Y'all Musta Forgot: Big Mello's Bone Hard Zaggin'
Houston's history is dotted with albums that, fairly or not, have been swept aside. We'll examine them here. Have an album that you think nobody knows about but should? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bone Hard Zaggin' (Rap-A-Lot/Priority, 1992)
Big Mello is a throwback Rap-A-Lot act, most famous for repping Hiram Clarke in the 90's and then wrapping his car around a concrete pillar in 2002. He was associated with S.U.C. back when it really meant something*. There's no way you can listen to this album and not think about 1992. It's all thumping bass and tinks and snaps and Houstonified G-Funk. In short, it's great, particularly when you're alone. Anachronism is overrated. *Nowadays, the S.U.C. has become so splintered and watered down that it's apparently acceptable for just about anybody to claim a tie to them. Ask Dat Boi T. Y'allmustaforgotability: 96 percent We've owned this album for a few years now. We still couldn't name four song titles from it correctly. Read what Y'allmustaforgotability means.
Best Verse on the Album: The first from "Love Don't Love Nobody."
You had a couple different versions of Mello when he rapped - not unlike the "I'm a syruped-up R&B singer... no, never mind, I'm a gangster rapper... no, wait, I'm just a misunderstood child of God... nah, I'm Jamaican" personas that Z-Ro bounces around at his leisure - but he was always at his most poignant when he tapered down the tough guy talk and just talked about shit. That's what he did here.
Also, whether he did this on purpose or not, you have to appreciate the way he flipped "Keep Ya Head Up," one of Tupac's more uplifting songs, into an endlessly austere peek into how a lot of unfortunate people view love. More than that, though, you have to appreciate how he made the song a year before Tupac did. [Pretend like the sound of a record needle screeching across an album just happened.] Yeah, that's right. They both made songs sampling Zapp and Roger's "Be Alright," but Mello did his first*. Face, West Coast bitches.
*We have our fingers crossed hardcore that nobody remembers Big Daddy Kane using a sped-up version of the same sample on "Prince of Darkness" a year before Mello.
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