has a cool hook and a good feel. After the alright "Busta Free" comes the soulful and twangy "One Night Stand," a nice late-album track. The last song is the slamming posse cut "Step Into My Hood," a strong finish.
"Rated G" is an underrated and severely slept-on album of the deep, dark Houston funk that made Rap-A-Lot famous in the 90s. They don't bring too much new to the table, but this album is of the quality of some of Rap-A-Lot's finest releases from this period, but never quite found the same acclaim as others. In any event, it's an album I recommend highly to listeners of that distinction."