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Various Artists
J. Prince Presents Realest N!@@az Down South
Rap-A-Lot
Various Artists
Get Crunk!
Tommy Boy

Rap-A-Lot's J. Prince Presents Realest N!@@az Down South and Tommy Boy's Get Crunk! are two new compilation discs that are looking for a place in every ghetto busta's heart. But which CD does the South right?

Most rap fans may turn to Realest N!@@az, compiled and devised by Rap-A-Lot head J. Prince, since it did come from the South. This two-disc 22-song pileup features just about everyone from the Rap-A-Lot talent pool (Tela, Hoodlumz, Ghetto Twiinz) and some other regional guest stars. Leading the charge is Rap-A-Lot's golden boy, Scarface, who drops a couple of tunes on disc one. Both songs have a day-and-night contrast. On "One," the usual Southern rap components of synthesizers and drum machines are present as Scarface continues his long-standing tradition of busting rhymes about popping caps in haters' asses and stuff like that. But on "The Realest," he loses the gangsta facade for a moment to remark on rap-music lethargy and how most rappers don't give credit where it's due. He raps: "Most niggas give their props to Run-DMC / But the niggas in the South got to give it to me." You gotta hand it to him. The brother's got balls.

Many of the songs on disc one basically revel in low-toned bass beats and rhymes of nihilistic indifference ("Ain't never gave a fuck about nothing / But my mama," cries Doracell on "Got 2 Be a Thug"), but disc two fares slightly better. It features spry tunes from the likes of ESG, Goodie Mob, Big Mike and the late Fat Pat.

While Realest N!@@az anoints its material with straight-faced somberness, Get Crunk! is livelier in presentation. But for all its agility, Get Crunk! still extols the same hypermasculine virtues, which are so heavily implied in song titles such as "Hit a Muthafucka," "Get a Bitch" and "Fuck Nigga." Oh, yes, the subject matter is just that deep. This 20-track collection features favorites, rarities and some new tunes from the South's rap elite, or perhaps from those who gave the label clearance to use their songs. Although Get Crunk! is supposed to be all-inclusive, it sounds more like a vehicle for Atlanta rookie rappers L.G.'s (Lyrical Giants). Apart from the Giants', the rest of the songs are recognizable mix-tape tunes, ranging from the sublime (Goodie Mob's "They Don't Dance No Mo'") to the one-note ridiculous (Lil Jon and The Eastside Boys' "Who You Wit"). Master P and Silkk the Shocker briefly show up to add some gusto on No Limit labelmate Skullduggery's "Where You From," while "Here I Go" is a springy but tiring number from a pre-No Limit Mystikal. (If Get Crunk!'s compilers really wanted the best of Mystikal, they should've included his 1995 madcap classic "Y'all Ain't Ready Yet.")

Also on Crunk are three H-town favorites. There's Eightball & MJG and UGK, who trade exasperating stories of thuggery. And including Lil KeKe's Houston bounce anthem "Southside" was just the right touch of, well, crunkness.

Both Realest N!@@az and Get Crunk! get the job done, but they pacify listeners instead of replenishing them. They're not the essential Southern rap collections, but they are something you can suck on until folks like the Geto Boys or 2 Live Crew release boxed sets. Both these albums typify what we've come to expect from contemporary Southern rap: It's riotous, unrestrained and all-too-familiar.

 
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