Remember Z-Ro's Crack?
Houston's history is dotted with albums that, fairly or un, have been swept aside. We'll examine them here. Have an album that you think nobody knows about but should? Email email@example.com.
Z-Ro Crack (Rap-a-Lot, 2008)
Crack was the first of Rother Vandross's drug-themed albums, followed by Cocaine and Heroin, and soon to be followed by Meth, Syrup, Pot, Chocolate and Children's Tylenol. With regards to his discography, Crack was a relatively quiet album with no street anthems or radio-ready tracks, though "Tired," featuring Mya and subtly brilliant production by Tone Capone, did rate on MTV for a few weeks.
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Although Crack has gotten increasingly better with age, there isn't really a standout track. "Lonely," perhaps the most heartbreaking song, is one that most people will be able to recall, but beyond that, it's a little less than a toss-up.
Best Song on the Album
If we're strictly talking about production, "Tired" gets the nod. It was almost Maroon 5-ish in its softness, and presented an interesting background for Ro to roam around. But musically, "Tired" stands taller than just about all of the other tracks, though some will no doubt champion the nine-minute-plus freestyle "25 Lighters," which comes at the back end of the album.
Most Earth-Shattering Line on the Album
"I don't wanna die lonely." Christ. Hearing Z-Ro say this - the indomitable, indestructible, impossible Z-Ro - is just devastating. It's fun to pretend that he's this shark of a person, a cold, calculated killer with intentions that never drift beyond the next baby he's going to fling into a tree stump, but there's an actual person with actual feelings behind all of that. And to hear him talking about something so mortal, something so basic, is pulverizing.
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Two years ago, some kind soul broke into Rocks Off's car and attempted to steal the radio. The novice burglar - he must've been new to the neighborhood, because hardened southwest Houstonians rarely misstep when it comes to the business of stealing car radios - was only able to rip the face off. For the past two years and three months, one CD has sat stuck in the since-viewable guts of the stereo. Naturally, that CD is Crack. The whole situation feels like a great big metaphor of sorts.
They had the release party for Crack at, of all places, Dave & Buster's. There's probably a metaphor balled up somewhere in there too.
The most inconvenient thing about this album is that the title makes it impossible for you to follow standard protocol. For example, when he released I'm Still Livin', that was easy because you could always reference it by saying, "Z-Ro's I'm Still Livin'... Have you heard Z-Ro's I'm Sill Livin'? Z-Ro's I'm Still Livin' is pretty good." So on and on. But with this one, you can't. It just sounds silly to be like, "Yo, Z-Ro's Crack is really good. I Like Z-Ro's Crack a lot. Z-Ro's Crack is just really, really interesting."
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