Underground Kingz |
Release Date : August 07 2007
Label : Jive Aces Records
Dub Quotable: Their new album Underground Kingz delivers more
impressive material, and withstands as one of the best releases of the year.
Don’t spend too much time berating the South’s commercial Hip-Hop reign.
Naming no names, there are artists from all over exploiting the culture in the
hopes of a quick hit. Besides, contrary to the popular stereotype, not all
modern Hip-Hop originating from down South is about getting crunk and
new-fangled dances. Texas’ UGK have represented for the finer aspects of rap
for years: likable production and even more agreeable rhymes. Their new album
Underground Kingz delivers more impressive material, and withstands as one of
the best releases of the year.
The album admirably opens with a proud, distinctly Southern affair. After a
screwed vocal marks the duo of Bun B and Pimp C’s return, ‘Sweet Jones’
immediately pounces on the squealing guitar riff and lingering drums of
“Swishas And Dosha.” Generally upbeat, Pimp nonetheless spits some barbed
words for the afore-mentioned acts that have plundered rap’s credibility:
“I remember when a rapper was a go-getter/Now every rapper is a ho nigga.”
If some MCs are thin on concepts nowadays, UGK are willing to rectify.
Following track and lead single “International Players Anthem” sees the
twosome team up with fellow Southern legends OutKast to deliver a cut far more
meaningful than its title would suggest. Over Juicy J’s majestic gospel,
‘Kast’s Andre 3000 makes it clear his womanizing ways are numbered. “Hurry,
hurry, go to the altar,” he raps. “I know you ain’t a pimp, but pimp
remember what I told ya/ Keep your heart three stacks.” While Dre’s nuptial
referencing verse shines, it’s a roving Bun B who best delivers. Over the
recently introduced, skittish drums, he serenades: “I’ll show you shit
you’ve never seen, the seven wonders of the world/And I can make you the
eighth if you wanna be my girl.” Such lyrics make this track more than
another scandalous ode to the ladies.
Much of the album carries on in this impassioned tradition. Production is
stellar throughout (the jazzy guitar plucks and stuttering ticks of “Quit
Hatin’ The South,” for example) and guest MCs frequently deliver, with
everyone from Too $hort to Rick Ross to an inspired Big Daddy Kane popping up.
If Underground Kingz sports a single flaw, it’s its double-disk spanning
length. There’s more than a disk’s worth of gems here, but as a result niggles
like the pulsating, yet typical, Jazze Pha production, “Stop-N-Go” sorely
stick out. Furthermore, the placing of two highly contrasting female
dedications back-to-back (the wallowing “Two Types Of Bitches” and husky,
respectful “Real Women”) is ponderous. Nonetheless, minor qualms aren’t enough
to derail the focused Bun B and Pimp C. Every rap reeks of Hip-Hop
authenticity, and Pimp summarizes the group’s stance perfectly on “Quit Hatin’…”
“We know Hip-Hop and rap and all that shit started in the mothafuckin’
East…Now it’s our time to shine down here.” Outperforming peers
nationwide, long may UGKs time continue.