CD Review: UGK -- Underground Kingz
Sergio Ornelas of Beer and Rap is our man in charge of all things hard. He says the new UGK (featured this week in the New York Times, goddam!), "is really fucking solid" but "not without some flat points; the worst being "Stop-N-Go", which features Jazze Pha. I don’t know how the fuck this dude manages to still have a career with his sorry ass beats." Read on for more wisdom from B&R.
Yesterday the latest UGK album dropped after multiple failed release dates, court appearances and record label bullshit. UGK has been a force in the game since '88 and they have yet to fall off. Even though it’s been six years since the last album, Pimp C and Bun B have remained extremely relevant in this thing we call the rap. While others have been slippin Bun B keeps showing rappers up on their own songs and still got paid while Pimp C pisses off entire cities with his gentle words.
After being delayed for so long they have decided to release a two-disc album featuring a bonus DVD. Usually these attempts turn out to be suspect as hell, relying heavily on half-ass filler, please see Wu Tang Forever for an obvious example, but Pimp C has definitely had a lot of control over this album which is understandable considering the cut and paste job that was Sweet Jones. The album has benefited from having a more cohesive sound, especially compared to other major albums that just sound like flipping though a rolodex of generic producers that labels think are hot. Pimp is also the focus of the album, and rightfully so since the man has been shut out of the game for four years. Not to say that Bun is disappointing but Pimp C shines a lot harder on this album. With 26 total tracks, they managed to split the album fairly evenly between guest features and strictly UGK songs.
While the album is really fucking solid, it is not without some flat points -- the worst being "Stop-N-Go", which features Jazze Pha. I don’t know how the fuck this dude manages to still have a career with his sorry ass beats. Fuck, they even let him get on a track as if the abuse from his horrible adlibs wasn’t enough. At least Pimp co-produced Gravy so that helped ease the pain. And I will begrudgingly admit that I don’t mind "Tell You How I Feel" once I get past the adlibs (I almost want to slap myself for admitting this).
The hardest track on the album is absolutely "Take the Hood Back", the drums stomp like a motherfucker as Bun addresses shitty drug dealers about how they suck at selling drugs with the aid of Slim Thug, Vicious and the Mddl Fngz. "Grind Harder" is another banger full of dro laced bravado, with a hook that makes you want to yell in the face of a lame, well at least I do. Now some dumbasses might dismiss this album as just being about dope dealing, guns and pimping. If that’s your assumption then you shouldn’t even be listening to this music in the first fucking place. Songs like "How Long Can It Last", "Heaven", "Shattered Dreams", "Real Women", and "Living This Life" show that UGK acknowledge their own contradictions and, unlike some rappers who just want the image, Pimp and Bun are willing to admit that there are better things than what they brag about. While they may not apologize for anything they say, they understand their own faults and, with a confidence that comes with time, they don’t give a fuck about any of those faults.