Westside Connection - Terrorist Threats - Rescuing the Rap revolution

2006-03-29 18:44

Gee, is rap music really in danger of being subsumed by the evils of commercialism? Well, these O.G's definitely think so. Their jugular attack kicks off with a diatribe exploring the dangers of selling out to post-9-11 paranoia ("Call 9-1-1") with Cube and his crew's lyrical rhymes revealing a dedication to the utopian "gangsta" past ("Potential Victims") that earned rap its reputation in the first place.

On the ironic soul ballad "So Many Rappers in Love" the posse rage against radio-friendly "rappers waving white flags", refusing point blank to "turn R.A.P. into R&B" and calling on fake ass thugz (curiously no names are mentioned here) to drop the golf clubs, drugs and bling bling posturing. It's a target explored in the Dre flavoured "Gangsta Nation" (featuring Nate Dogg) where each emcee riffs out against everyone from label-kissing rappers ("I don't holler at these whores who sing like Ashanti, body like Beyonce") to booty shaking money makers ("Get Ignit"). Few punches are ever pulled, with record companies "f***ing families out of royalties" and "back pack rappers" being lyrically lynched on the irony-skewered "Superstar".

But just in case you were wondering what the hell a Hollywood player like Cube was doing taking pot shots at the celebrity lifestyle then the funk fuelled "Pimp the System" (featuring Butch Cassidy) reveals the method in his own tinseltown excursions. You see it's all about rediscovering rap as a weapon to rally against "nigga pimping CEOs", not merely succumb to the monetary rewards of sedating your audiences with a bland party beat. Sure, so occasionally the crew sound like old bitter, b**tards who might well be past their sell by date. But the buoyant p-funk of "Lights Out"(featuring Knoc-Turn'al) reminds the listener that rap can cook on the streets and in da club without ever having to sacrifice it's anti-establishment soul. It's an explosive lyrical depth charge, but whether Nelly and his stylised MTV friendly cohorts are going to be soiling their designer briefs remains to be seen. We can only hope so.

- Miles Keylock
"Ice Cube, Mack 10 and WC are...Masters of Gangsterism, a group of Organised Street thugs turned businessmen, the gangster, the killer and the dope dealer..." or so the ominous introduction to Westside Connection's antagonistically titled comeback offering goes. Yep after some seven years in the wilderness the original gangsta rap super trio are back with one major beef: "To fight capitalism, imperialism and materialism."

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