interview WC - Ghetto Heisman | Review By: Saga

If longevity was an award in the rap game, veteran Westcoast gangsta rapper WC would be the king of the castle. This Los Angelino emcee has knocked about in the Cali underground since waaaaaaaaay back in the early 80’s, assisting groups such as the Maad Circle and the Westside Connection to critical leftcoast acclaim. With his completely distinctive rapping style dub-cee has never threatened to sell-out (the ultimate hip-hop crime), releasing strong solo albums like “The Shadiest One”, and as a result he has never ever received the recognition many (including myself) heads feel he deserves. In 2002, WC received the chance to make a last break for commercial success as giants Def Jam signed him on. With the added perks a bigger budget, nationwide promotion and generally bigger exposure, could dub-cee’s debut on the label, “Ghetto Heisman” do the business?

Track Listing

1) Highlight Reel (Intro)
2) Bellin’. Feat. Kokane. (****)
3) The Streets Re-twist. Feat Snoop Dogg & Nate Dogg (*****)
4) Fake N----z (skit)
5) So Hard. Feat. Scarface. (****)
6) Flirt. Feat. Case. (****)
7) 187 Um burgers (skit)
8) Walk. Feat. Westside Connection. (****)
9) Tears of a Killa. Feat Butch Cassidy. (*****)
10) Da Get Together. (***)
11) Throw Ya Hood Up. (***)
12) Wanna Ride. Feat. Ice Cube & MC Ren. (*****)
13) Bang Loose. Feat Dr Stank, Dauvile & Lady T (**** ˝)
14) Get Out. (***)
15) Let’s Make A Deal. (****)
16) Something 2 Live 4. (*****)

What is different to me when I review “Ghetto Heisman” is that, unlike many contemporary hip-hop artists, I respect WC fully. Hip-hop is a fast-changing world: rappers and styles quickly disappear from fashion as quickly as they appeared, but WC has always stuck to his guns. This is quickly evidenced on this LP with the lead single, the excellent “The Streets”. Dr. Dre affiliate Scott Scorch provides a tub-thumping beat with blaring horns and illuminating keys, over which WC drops his distinctively dope lyrics delivered with his trademark flow:
“N----s call me "Home of Cake" cause I love the cheese/ Gangstas, hustlas, pimps, if ya follow me/ Let me see ya put them hands up like a robbery/ I solemnly swear to stay down and slang the seed/I spit in the name of the streets”.

This is a hot, hot track, and its quality is reinforced by an excellent Nate Dogg chorus and solid verse from Snoop. While not a club-shaker like Nelly’s Hot In Herre or Noreaga’s Nothin’, I think WC’s attitude on this cut is brilliant for a lead single.

Ghetto Heisman is a street album. Made from the street, for the street. Yes, it is on Def Jam, and yes, there is a generally high-calibre production mastery found throughout. But that doesn’t matter a jot, WC is here to spit in the name of the street. Take the booming “Wanna Ride”, which has guests of the highest calibre: “The Villain in Black” himself, MC Ren, and Ice Cube. Production duo Tony Piazzo and Flip handles the suitably aggressive, up-tempo beat, and the three emcees flip crunching rhymes stomping on those who don’t get out of the way. Another veteran, the recently rejuvenated Scarface, drops by on “So Hard”. With a funky Buckwild (from D.I.T.C fame) bassline, and an enjoyable hook, these two 10 year plus artists kick true-to-life reminisces about their lives. These kind of tracks are where we find dub in his element. There’s no doubt about it: his snarling, snapping voice is one of the most distinctive in rap, and his flow very rarely changes from the pristine. No, he’s not a mind-blowing lyricist but he can more than hold his own.

But WC ain’t all about the menacing, street-smart thug ish. Take the excellent follow-up single “Flirt”. While Roc-a-Fella stalwart Rick-Rock’s production style doesn’t usually impressive me that much, his head-nodding, thigh-slapping bounce track here is perfect for WC’s immaculate lyrics about (yeah, you guessed it), flirting in the ‘hood. Add some nice soul for the hook from Case and you get a real bit of Westcoast funk. “Tears of a Killa” is as introspective as you will find WC during Ghetto Heisman. Battlecat is another one of the Westcoast’s most consistent producers, and his trademark soulful blend of P-Funk and soul lends a really smooth vibe to this track, and WC drops some phenomenally introspective lyrics about his life.

The same goes for one of the album’s other standout tracks, “Something 2 Live 4”. Over Derek “LA” Jackson’s moody, atmospheric production replete with pouring rain and thunder sound-effects, the veteran emcee flexes his storytelling as he fictionally narrates his actions after his daughter has been kidnapped. This is an emotional song, and it still proves that WC is a better emcee than some heads MAY expect. For further proof check out the storming “Bang Loose”. Tony Pizzarro and Flip pop up again and provides a truly demented, sizzling bassline over which WC, Dauville, Lady T and Dr. Stank drop crazy battle rap lyrics. Maybe my favourite cut.

Funnily enough, even though WC has the backing of the giants Def Jam on this release, his beats are occasionally what let him down. Production is lax on tracks like “Da Get Together”. While it’s not particularly bad, it’s just a bit too mediocre for my liking, and as good as WC’s flow is throughout Ghetto Heisman this is a slight problem. And while the two or three skits found on this album are VERY funny at first, like any skits they soon wear off on me and become easily skippable.

But when is all said and done, “Ghetto Heisman” is a very solid rap album from this Westcoast veteran. The album bounces along nicely with generally funky, head-noddable P-Funk typical of the Westcoast, and I need to say no more than WC is one of the tightest veterans left in the game: as his stellar flow and tough lyrics prove. No, this isn’t going to appeal to everyone, but if you want some pure rap music straight from the boulevards of Los Angeles 2002, WC’s “Ghetto Heisman” is your best bet.

4/5 Dubs!


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