Five Spot: Inside E.S.G.'s Everyday Street Gangsta
Welcome back to Five Spot. Every Friday, we'll examine a recent bit of music news and, sometimes awkwardly, tie it to a bit of Houston rap. It's five videos and occasional cussing. Send tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
After you interview somebody in preparation for writing something about them, there are always things that you want to mention that get left out of the article because of flow or space restrictions or whatever. It's the nature of the situation, we suspect. When we interviewed E.S.G. for this week's music feature, things were no different. So we cobbled together a few of the notes and put those things together. Booyah: 1. E.S.G. ducked this interview a good two or three times. When we were finally able to get him on the phone (the messaging up until that point consisted mostly of general text messages) he literally said "Meet me in Pearland around 6." Not a street or an intersection or a neighborhood; he told us to meet him in a city. So we just drove to 518 and parked. We did not pick the correct spot. 2. After a bit of chit-chat, we decided to conduct the interview inside the Chili's right there off 288 and 518 (which was about 20 minutes from where we were parked, and about 40 seconds from where he was). We got there, walked in and stood at the little station where the greeter greets and seats you and waited. And waited. And waited. The restaurant was far from busy, yet no one said one single word to us for long enough to make the situation a bit uncomfortable. That shit was not cool.3. At the end of the interview, his son, a 9-year-old prospective rapper who goes by Killa B, rapped a song for us (at his own request). It was a song they called "Cruisin' With My Daddy" and was mostly about fresh Levi's and trips to the shoe store to buy the whole wall. However, he had one line way more poignant than we were expecting, something to the effect of "My daddy says we're not rich, but I tell him it feels that way." While he was rapping it we couldn't stop thinking of that vacuous "Lemon Drop" song by Paul Wall. On to the videos.
"Intro" You have to appreciate the bare-your-soul mentality of this song, particularly the "How you think that made me feel?" line following the bit about how Interscope Records signed Slim Thug as a solo act rather than he as ESG together. Not a lot of artists lay themselves out there like that. Two minutes into the LP and the album's narrative is clear: This is the reintroduction* of the Everyday Street Gangsta . *"Reintroduction" because he did something similar on his LP, Screwed Up Movement .
"Smoke On" Aesthetically, this remake - Sailin' Da South had a same-named, similarly-themed song - is the finest track from the album. And mind, the precocious Young Beast does a fine job, but the goopy production here seems custom made for Pimp C's crisp slosh. Or, and this is way the other way, but we have a sneaking suspicion that H.I.S.D.'s adenoidal L Da Voice would have been yo-yo on this too. That might be a little too avant garde to hope for, though.
"We Still Tippin'" Did you notice that there were not one, but two Mike Jones samples on this album? When we mentioned this peculiarity to E.S.G., he just laughed. One time we looked at porn on our home computer and our wife, who apparently has a part-time job working for the subsection of the FBI that hunts down Internet perverts, sniffed it out. When she brought it to our attention we just laughed. Sometimes that's all you can do.
"Break Them Boyz Off" This is likely to be the track that Houston rap historians grasp to tightest. The Big H.A.W.K. verse is just pulverizing though. His references to The Matrix and Steve Francis date himself, and we're not sure if the song is better or worse for it.
"Soldier" The thing that has really endeared Chamillionaire to his fans is that he always rides within his own fences. You never see him grasping (Mike Jones, The Voice ) or overextending (Paul Wall, everything since Get Ya Mind Right ) or convoluting his message to the point that it becomes pejorative (Gucci Mane). He just does what he does, which is clearly a cliched simplification of what it is that he actually does, but sometimes that's the kind of barnum statement people look for in their music criticism now and again. Thanks for your support. Have a safe weekend.
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