the album cover: 8 Tarentinos out of 10
This is the first thing you notice when coming across an album so it’s important that the artist makes some sort of statement or at least gives you some damn near nekkid hoes. No hoes to be found here but the cover is dope regardless, looking like a bootleg version of Reservoir Dogs, you see an image that recalls the infamous ‘stuck in the middle with you’ torture scene. With a cover like this and a name like Sex, Money & Gunz this we’re certainly of to a very promising start. Seriousely who’s going to ***** with you when you have this sticking out of your backpack at bandcamp?
the album booklet: 6 Calvin Klein rejects out of 10
Nothing special about this one right here. A couple of pictures of the groupmembers. Seems like Smooth is so bummed out these days his drug of choice has become some sort of horse laxative, or maybe it’s supposed to be a metaphor for “yo, look at me ma, I’m shittin’ on the game!”. Whatever the case may be I didn’t feel the need to see a rapper sit on the toilet and I’m guessing neither did you. There’s some info on who produced what and so forth, plus an add for the next Body Count album.
the actual record: 7 jhericurl gangsters out of 10
“one two..this is Ice T, you’re about to listen to the SMG record..” The Iceberg kicks a little game for street soldiers and suburbanites alike about “those two types of niggas and those two type of *****es”. Just a spoken intro but if you’re a longtime Ice fan it’s enough to bring a smile to your face just the same.
The first real track sets things of nicely. The whole idea behind the Repossession album is explained by Ice who talks over a solid beat with a nice piano loop behind it. Every emcee spits an alright verse, nothing that’ll guarantee you a cultfollowing on the internet but you get the general idea: gangsta rap is back, repossessed from all those faking the funk.
3. Radio Play
Remember the Power LP? Of course you do! Ice already told you how he felt about those radio cats and guess what? Sixteen years down the line and Radio Programmers are STILL suckers. The track is driven by a pounding drumbreak and, once more, some piano sounds. There’s also a nice, albeit slightly generic synth line that should appeal to those who are still bumping The Chronic album on the daily. I like this track, the lyrics are funny enough to make a tired concept work.
4. Bang Bang
Bang Bang is…a Banger. A simple but highly effective chorus and a pulsating beat. Smooth absolutely kills his verse, reminding you why he was one of the best rappers out there in the nineties.
5. Get it Going
SMG knows a thing or two about momentum cause if Bang Bang had you hyped then this joint won’t bring you down. Another aggressive gangsta joint. Ice says that if you ever meet someone colder than him he’s moving over but as far as I’m concerned I don’t see anyone moving in on the premier pimp position just yet. Smooth comes even nicer than he did on the previous track. Trigger and Deuce Fever spit alright verses, actually Trigger has a couple of lines that bring a smile to my face…something about throwing pitts in the basement where he’s holding your kids…what can I say I’m a sick *****er.
6. Did That
Not really impressed by the beat on this one, a chopped up drumbeat and and a little piano line. The verses are alright even if they’re a notch or two below what we’ve heard so far. The hook is horrid though, yeah they did that but maybe they shouldn’t have done this.
7. Compton Brooklyn
Ah, the lads redeem themselves with this one. Maybe not completely but we’re back on track all the same. Smooth and Ice spit verses in a way that brings to mind the chemistry Run and DMC had, talking about the differences between Compton and Brooklyn. If you’re from either city you’ll like this one even more I guess.
8. My Gun
You’ve heard this one before…but odds are it had a different title, “I gave you power” or maybe “me and my girlfriend”. It sounded better when you heard it back in the day as well. There’s the requisite soulsample in the background and a crooned hook that goes nowhere.
9. Mama Say A Prayer
Okay we’ve got a bunch of kids on the chorus and they sound so worried about life that they’re bursting into song! I guess this is Sex, Money & Gunz with a conscience. Not a bad track but…not stellar either, I guess tolerable is the best word for it but then again that doesn’t seem to do justice to Smooth the Hustler who spits that fire once more. ***** it, Smooth’s verse makes this a dope track.
I feel like throwing a barbeque and inviting all my friends from high school. That’s the vibe this one delivers. The typical “it wasn’t all bad back in the day though, was it?” fare but no matter how many times you’ve heard this before it won’t hurt hearing it just one more time.
11. Please Believe Me
How to talk game to a chick 101. Tracks like these really give way to the fact Ice was once a pimp. The hook is brought to you by some undistinguished R&B cat but it actually adds to the overall effect of the track. The content is sleazy and cheap too after all.
Once I bust a nut I’m out, all the real niggaz know what I’m talking about, we might take you out to dinner buy you shit it’s crazy…but once I bust a nut I’m swazy. Unadulturaded funtime fire. Every verse is on point but the Hustler comes of the nicest all the same. Your girl might claim to hate this but she’ll have a hard time hiding her smile cause this one is just too contagious to ignore.
13. Hangout Hustle
Finally Smooth gets a well-deserved solo. The hook consist out of a Naughty By Nature sample and the Hustler kills it once again with some crazy alliterations and multis. Great stuff.
14. Stop The Talk
This one wouldn’t have been out of place on Ice’s VI album, but to be honest it would’ve been filler on that one as well.
15. Rush the Coatroom
Imagine Grindin’ getting a Phantom of the Opera treatment by fleshing it out a little. Again, it doesn’t suck but it’s just too mediocre to make much of an impression.
16. The Game’s Real
Ice still knows how to tell a story but the only problem is that we’ve heard him telling this particular one before and the Victory sounding beat doesn’t really help the cause.
17. Ya Got Me Open
Okay, we’ve made this hardcore gangsta joint. We threatened a lot of nameless rappers, and we were very graphical about it. We praised our guns and told the hoes that ones we bust that nut we’re out. So where do we go from here? How about….a LOVE song! yeah that could work! This is actually the song that might have some radio rotation and piss off some kid to the point where he decides to record a song blasting the radio for playing some bullshit. The irony.
18. Would You Love Me
Rapper meets girl, girl isn’t true to rapper, rapper makes song about it, reviewer reviews it, you remain bored.
Smooth putting a lid on it…there you have it
the bottom line: Granted, a record like Repossession isn’t groundbreaking and on a worse day or when heared by someone who doesn’t get nostalgic when hearing Ice T or Smooth the Huslter it might even be called redundant or generic. And up to a point it is just that. But nobody went out trying to change the face of hip-hop with this release either. If the aim was to make a solid old fashioned gangsta rap record then SMG more than succeeded. All parties involved manage to make listening to this album feel like taking a trip down memory lane…even if that leads you to places you regretted visiting in the first place, kind of like the hardcore Duran Duran fan being confronted with his eighties hairdo twenty years down the line. Is this record worth buying? I’d say so: if you’re an Ice fan you’ll want this and if you’re a hip-hop fan you’ll want to hear some more of NY’s forgotten son Smooth the Hustler who rips virtually every track he spits on. Sometimes Sex, Money and Guns still manage to impress..even after all these years