interview UGK - Underground Kingz | Review By: Conan Milne

Release Date : August 07 2007
Label : Jive Aces Records
Rating: 4/5


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.


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