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.
ESG Return of the Living Dead (Blackhearted Records, 1997)
When ESG made Ocean of Funk (a Top 10 Houston Rap Album of All Time) he shone in the role of street orator. His looping, loping, active flow gave effervescence to hard living, not only contextualizing it, but making it almost a little enviable. He was insightful and perceptive, traits all good rappers share, without sounding like he was trying to be insightful and perceptive, a trait all great rappers share.
On Return of the Living Dead he was just as observant, but he was much darker (and much more menacing) in his interpretation. Spending years in prison tends to do that to a man, apparently.
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Among his loyalists, it is a completely acceptable argument to make that RotLD is ESG's second finest album. Still, that doesn't help the fact that the probability of running into an ESG loyalist these days is lesser than the probability of you feeling the urge this afternoon to remove your shoe* and eat your own foot.
*Admittedly, assuming anyone crazy enough to eat their own foot would sensible enough to remove their shoe before doing so is a bit of a leap.
Best Song Title on the Album: How can it be anything other than "Return of the Living Dead"? It can't, that's how. A little more about that:
ESG has always been thematic, particularly with respect to his album titles. Return of the Living Dead is no different. Remember, this is the album that he released immediately after getting out of prison; the cover of Living Dead shows as much (see above).
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But it also parallels the zombieness of the zombies in the movie version Return of the Living Dead - notice the subtle blank thousand-yard stare, or the not-so-subtle bats flapping around in the moonlight - which (might) be an amazing bit of commentary on the unenviable plight of the American felon (felons as zombies is a remarkable thesis statement for an album).
Best Song on the Album: "I Know I Should Change"
Noteworthy here is the ominous "should" modifier. It's like, "I know I should change, because that'd be the best thing for me. But I'm likely not going to. And you can't say shit about it." Gangster.
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Obscure Fact(s) You Can Pawn Off As Your Own To Make Yourself Sound Smart:
• ESG has killed someone before. Not in the metaphorical sense, or even in the figurative sense, but literally. He took a gun and shot a man in the guts. Three times.
• ESG coaches Pop Warner football these days. It's a tad odd to see those two statements come one after the other, innit?