Pimp C Knockin Doorz Down (Pimpalation) 2006
"Knockin Doorz Down" featured P.O.P and Lil Keke, but in the video, which featured cameos by Trae (tha Truth), Lil Flip, Mike Jones, J Prince, and Pimp C's UGK counterpart Bun B, Pimp C raps the third verse instead of Lil Keke.
The song focuses on the status of Houston's rap community. Back then, Paul Wall and Chamillionaire had beef, which has since been squashed. Houston rap artists Lil Flip, Slim Thug, and Z-Ro, are also mentioned as is Atlanta rapper T.I. During that time, Z-Ro and Slim Thug were also having problems, which is when Pimp C urged them to go on tour together as a way to solve their issues and make some money.
Lil Flip and T.I. were also beefing over the term "King Of The South."
"R.I.P to Robert Davis. He the king of the south. Anything else said need to shut your fucking mouth. I'm down with Lil' Flip and I'm down with T.I.P. If them niggas come together, know how much paper we could see."
Geto Boys "Mind Playing Tricks On Me" (We Can't Be Stopped) 1991
This song was amazing-- probably perfect, in fact. The song spoke about paranoid schrizophrenia and madness in a wa that was very creative and ahead of its time. The song is deep and real, arguably making it the strongest statement in the Rap-A-Lot canon.
"Damn It Feels Good To Be A Gangsta" (Uncut Dope: Geto Boy's Best)
This song was actually released in 1992 on the Geto Boys' early compilation album Uncut Dope. The song regained classic status once again in 1999 when it appeared in the Mike Judge comedy Office Space.
Facemob "The Other Side Of The Law "(The Other Side Of The Law) 1996
Facemob was a collective of Houston talent put together by Scarface. The group consisted of 350, Devin The Dude, Smit-D, Chi-Ray, and a regional favorite in DMG, with Scarface writing and producing all the songs on their debut album The Other Side Of The Law.
The first single off the album was called "The Other Side Of The Side Of The Law." It received much respect and commercial success as it got a good amount of spins show like BET's Rap City and MTV's Yo! MTV Raps.
Mr. Scarface (Mr. Scarface Is Back) 1991
"Mr. Scarface" was the first single off Scarface's debut solo album Mr. Scarface Is Back. The song was one of the first to borrow themes from the 1983 crime drama film Scarface. In the song, Scarface explodes with this raw-filled rage. And it was a very beautiful thing, not only for gangsta rap, but for hip-hop in general.
"Nolia Clap" by Juvenile, Wacko, and Skip (Single) 2004
"Nolia Clap" was a single recorded by UTP, a New Orleans rap group composed of Juvenile, Wacko, and Skip, in 2004, for their debut album The Beginning of the End. The song called for listeners to clap for their cities. In the album mix, Skip boldly claims that UTP put their dicks in hoes' ears, asses, throat, and nose. Yeah... The video was filmed in the Magnolia projects of New Orleans.
Big Mike "Burban and Impalas" (Still Serious) 1997
"Burban and Impalas" is a song off rapper Big Mike's sophomore album "Still Serious."
The song kind of picks up where "Playa Playa" left off. Back then, Big Mike was worried about getting all the hoes, but he's mastered that game, and he still has fun playing from time to time, but now he's got his mind on money and success.
He also wants to remind everyone of his Louisiana origin, which he sums it up perfectly.
"Playa playa, make the hoes say dollar dollar. 'Burbans and Impalas. Makin niggas holler when the recognize a Louisiana straight comin Texas side."
This song was super dope because it featured two of the hottest gangsta rappers uniting against the media's demonization of the genre-- but Ice Cube and Scarface were real with us. The real gangsta lifestyle wasn't glamorous or awesome. This was a message for the youth. Being a real gangsta wasn't about cool cars and sexy women. You wanna be a real gangsta? You probably won't live long enough to rap about it.
Bun B, Pimp C, Young Jeezy, Jay-Z & Z-RO "Get Throwed" (Been Trill) 2005
"Get Throwed" was released at a time when many would argue Rap-A-Lot ruled hip-hop. Pimp C was finally released from prison and UGK had reunited. Z-Ro does an awesome job holding down the hook.
This would mark the first time Young Jeezy worked with Pimp C, as well as Jay-Z's first time working with UGK since "Big Pimpin." This was an amazing moment for Rap-A-Lot and Texas rap history. UGK for life.
Geto Boys "Crooked Officer" (Til Death Do US Part)" 1993
This song talked about the "crooked" police officers, the officers who profiled, harassed, beat up, and even killed black men-- the officers who beat up men like Rodney King, and the system who let them get away with it. By the way, the hook and concept was originally written for Dr. Dre's The Chronic as during that time Geto Boy Big Mike was tight with D.
Big Mike- "Playa Playa" 1993
In 1993, New Orleans rapper Big Mike almost signed with Dr Dre's Death Row Records, but received a call from Rap-A-Lot CEO James Prince to replace Willie D on the Geto Boys' album Til Death Do Us Part. Big Mike joined the group. but left when Willie D returned for the next album. He went on to have a successful solo career. His first album, Somethin' Serious, was released in 1994.
The album included the song "Playa Playa" about how other men have to pay women to women to sleep with them, but Big Mike is a true playa.
Scarface ft. Tupac "Smile" (The Untouchables) 1997
"You gotta be able to smile through all this bullshit. Remember that."--Tupac Shakur
Aptly titled, the rap legends remind us that we have to smile; especially during the worst of times. "Smile" was one of the last tracks Tupac ever recorded and was released shortly after his untimely death. A Tupac look-a-like was used for the video.
"Smile" was released at a time when the hip-hop community was mourning the loss of a young legend, and it inspired us to keep on smiling. Less than a month later, when the Notorious B.I.G was shot and killed, we would turn to the song for encouragement once again. Despite never working with Biggie, Scarface remembered him with a short poem. Rest In Peace Pac and Biggie.
UGK "Wood Wheel" (J Prince's RNDS Compilation) 1999 and Dirty Money (2001)
This song is an absolute classic for UGK, Rap-A-Lot Records, and the Houston hip-hop community.
Bun B warns that UGK is crashing your party and pissing on your parade. They've got sizzurp and they're gonna sip it like it's lemonade from Paris to the Palisades to the promenade.
This is UGK at its finest.
Z-Ro "Mo City Don" Freestyle (Let the Truth Be Told) 2005
Z-Ro is one of Rap-A-Lot Records most loyal rappers. signing to the label about ten years ago and never looking back. In 2005, he released the classic "Mo City Don" freestyle over Eric B and Rakim's "Paid In Full (7 Minutes of Madness)" beat. Pay attention and you'll hear a familiar Geto Boys song from this list cleverly tied in. One of the greatest things about Z-Ro is not only is he signed to the label, he's also a Rap-A-Lot fan.
Devin The Dude "Do What You Wanna Do" (The Dude) 1998
"Do What You Wanna Do" was about exactly that, doing whatever you wanted to do. Devin reminded us to respect our elders but to not let them control us. He also told us that there were some rules we should follow but to remember, we might not wake up tomorrow.
We've got one life to live, and we never know when that life will end, so we should live it to the fullest. "Do what tha fuck you wanna do and just say what tha fuck you wanna say."
Bushwick Bill "Ever So Clear" (Little Big Man) 1992
This song details the night Geto Boy Bushwick Bill forced his girlfriend to shoot him, costing him his right eye. Bill, born Robert Stephen Shaw, suffers from dwarfism, and almost died at birth. He never really felt like he belonged. He used to get funny looks until he got a record deal and started making a lot of money. Even though he had friends and bitches, something still didn't feel right...He didn't know who he could trust...
One night, he drank a bottle of Everclear and got extremely high, and he thought of shooting his girlfriend, but then he thought it would be "sweeter" to have his girlfriend shoot him. He was "tripping from all that smokin' weed and drinkin'." Bushwick provoked his girl to shoot him by beating her. When that didn't work, he threatened her son. His girlfriend still didn't want to shoot him, but eventually Bushwick literally forced her and he lost his right eye. This is one of hip-hop's most legendary tales, and "Ever So Clear' explains it in full detail.
While Scarface didn't rap about it much, "Fuck Faces" proved that the rapper had game, but for the most part, he was honorable and gentlemanly about it.
Truth be told, lines like "I'm shopping for a lady friend about your size" or "You must be used to all them finer thangs, infatuated by what money brangs..." won't work on all the ladies, but if you've tried them out, we won't tell!
Menace Clan "Da Hood" (Da Hood) 1995
Menace Clan was a hip-hop duo, consisting of Dante "Dee" Miller and Walter "Assassin" Adams signed to Rap-A-Lot Records.
Their debut album, Da Hood, failed to achieve great commercial success, and while their single "Da Hood" never made the Billboard charts it was one of the most influential hip-hop songs of, not only the era, but also in history.
"It's the hood I die for, cry, for, lie for, ride for. The only reason that I come outside for."
The song was about repping and protecting your hood to the fullest, and there was nothing out, but "Assassin" and Dee reminded us just how hard-edged the gangsta world really was-- "guns is a common sight," for instance.
What really stands out is as much as they're riding, dying, and lying for their hoods, they really want out. They want to escape. "They got me locked in. My hood's a pen."
Geto Boys "Assassins" (Making Trouble) 1988
"Assassins" appeared on Making Trouble, the Geto Boys (then known as the Ghetto Boys) debut album. During that time, the group consisted of Bushwick Bill, DJ Ready Red, Sire Jukebox, and Prince Johnny C.
The song was extremely violent and controversial.
At one point Johnny C plays the role of an elementary school student who is caught skipping school by his teacher. He robs her at gunpoint. She promises Johnny all As ans Bs, but that's not enough. He takes her money and shoots her dead.
"My father was a priest, cold blooded he's dead Hypocrite, I caught him basin, so I shot him in the head, poured on the holy water, 'Bless the dead' is what I said." Johnny C raps. The song deals with hustling and the gangsta life, doing whatever you can, even kill, to survive the streets. It's extremely gory and graphic. "Don't fuck with me. I'm an assassin."
This was true gangsta rap. After Making Trouble was released, Rap-A-Lot released Sire Jukebox and Johnny C and added Scarface and Willie D. DJ Ready Red remained with the group until 1991.
Seagram ft. Vell "The Vill" (The Dark Roads) 1993
Oakland rapper Seagram Miller released two albums in his lifetime, The Dark Roads, which dealt with violence and hard truths, and Reality Check, which offered a more easygoing West Coast style.
The Dark Roads featured the single "The Vill," about the difficult lifestyle of Oakland "Gs."
Seagram Miller was shot to death on July 31, 1996.
20 essential tracks from Rap-A-Lot Records.
Rap-A-Lot Records was founded by James "J Prince" Smith in Houston, TX in 1986, during hip-hop's Golden Age, as well as the time when Gangsta Rap was slowly starting to gain prominence. Stereotypically, Gangsta Rap is viewed as vulgar, and can sometimes promote violence against women without any really basis or message.
While this is the case with some artists, many gangsta rappers did have a real message. A message about the crimes and the ghettos of America, and a strong indignation against the entities that created them. These rappers were rebels, unafraid to voice their opinions.
Some of hip-hop's biggest rebels were birthed by Rap-A-Lot records, which J Prince formed out of a used car lot in order to keep his little brother off the streets.
Rap-A-Lot gave us the Geto Boys (who actually started out with an H in their name), rap pioneers who introduced us to Southern Hardcore Rap. the Geto Boys subsequently produced Scarface, a member of the group, who has also had a very successful solo career. Rap-A-Lot also gave us Big Mike, Seagram (RIP), Devin The Dude, and so many more.
The Geto Boys, which currently consists of Bushwick Bill, Scarface, and Willie D, was Rap-A-Lot's first major act, while Devin The Dude, was with the label the longest at 15 years. Artists currently on the roster are Bun B and Z-Ro
In 1994, when Biggie rapped "Not from Houston, but I Rap-A-Lot," I think it's safe to say that a lot of us weren't quite sure what he meant. The label was popular within Houston's hip-hop community, and we all knew the song "Mind Playing Tricks On Me," but to hear a New York rapper mention Rap-A-Lot was huge.
For over 20 years, J Prince put his heart and business sense into the independent label, which received backing from major labels, but the labels and the money didn't faze Rap-A-Lot's rappers. They always stayed true to their beliefs.
A lot of record labels have come and gone, but Rap-A-Lot is special. It's about heart, determination, and belief. It's about not being afraid to state your message. Rap-A-Lot brought us so much amazing music, HotNewHipHop thought it would be dope to countdown the 20 best Rap-A-Lot Records songs ever,