UGK - Underground Kingz

Posted 8 years ago
Tags: UGK,

In the beginning DJ Screw created the chop and the screw. Hip-hop was barren of Texas MCs, the...

Underground Kingz Album Review

In the beginning DJ Screw created the chop and the screw. Hip-hop was barren of Texas MCs, the Lonestar State received no airplay and was covered in silence. But the spirit of the South was moving over the darkness. Houston said, “I command the beats to ride!” and reflected rays of light off their candy painted cars, blinding the haters. Pimp C, one of the most chosen prophets, was imprisoned but upon his release he did go into the desert with another disciple, Bun B. In the year 2007 the two did emerge holding two albums so the people could know the ways of wood grippin. And it was good.

Is changing the words of the Bible a sin? I’m probably going to hell anyway so you know what, the intro stays. It was worth it, I’m inspired. Southern legends Pimp C and Bun B, collectively known as UGK, have weathered Pimp C’s imprisonment on gun charges and emerged even stronger. The release of Underground Kingz , a 29 track odyssey, has the length and quality to be considered the definitive Texas hip-hop bible. Let the heresy continue.

Commandment I – Thou Shall Rep the South

The South isn’t a single entity (witness Pimp C’s recent apology/tirade but Southern hip-hop is dominating the game and UGK’s been there from the beginning. The first single off Underground Kingz isn’t just a Southern anthem, it’s an Int’l Players Anthem. Three 6 Mafia’s Juicy J and DJ Paul construct another Grammy-worthy beat that incredibly blends a riding beat with classic soul vocals courtesy of Willie Hutch. Andre 3000 starts the celebration off with a poetic verse and Big Boi rounds out the Outkast with his abstract hustle rhyme style. UGK completes the Southern trifecta nicely, with Bun B stepping up with a particularly dope verse. The word classic is often used too loosely, I agree. This is a classic track. Quit Hating The South takes a more confrontational approach. Pimp C produced about half the album, instilling every track with a distinctly laid back and guitar heavy vibe. Quit Hatin rolls with a mellow ruggedness and features gospel-soul vocals about “p***y, cocaine, syrup, and pounds of weed.” What more could you want?

Commandment II – Thou Shall Get Money

When you’re blasting music out the trunk of your car the beat has to be slow, the bass heavy and the lyrics clean. The track The Game Belongs to Me swaggers with a vicious style. Unlike rappers who sound the same on every track (hint, Ballin!) Pimp C and Bun B understand how to lyrically ride the beat, plus any song that uses Bobby and Whitney as drug euphemisms is good by me. The Jazze Pha produced Stop-N-Go is flat-out tight, by combining a sweet harmony with military styles drums he epitomizes UGK’s fashionable violence. I could do without the, “ladies and gentlemen!” interjections, but the track is so enjoyable I almost don’t care.

Commandment III – Bring The Game National

Despite UGK’s regional pride they can reach across the nation, and in Dizzee Rascal’s case across the ocean. Life Is 2009 is essentially a remix of Too Short’s Life Is…Too Short, and they bring on Oakland legend for a west coast funk feel. On the opposite coast Marley Marl, the inventor of hardcore beats, put together the slowly pacing Next Up. UGK adopts an east coast style while holding onto their identity with Big Daddy Kane and Kool G Rap put in guest verses. The lyrical weight on the track is staggering. It might seem odd to find conscious rap leader Talib Kweli amidst so much pimpin', but the track Real Women is a thoughtful ode to women that shows UGK aren’t gangster caricatures, they’re real people, and real people are complicated. UGK doesn’t rely on others to carry their tracks; Fabolous has more features on his album than Underground Kingz has on two. Sorry Loso, but it’s true.

Ten commandments are a lot, three’s much more manageable. In an age of disposable albums UGK has created a monument, Underground Kingz is built to stand the test of time. Bun B may have the tighter flow, but Pimp C apparently spent his incarceration reading (listen to the outstanding Living This Life) and together they’re a force of nearly biblical proportions. By the seventh day UGK has completed their work and so they rested. Amen.

DJBooth Rating - 4.5 Spins

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Posted 8 years ago

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