Bargain Bin Classics #4

posted June 03, 2008 12:00:00 AM CDT | 22 comments

At HipHopDX, we are some certified, dust-under-the-fingernails diggers. While there's a lot of folks talking about samples and breaks, and plenty of deejays focusing on exclusives and lost verses, we wanted to profile some of the releases that aren't ever discussed, videos played or songs aired. These are the discs and albums that you'll often see at swap meets, pawn shops and in lots on eBay.

We're simply here to reminisce, revisit and remind those of you who may care - that these are actually...pretty damn good. Bargain Bin Classics live on!

Black Trash: The Autobiography Of Kirk Jones by Sticky Fingaz (2001, Universal)
Currently on Amazon for $4.00

As a member of Onyx, Sticky Fingaz had always stood out from the rest of the screw-faced baldhead crew for his borderline genocidal rhymes, energetic mic presence and voracious screen time. So when his long awaited solo debut, Black Trash: The Autobiography Of Kirk Jones, was released, fans expected more of that same high energy and volatile lyrics which peppered Onyxs first three releases. Instead, listeners were treated to a well-executed, pugnaciously emotional concept album where Sticky (this time as his government moniker) took them on a fictionalized ride as a recently released felon and his subsequent rise and fall. Whether imagining himself as the almighty dollar on the Raekwon-guested Money Talks, in court against prosecuting lawyer Canibus on the dramatic State Vs. Kirk Jones or thugging out Louis Armstrongs "Wonderful World," Black Trash is a surprisingly dope solo and severely overlooked effort by Sticky Fingaz. - Meka Udoh

The Predator by Ice Cube (1992, Priority)
Currently on Amazon for $1.77

s storied solo career was made with his brilliant tandem of Amerikkkas Most Wanted and Death Certificate. Though its tough to ignore his classic junior LP. It was regarded as a step down at the time, but it holds up just as well as the others today. OShea was at his most intimidating on "When Will They Shoot?" and further solidified his status as Hip Hops greatest story teller with It Was A Good Day, Who Got The Camera? and Dont TrustEm. Ironically, as he took shots at his detractors on the title track, this would be his last truly great album before taking Ls in beefs (and movies of course), took his attention. As dope as his last album was, Cube needs to get back up with Muggs, Sir Jinx and Pooh. - J-23

Tha Streetz Iz A Mutha
by Kurupt (1999, Antra/Artemis)
Currently on Amazon for $6.70

After the rough, rugged and raw 1995 Dogg Food album, both Daz and Kurupt each had one album that even remotely lived up to their debut group effort. Whereas Daz' solo debut Revenge, Retaliation & Get Back was his jewel, Kurupt's second album is pure piss and vinegar. Angered by rumored
infidelities of then-fiance Foxy Brown with DMX and Ja Rule, Kurupt gave an aftershock to the east/west beef of three years earlier, by calling out (literally, see "Callin' Out Names") nearly everybody besides Boot Camp Clik, Roc-A-Fella and Wu-Tang Clan. On top of that, as Snoop had ventured to No Limit for experimental sounds, Kurupt's work with Organized Noize was overshadowed by his recharged G-Funk with Soopafly and Daz ("Represent Dat GC" / "Who Ride Wit Us"). This album, despite being an independent release, was a lone jack in holding up the west coast in 1999. Due to Death Row drama, Daz was billed as executive producer and background vocalist, but Streetz Iz A Mutha could be argued as a Dogg Pound album. With Snoop, Jayo Felony, Nate Dogg, Xzibit, Warren G and even Dr. Dre (plus a fledging Crooked I) on one album, this coastal rally-cry remains a gem, and towers over the material that the Philly-born, Long Beach-raised emcee has oversaturated us with since. - Jake Paine

Quest for Fire: Firestarter, Vol. 1 by Kardinal Offishall (2001, MCA)
Currently on Amazon for $2.00

With a hyperkinetic, complex rhyme scheme and a patois inflection stemmed from his Jamaican descent, Kardinal Offishall has been helmed as Canadas unofficial (no pun intended) Hip Hop ambassador. Having been a staple in the States neighbors up north for a number of years, Kardi parlayed his popularity in the countrys rapidly-growing rap scene into a deal with MCA Records, becoming one of a few Canadian artists to be signed to a then-major American label. Powered by the Caribbean equivalent of Nellys Country Grammar, BaKardi Slang, as well as the mish mash of boom-bap-meets-dancehall, monster posse cut Ol' Time Killin', Quest for Fire: Firestarter, Vol. 1 established the Black Jays member as not only an incredible emcee but a venerable producer in his own right. Unfortunately while Quest For Fire ignited the masses up north (as well as capturing a gold plaque), it failed to catch anything other than a dim light here. - Meka Udoh

Guess Who's Coming To Dinner by DJ Cash Money (1996, Spoiled Brat)
Currently on Amazon for $4.06

My single favorite song of Sleeping Bag Records' all-encompassing '80s catalog is DJ Cash Money & Marvelous Marv's "Ugly People Be Quiet," with its original Tears For Fears intro. Although the duo got a nice praise from Sway & Tech (and DJ Revolution) 10 years ago, the material and legacy since, hasnt. Here, Cash Money put out this fly-by-night mixtape which celebrated the best things of '95 and '96, including LL Cool J, Group Home and Raekwon. You'll get the great cutting expected from one of the top deejays on the planet, but the Phife Dawg and The Roots freestyles put this darling up there with Funkmaster Flex and Clue's albums. East coast Hip Hop lived on this mix that balanced between album and street quality. The skits didnt date so well, but it blows me away that more people didnt make a big to do about the Philadelphia green-eyed legend showing that hes just as brutal making tapes as he was compiling 45's and those unforgettable DMC performances that (along with DJ Jazzy Jeff) made the City of Brotherly Love embrace Hip Hop with open tonearms. - Jake Paine
East Points Greatest Hit
by Cool Breeze (1999, Interscope)
Currently on Half for $5.99

Everyone worth their salt knows all about the seminal albums Outkast and Goodie Mob released under the tutelage of production trio Organized Noize. Sadly, not nearly enough people know about their work on other Dungeon Family albums years after Kast and Goodie were largely handling their own production. In 98 they laced Witchdoctors A S.W.A.T. Healing Ritual with some of the finest production of their career, then put in a similarly stellar effort the following year on Cool Freddy Cutta Calhoun Breezes East Points Greatest Hit. Best known for the massive posse cut Watch For The Hook with Outkast and Goodie Mob, youd be fucking up if you thought that is all this album had to offer. Tenn Points, The Calhouns, Ghetto Camelot, Butta, and Weeastpointin; are all classic material. Well worth a few bucks. - J-23

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