RAVEN MACK is a mystic poet-philosopher-artist of the Greater Appalachian unorthodox tradition who publishes zines & physical books & electronic books & music & photography & digital art & just generally whatever feels necessary to survive this deluded earth thru Rojonekku Word Fighting Arts survival systems (Version 69, establish 14 Feb 1973). Comments encouraged.

Wednesday, August 31

J.J. Krupert Top 13 Countdown - July '11 #13: "World of Mine (screwed & chopped)" by Big Mike


Some rappers just sound better screwed and chopped. Fat Pat for example. Big Mike is another example as well. Even though he was the replacement for Willie D in The Geto Boys back in the day, he's sort of obscure outside of the south. Down south though, he's known to have a fairly decent cavalcade of player anthems from his solo catalog. Rap-A-Lot Records was always the best for releasing like 9 albums a month, so every member of every group had a solo project and side project and Scarface would appear on everything at least once, and it was all so low budget with pre-pen-and-pixel era covers that looked like somebody used a caveman photoshop program on a Commodore 64 at Kinko's the night before the album was gonna get pressed. And yet it was beautifully perfect, and if I were to pick my favorite all-time rap specific record label, it'd probably be Rap-A-Lot. So many classics in their history, and a funk sound that few movements have ever come close to recreating. The in-house production team for Rap-A-Lot is seriously underrated in this world that rates everything blogospherically.
It really is perfect, and more than coincidence that such a soulfully funky and weird DIY record label would be the elder figures in a city where a guy like DJ Screw would grass roots grow his own legend. Rap-A-Lot made it seem like anybody could do it, and do it well, and gain national respect, so why shouldn't Screw have people lining up around the block to buy his mixtapes every Wednesday afternoon? Why wouldn't screwed music take over the world? Why motherfucker? I'm asking you a question.
And while screwed music has gained notoriety over the years since Screw's death, actual Screw tapes are not quite so well-known. My ol' lady, for my birthday one year, bought me some actual Screw tapes from the Screw shop, and they sent them and there was a poorly written handwritten note about how they were out of one of the tapes but sent a different one because it had an awesome Fat Pat freestyle I ain't ever heard. They were right too, about it being awesome and about me not having ever heard it.
Beyond that, I've internet accumulated quite a large amount of Screw tapes, all the regular ones you see hyped, as well as others that show up on this or that southern blogspot bootleg spots full of tags for 7000 rappers I've never heard of before. This track comes off the Screw tape entitled Syrup & Soda, which along with the standard pick of June 27th, comprises my list of "Best Two Screw Tapes to Acquire". In fact, this is the third track off of Syrup & Soda to make a monthly J.J. Krupert list, and it's a mix where you can tell Screw was in the zone. The cuts break naturally just like you feel they should, the chops match what your innards want them to do, it's just right. I remember one time being high with a friend watching The Allman Brothers play, and we got in some long ass Jack Kerouac/Gary Snyder in Dharma Bums ridiculous conversation about how amazing Dickey Betts was, plucking the same note over and over but it made sense and he knew exactly when to stop and move on to something else. That's how this Screw tape flows, and how this Big Mike song flows, which is standard player talk, but also some serious testifying about the various good and bad people swirling around us all, as well as the good and bad swirling within us. It's a constant battle, for ourselves and against ourselves, and just as Screw is dialed in on this mixtape, Big Mike was dialed into those absolute truths of life when he wrote this song, and was in that zone when he recorded, every perfect slur made even more perfect by the warbled effects of Screw's two turntables. It is street testifying pitch shifted for the proper punctuation and delivery to permeate your insides with that simple and pure truths, about the nature of men, about life itself, about chasing material objects and what's truly important. It's a player song, so it makes no judgments nor preaches to you about how to live; it just lays it all out and says that's how it is, and yeah, that is how it is. No doubt. Sometimes we don't need to be told what's wrong or right; we just need to know we're not the only motherfucker on this crooked ass planet thinking about it.
STEAL "World of Mine"
NEXT
: A song of mine's!

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