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. Big Mello 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."
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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.
Second Best Song on the Album: This is a toss up between the urbanely funky "Prime Time Live" and the gospel of "Symptoms of a Crook." Most Uncomfortable Line on the Album: "A sinister nigga fuckin' ya sister..." Seriously, consider for a second that you came home to see your 19-year-old sister getting dug out by Big Mello on your bed. What could you say? Nothing. Look at him. You're going to fight him? Not a chance. He looks like he was the type of guy you'd have to kill. And there's no way you'd to survive in prison. And you know that. So you'd just have to stand there like a schmuck. And probably make him a drink or something. Feature That Should Have Been on the Album: Ganksta NIP absolutely should have been on "Straight From the Clarke." Sure, he's not from Hiram Clarke, but any track with that whining synth noise in the background, NIP was killing back then. Obscure Fact(s) That You Can Pawn Off As Your Own To Make Yourself Sound Smart: Girl Talk released a vinyl EP in 2006 also called Bone Hard Zaggin'. It was substantially less important to the development of Houston rap than Big Mello's.