interview SHADE SHEIST - Informal Introduction | Review By: Nima

After Shade Sheist had his first hit in 2001 with the summer jam "Where I Wanna Be" which featured Westcoast Legends Nate Dogg & Kurupt, everybody was waiting for an album. Unfortunately, Shade's debut album got delayed several times, and didn't see the light of day until September 2002. In the meantime, his producer Damizza aka Damon Young released a compilation entitled "Damizza presents.. Where I Wanna Be" which featured tracks by Shade Sheist, Nate Dogg, TQ and many more. After over a year, we can finally buy Shade Sheists debut album "Informal Introduction", which is released on M.C.A. Records. If you haven't picked it up yet, this track by track review should give you the final proof that this album is worth the money.

1. Holla Boyz Intro - The intro of the album, co-starring DJ Vice and DJ Echo, which is a little sample of what we are going to hear on this record. Very nice mixing, a nice intro to introduce the listener to the album. No rating needed though.

2. Somebody Steals The Show - The first real track, and Damizza handled the production. We can hear listen to a layed back, yet energetic beat, with a hard hitting snare drum and a warm bass. Damizza used a little flute sample which fits in good. Overall this is a warm beat, and at the same time a bouncy production. Shade Sheist raps his first verse, in his typical relaxed flow, and spits a nice verse.

"Even though a nigga from the streets, I'm proud to say that I ain't never banged in my life homeboy"

His first verse on the album is packed with a fresh flavor, westcoast! For the chorus, we hear Latonya Holmes, as she sings her part with her strong voice. Shade takes the mic to drop his second verse. He speeds up a bit for this one, I'm really feelin' his smooth voice, which mixes nice with the beat. As you listen to the track, the beat gets better and better. You bop your head automatically. Shade handles the third verse by himself too, this time a bit shorter. After the finishing chorus, we can listen to the beat for a couple moments, till it fades. A good way to start the album, with bounce yet smoothness. 4/5

3. Act Like You Know Me - For this Howie Hersh production, Shade Sheist invites two rappers to join him on the mic. We have Eastcoast superstar Fabolous, and Dr. Dre protegé Knocturnal. Howie Hersh provided Shade with another smooth beat, which actually is a bit similar to the previous one. We again have a hard hitting snare drum, and a flute-sounding effect in the background. The bass is very deep and constant. Fabolous is first to spit, and this is the typical Fab verse. He does his job, this is what his fans love him for, simple. His lyrics aren't outstanding, neither is his flow, but he does his job and lays down a nice verse, which goes well with the beat. Knocturnal handles the chorus, in a pretty twisted voice, kind of sounding like the D.O.C. after his accident. It's a decent chorus though, and Knoc comes through, he did a good job. Now Shade Sheist steps up to lay down his part. In my opinion, he outshines Fabolous and shows us a first, short verse. If ya'll thought, Knocturnal would only do the chorus, you were wrong! He himself spits a verse too, and its a hot one.

"Knoc got in the game and got a gang of hoes", I was broke and had hoes you fuckin'asshole! Matter of fact my game was tighter" or "I KNOW KNOC!" He's a lyier I don't know niggaz I know riders with gun priors quick to spit fire"

After Knoc finished his part, we hear the chorus again, and then Shade Sheist raps another verse. I'm feelin' his voice over this production, perfect to chill to. After Shade Sheist and Knoc do some Mic Exchange on the last verse, the song ends. Another very good track. 4/5

4. John Doe - DJ Quik is in the house! Yes you read right, Westcoast Legend DJ Quik laced this beat and brought his crew with him! Hi-C, AMG and Swift all appear on this track. Now this is funky! Quik laced Shade with a nice beat, a very deep bass, tight drums and the typical Quik flair! Really feelin' this beat, it's the best one until now. And Sheist steps to the mic first to show his skills, and it's a very short verse. Now comes the chorus! Quik grabs the talk-box and gives us a top notch chorus! This chorus is off the hook! And Shade Sheist just continues rappin' and now speeds up a bit, a good verse. After the second chorus, Hi-C spits some fire, with his typical style. It's a very short appearance though, as after a couple of bars, AMG grabs the microphone and sends out his message.

"When I'm cum boo you gon' need a cert, Bust one, jump in the Monte Carlo and skirt (skirt!), Give em naps, give 'em dap, then I holla holla back"

To complete the track, Swift raps his part too and we have a hot track! But the highlight of the song defiantly is the chorus, which just makes the track stand out. But all the artists did a good job, although I'd liked the Quik camp to spit a bit more, but overall a hot track! 4.5/5

5. X2 - This is DJ Clue's addition to Shade's LP. This Damizza production contains a sample from "Grandma's Hands" by Bill Withers. We have another very smooth, yet hard beat. Damizza specially did a good job with the drums here, as he makes them play a couple of fill-ins and variates the rhythm from the monotone flow. Of course, as you may have guessed, we have DJ Clue's annoying screams and shouts over the track. Shade starts his first verse. It's solid and he comes through as always. After his verse, he does the chorus by himself, with a couple of nice scratches.

"It ain't a question the West got a new face and name and I got by the name of Shade Sheist, I be the only nigga that you don't step to, yeah there's only one Shade Sheist"

One may say Shade doesn't bring any outstanding lyricism to the table, maybe not, but he comes through with good raps every time, and he represents the West to the fullest. After another very nice verse, we have some more scratches, and some yelling by DJ Clue and the track ends. Overall a nice track, nothing spectacular though. 3.5/5

6. Walk A Mile - Big Nate Dogg makes his first appearance on here, along with N.U.N.E, Vita and Barbara Wilson. Damizza laid down the production again. A funky beat, another head bopper. Damizza used some nice keys here and there, and I'm feelin' all the instruments and effects he employs. Shade Sheist spits the first verse, better than the ones from the DJ Clue track. I'm feelin' him on here. The chorus which is sang, is very nice:

"If you can't understand how I'm feelin', let you walk a mile in my shoes. If you can't understand how I'm feelin', well fuck, fuck you, you too."

And then the smoothest voice from the West shines. Nate Dogg does what he does best, sing. His verse is similar to some parts from Music & Me, but it's always good to hear him. After Nate, Ex-Murder Inc artist Vita spits her verse, nothing spectacular, but still solid. And then N.U.N.E drops a very short verse, barely a verse. Then Barbara Wilson does the chorus again, I can't get enough of it. Hot production, hot verses, and a hot chorus, what else should we have than a HOT track! 4.5/5

7. Stop... And Think About It - Damizza is again responsible for the music we hear on this one. Relaxed beat, nice drums. I'm specially feelin' the exotic strings Damizza uses during the chorus. He really knows how to mix the instruments and sounds to make them sound good. Shade Sheists friend Caz makes his appearance on this one. But it's Sheist we first hear on here. He spits his lyrics, and keeps it real on his verse. It's Caz that handles the chorus, with his rough style and rugged voice. After the chorus, it's again Shade Sheist we hear spitting. It's nothing spectacular, similar to his first one. Now Caz grabs the mic to rip it. He comes off really nice, with lines like

"I spit that good shit, that California straight crippin and bloodin and hood shit all night cruisin shit! Who I be? C A Z, and who I roll with? Sheist, and Baby Ree. Baby See, there's really nothin' to it we run thru it, I thought you knew it! Just incase you cowards wanna do it, meet me on Slauson or Creenshaw to see who's really bossin."

He clearly outshines Shade Sheist on this track, I'm lovin' his rough style and aggressive flow over this beat. He really does a good job on the chorus too. In the background, we can hear vocals by Barbara Wilson. At the end of the track, we have another hot verse to end this song. 4.25/5

8. Money Owners - This was the albums first single. Production-giant Timbaland provided him this beat. The production itself is hot, innovative. I'm feelin the bass Timbo used on there and he employed interesting effects. But the chorus is just annoying to me, I can't really feeling it. And Shade's raps good, but nothing outstanding. As the track goes on, you get used to the style and you slowly start to feel the track. Shade Sheist comes off ok.

"Shade, he's Sheist, he's never nice, so full of himself he make ya say his name twice (Sheist Sheist)"

Timbaland does his job, I like the beat he laced. But this isn't single material, and I didn't like the video at all. This is probably the weakest song of the album till now, at first I thought it may grow on me, but I just don't feel it. Especially compared with the track that follows this one! 2.5/5

9. Wake Up - From the moment I picked up this CD, this was the track I was waiting for! The Warren G and Nate Dogg track! This was bound to be a heater! I was shocked though when I saw that the G Child did NOT produce his cut, but Kay Gee and Eddie Berkeley did. I can't complain though, they did a great job. They used some little whistles, nice effects who sound good over the deep bass and hard drums. After a little bit of talking by Shade and Warren G, Nate Dogg starts his part. His voice is like magic. He could turn a track into something great just by adding a couple of words!

"When I wake up in the morning, when I get up out of my bed, At all times I remain a hustler, at all times I be chasing my bread, Since this one's for my people, I'ma make sure you heard what I said"

Then after the chorus, Shade Sheist shines on his verse. He flows, I like the way his voice sounds over this beat. After Shade did his thang, Big Nate is back for the chorus. Now I was finally waitin' for Warren G to drop some knowledge. But then Sheist is again on the mic and rips it up for another verse! He comes off straight, for sure, but I can't get over the fact that Warren G didn't rap on here. Not even Nate Dogg's spectacular performance can make up for that. Still this track is an undeniable 4.75/5

10. BMF - Now I really like this Damizza production. Like I said before, he got the gift to pick the right effects and keys for each beat. The bass on this one is very melodious and dominant. The drums are very regular, monotone but still hard. And I like the keys, sounding like raindrops falling every now and then. Now to Shade Sheist's performance on the track. His voice is very low, it nearly sounds as if he is whispering his words. His voice is pretty monotone, not to a point to call it boring though.

"So I can mash, and get away fast, anytime I make it feel like havin' bullets in my ass" or "Niggaz gettin' caught fuckin' with the Baby Ree man, but can you really hang like the Baby Ree Chain?"

The chorus is deffinatly whisper, but I like it. This is a very laid back track, real relaxed. His second and third verses are very similar to his first one, although he gets louder. Overall this is a nice track, I specially like Damizza's production. 3.5/5

11. Thug Luv - During the first seconds, you think this is gonna be another very slow, smooth beat. We hear organ keys playing smoothly. But all of a sudden, Damizza hits us with a couple of hard piano and trumpet sounding effects and leads us into a very melodical beat with some small Dr. Dre production similarities. And Barbara Wilson's strong singing make it even better. I'm really feeling this beat Damizza laced Shade with on this one. The bass is deep, and drums bouncy yet actually pretty soft. Shade Sheist spits a first, short verse, where he comes off nice and introduces us to "Thug Luv". Barbara Wilson does a great job on her third appearance on this album and Shade Sheist takes the mic for the second verse again. I feel him a lot more on here than on "BMF".

"You need to, get a life (better yet) get a wife or a girl, get a female to share your world"

Shade shines on this one. He drops a third rap too, to end this hot track. After that, the chorus repeats until the end of the song. 4.5/5

12. Cali Diseaz (Muzik) - Many people may have already heard this track before, as it was on the soundtrack of The Fast And The Furious. Again, Damizza produced this track. The beat is pretty slow, with a dominant bass and funky drums. The melody nice. A good beat. However it all goes to another level when Nate blesses the track with his soulful voice. He's really incredible. After he sings for about a minute, Shade Sheist steps up to drop his verse. I'm feelin' the way he comes off.

"Sheist the vet, fresh out your ghetto tape decks, It's me and Nate back at it with another for your neck"

His flow is top notch and his voice matches the atmosphere of the track well. After Shade's first verse, Nate Dogg sings the chorus again, tellin' us how much he loves the music. Then he drops a little bridge which is awesome. I love his part. Shade doesn't rap again, this was more a Nate Dogg track featuring Shade Sheist. A hot song. 4.75/5

13. Here I Come - The first seconds sound mysterious, we hear echo's, and some keys. And then Damizza hits us with the hard drums bangin' throughout the track, leading the rhythm along with the bass. I like the way Damizza employed the keys in here, he makes it real melodical. In the booklet, Damizza is credited as a featured artist, and it's him who starts rappin' first. He pretty much rips it, and I wish he would rap more.

"Dogg I represent, the streets of SB, with the suburbs in the house, shit could get dirty. What's my name? Mizz muthafucka"

His voice sounds like Knocturnal, but his flow is better. After the chorus, Shade Sheist grabs the microphone to bless us with knowledge. I really like this verse, he sounds very nice, his lyrics are top notch. The chorus is nice too, nothing special though. Then Damizza starts another verse, but quickly passes the mic to Shade who finished for him. This track is defiantly off the hook, I'm feelin' the production and both rappers rip the mic. 4.5/5

14. Where I Wanna Be - Now anyone who hasn't heard this track was either listening' to Heavy Metal last year, or wasn't on Earth. This was the summer jam of 2001. This is what put Shade's name into the peoples minds. Supported by the smooth voice of Nate Dogg and Dogg Pound Gangsta Kurupt (well he was one back then!), Shade created this super-hit. Now to the production. Damizza only co-produced this one. The producers are Kay Gee and Eddie Berkeley who also produced "Wake Up". They laid down a real masterpiece. A real funky beat, supported by the very deep bass and the keys constantly playing. I love this beat, probably my favorite from the album. Nate Dogg starts off the track with the chorus. Wow!

"This is where I wanna be, right here with my loved ones, smoking on some weed, you got chronic won't you light it up!"

All that sang by Nate's voice. It's incredible, even after a year. And Shade Sheist pulls off an awesome verse, he rips it, startin' off with his most famous line "Now who's that kickin' in the gates for West". And after his verse and another chorus, Nate continues singin' and laid down a verse by himself! Nate is simply the best. And after Nate's show, The Kingpin steps into the house to bless us with his rap. Back then he was still able to come correct! A good Kurupt verse to end the track, a classic track I wanna add. 5/5

15. The Urban Gospel - The last real track of the album. Damizza laced this one, a very dark and grimy sounding production. Very hard hitting drums, specially the Bass drum. And a deep bass. That's pretty much it for the beginning. After a couple seconds, an organ key sounding effect gives the track a special atmosphere. N.U.N.E. and King Arthur are featured on this cut. The chorus sounds a lot like Nate Dogg here, like a Nate Dogg with a deeper voice. Then Shade Sheist starts rappin! Whoa he's fast on here! His verse is very short but the beginning of the verse is probably the fastest we've heard Shade rap on this album.

"You gotta cut it count it move it mount it melt it sell it, hop it in your hands and drop it then you change the topic"

Then N.U.N.E. takes over and raps into the second chorus. All the artists on this one sound pretty fast. N.U.N.E. rips the track. The chorus is really nice too and King Arthur comes thru. Overall this track is hot, and I gotta give it a 4.25/5

16. Holla Boyz Outro - The outro of the album, again with Damizza, DJ Echo and DJ Vice. A nice outro, I like the beat. No rating needed though.

Overall, this album was hot. I was really anticipating Shade Sheists first album after I heard "Where I Wanna Be" last year. Too bad it took him a year to release it, but it was worth it. This is a quality release, the raps and productions mix together on every track and all the artists featured on it do their job. But the person who shined most was defiantly Shade Sheist. He showed us he wasn't a one hit wonder, and that he can carry a whole album. His flow was constant throughout the album and he did a great job. Damizza was awesome on the boards. Every beat he laced was hot, he knows Shades style best and provided him with great productions. Shade chose the right featuring's too, I specially liked Nate Dogg on here, he turned every track he was on into something special. Great album.


4/5 Dubs!


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