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by Matt Conaway
20 January, 2003@12:00 am
0 comments

After numerous Cold Chillin classics with former partner DJ Polo (Road To The Riches and Wanted: Dead Or Alive) Kool G Rap has spent the last decade trying to get above ground.  However, a series of roadblocks have prevented G Rap from doing just that; his solo career has been marred by record industry rule #4080, under-funded labels (1998′s Roots Of Evil) with poor distribution and a lack of promotion (“Fast Life” f/Nas from 4,5,6 should have been a breakout smash).  While G Rap has signed more bad deals then Slum Village, when the wayward warrior finally caught a break and secured a “major” deal with Rawkus, it had to bring a smile to every real heads face—right?

Unfortunately, with G Rap, huge steps forward are routinely followed by (out of his control) steps back.  And after being held virtually hostage by Rawkus during their negotiations with MCA, the buzz for G Rap’s once anticipated Rawkus debut, The Giancana Story, has been vanquished by innumerable delays, reworkings, massive Internet bootlegging and his eventual release from the label.  For the many that downloaded the original version of Giancana Files, it’s not like any of this should come as a huge surprise.  Rather then playing into G Rap’s strengths, Rawkus veered away from them, as they attempted to turn him into a commercially accessible artist, when his fanbase and heart are in “The Streets”. 

Yet, similar to Royce Da 5’9′s Rock City V.2.0, Koch obligingly stepped into the picture and has attempted to salvage the LP—with a few changes.    Refurbishing the advanced version of Giancana Files, Koch does manage to trim some of the fluff (collaborations with G Rap’s strong armed Black Guerilla Family are thankfully cut) and gives the LP some needed street flavor.   “The Streets” is Mozart meets Rich “Alpo” Porter, as Buckwild’s Mandolin throbs, intertwines nicely with G Rap’s hood scriptures. Also, G Rap connects nicely with Havoc (Of Mobb Deep) on the smooth Bink produced “Where You At” and on “Thug Chronicles” where the Ghetto Pros  conduct G Rap’s own personalized theme music—gun claps included!!

However, The Giancana Story also moves forward without a slew of previous standouts; including the Hi-Tek produced “Keep Goin” featuring Snoop Dogg & Kokane, “G Rap Is A Villain”, “This Means War” and DJ Premier’s essential “First Nigga” remix.  Not to mention, a scratched appearance by Nas, as his verse on “Holla Back” is replaced by Tito and Nawz? (Check the white label 12″ for the original mix).  

While G Rap is still at the top of the Thug elite; check the way he rips a sick double time cadence on “Fight Club”, or the visual vignette he paints on “Black Widow.”  The Rawkus recorded exclusions, dated production and the cookie cutter formula of “Good Die Young”, “Blaze Wit Ya’ll” featuring Jinx Da Juvy (who somehow has a deal with Def Jam) and the Roger Troutman  sampled “My Life” all wear thin.

Though G Rap is unquestionably one of hip-hop’s most respected emcees (peep the Roots  dedication, “Thought At Work” from Phrenology) what was supposed to be G Rap’s moment in the sun, has instead turned into perhaps the saddest chapter of his career. 

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