Saturday, May 19, 2007
Noah In the City of Angels
Makaveli (or 2Pac if you prefer) - "To Live & Die In L.A."
The Don Killuminati (The Seven Day Theory), 1996
Tha Dogg Pound - "Big Pimpin'" featuring Nate Dogg, Snoop Dogg & Big Pimpin'
Above the Rim: The Soundtrack, 1994
DJ Quik - "Inside Out" featuring Suga Free & AMG
Elijah is on some personal shit today. You see, in about two weeks the gleaming, smog-enveloped streets of Los Angeles are set to claim my best friend of 20 years (and for the record, I'm only 23). Noah and I grew up together on the northern side of the Golden State, and then somehow both found ourselves in New York City, but the acting world calls and so my boy is going (going) back (back) to Cali (Cali). He is not only moving to the land of silicone titties and broken dreams, but also to the ground where much of the best rap music originated--so he needs a proper, BTBS send off.
I opted, for this little dedication, to not even try collecting the best or most important pieces of L.A.'s many, many contributions to hip-hop because, well, you've all heard that shit, and it would be a hard fucking decision. So instead I'm goin' with a few of my own favorites; two of these are lesser known, and all double as pitch-perfect summer songs real easy. Most importantly, however, is that I went with tracks that I can fucking picture Noah gettin' on down to.
Ignore the Dr. Dre diss at the end of "To Live & Die In L.A." and you've pretty much got exactly the Los Angeles anthem that 'Pac was clearly trying to make. One of the few more serene moments on an otherwise compellingly dark and disturbing record, he manages to channel the breezy feel of the City of Angels while still speaking on more than just low-riders and weed. "We'll burn this bitch down, get us pissed."
Death Row's soundtrack album to "Above the Rim" is overall an incredible time capsule of mid 90's L.A. rap and R&B, and I recommend getting your hands on the whole thing if you can. By far, though, the highlight is Tha Dogg Pound's "Big Pimpin'"--you may remember part 2 from Dogg Food, but this one is that shit. Blah, blah, blah, rap and misogyny, yadda yadda. Whatever, this is the most relaxed, fun song in the world. Marvel at Nate Dogg at the height of his wonderfulness, and then prepare yourself for the best spoken-word pimp wisdom that you have ever heard!
I got "Inside Out" off of So Many Shrimp about a year ago, and I still don't know where or when it's from. What I do know, is that it's just about the most perfect shit for dancing to or just chilling in a lawn chair with a beer. Really, it was summed up best by David on the Shrimp: "'Inside Out' with the underrated Suga Free and almost-as-underrated AMG, driving bass-heavy handclap pimp funk with this great sing-song hook that sounds like some 80s pop song, like the chorus to a Police track or something." Yup. (P.S. DJ Quik & AMG are comin' out soon with a record as The Fixxers, that shit'll be fire!)
So, Noah, this one's for you. Whenever you throw parties in your new home on the edge of Compton I hope to God you play at least one of these tracks. Stay in touch, you motherfucker, and never stop screaming "Oakland".