The 80’s were a great time for the NBA. The beginning of the decade brought Magic and Bird, and by the mid 80’s Air Jordan had brought he league to a whole new level. Hip-hop came into it’s own almost at the same time. Hip-hop was also ushered in to mass popularity by stars like Public Enemy, Run DMC, and the Beastie Boys. If Public Enemy were Jordan, Edo G and the Bulldogs would have been Clyde Drexler. Always around but never quite reaching the same popularity of other similar artists.
Edo G.’s and Da Bulldog’s 1991 debut, Life of a Kid in the Ghetto, was arguably one of the better if somewhat unheard East Coast albums of the early 90s. With strong political cuts like the title track and “Be a Father to Your Child”, it was like a more laidback version of Public Enemy. After releasing an even less heard follow-up in 1993 their 1996 LP, Acting was shelved until it’s recent release.
Edo G. has always been good on the mic. He’s got a great baritone voice that fits smooth over almost any beat. His lyrics have always been smart if not always so subtle. Unfortunately the biggest compromise with this album is the production. Being readied for release in 1996 it’s extremely dark and seems to be trying to imitate Notorious BIG and Wu-Tang Clan differing from their previous Marley Marl inflected production of their earlier years.
The album’s title track is so grimey one can pictures the puddles and trash filtering through the gutter at 2 AM in the city. As good as anything that actually made it onto shelves in ’96, it’s a great opening to the album, but the tracks that follow don’t manage to match its effortless sound. The album is definitely front-loaded as the next song, “Dedicated”, is relatively simple, but manages to make its relatively sparse beat work perfect under Edo G.’s flow.
As the album moves on however, it starts trying to ape more than the East Coast and starts to adopt a Death Row bounce. It’s not entirely off, but it feels like it’s out of its element. It does come back around though like on “What’s the Deal” (featuring Big Shug and Scientifik), as the production could have been rocked by any Wu affiliate with ease. Heck Edo. G. even drops a suspiciously familiar rhyme name-dropping sing-sing.
The re-issue also features 3 remixes with slightly different production of the songs. Altogether there’s some good material on here, but unfortunately Edo. G and Da Bulldogs never got quite big enough to get their own shoe as it were they were forced into wearing someone else’s Jordans. Edo G has continued on with solo projects and new group efforts he’s now a player Coach running his own game and helping new artists. Edo G hails from Boston and it seems appropriate he’s now become a sort of Bill Russell to the game. – Dane Johnson
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