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I Want All That

Greg “Funk Daddy” Buren is a Seattle hip-hop all-star. In the 80’s he sharpened his craft as a DJ/rapper/producer, a force to be reckoned with. In the 90’s he exploded onto the national rap scene, thanks in no small part to his work with hyphy Bay Area emperor E-40. Right after Y2K, Funk Daddy continued to impress with his 2001 album I Want All That.

On “Intro,” perpetual weed-smoker B-Legit is ready to cosign for Funk Daddy, and he says so in as many words. Up-and-comer at the time Livio had just dropped his own debut single, and he joins Funk Daddy on the sardonic “All These Hos.” Groovy track “Freaks Sippin Hennessy” is an interpolation of Digital Underground’s 1990 sexy classic “Freaks Of The Industry,” and original Underground member Money B unspools an entertaining verse. Funk Daddy reunites with his Crooked Path partners Jay Skee and Dee-Lyrious on the excellent, upbeat cut “Just Don’t Stop.”

Rhyme Cartel-signed, rap/rock act Outtasite adds vocals to three tracks on I Want All That, album opener “Whatchuthought,” party anthem “Mah City’s Tight,” and the quite explicit “Ghetto Luv.” “Drinking till we see the sun, ladies be like two to to one, you don’t need no lady luck, bouncing like they’re down to f***,” goes a typical line from “Mah City’s Tight.” Portland’s Cool Nutz is featured on “Day To Day,” which has one of my favorite beats on the album. The various voices and guest appearances add zesty flavor to the project, and the album stays spicy from start to finish. The menu is assisted by rapper Mr. Rossi, who appears on most of the tracks here.

The artwork on the back of I Want All That is a city skyline, with the Space Needle modestly featured. This isn’t directed at Funk Daddy, but I have a question for all current Seattle hip-hop artists. Why do you need to put a picture of the Space Needle on your album? Is it so you can find your way home? Is it like sewing your name in your jeans to identify them?

In June of 2022, the company which owns the 1962 landmark sued a Seattle coffee business that used the Needle as its company logo. According to an article in US News & World Report, “Karen Olson, head of Space Needle operations and marketing, said the legal action is unusual. ‘We’ve never had to get to this point,’ Olson said. ‘I’m surprised that we’re here.’” In the past, the Needle let things slide, but brazen usage of the trademark has multiplied in recent years. Rappers, just ask yourselves, what am I trying to say by using the Needle in my art? Written by Novocaine132

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A Hustlaz Livin Hell

Self Tightld put out their first album Hustlin-N-Hell in 1998. On tracks like “Pleasure Pouches,” “Watch That B/N,” and “Growth And Development,” the five MCs showed their talent at the rap game. 1998 was a bittersweet year for the group, according to group member Maine 1’s Soundcloud page, which explains that the group lost member Rob Doe that year when he passed away. In 2000 the remaining four members, Maine 1, Popsykle, 2Elevn, and Sikface released their sophomore album, A Hustlaz Livin Hell. Many of the beats are handled by RC The Trackaholiq, with others by Beezie and Wingo. Star guest appearances include Mac Dre, Yukmouth, and B-Legit.

“Work” is interesting, and stands out for its bouncy, unusual style. “Guaranteed Profits,” produced by Seattle legend Mafia aka Skuntdunanna, has lots of open space for the Self Tightld rappers to do their jobs. Other highlights include celebratory track “Da Hustle Continues,” and the stark warning, “Don’t Enter My Domain.” One of the standout tracks on Hustlin-N-Hell, “Pleasure Pouches” featuring the aforementioned B-Legit, is also featured here on A Hustlaz Livin Hell.

This would be the second and last album for Self Tightld. Maine 1 has been a conscious MC since 2005 with the murder of his big brother, and now tries to educate people about the dangers of gang life. His recent tracks such as “Silent War,” Fake Love,” and “I Can’t Breathe,” are worth checking out. Rappers 2Elevn and Sikface also remain active in the scene. RIP to Popsykle, who passed away in 2018. Written By Novocaine132

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From the very beginning of Hustlin-N-Hell it’s clear that Central District representatives Self Tightld are going to take the listener into a dystopian drug dealing and gang banging lifestyle. The cover art shows a chaotic scene in which a cigar smoking skeleton, itself a symbol of death, appears to be wreaking havoc on Seattle. Self Tightld came together in the mid 1990s founded by Maine 1 who teamed up with four other members, Rob Doe, Popsykle, Sikface, and 2elevn. Whether the album glorifies the gangster lifestyle or warns against it will probably depend on the listener, for the tales are rich with ups and downs, victories and defeats, and of course the notorious legacy which comes with going out in a blaze of bullets.

Track two, “Hustlin In Hell” is emblematic of the album’s themes, namely survival is not guaranteed and you don’t get what you deserve but only what you bargain for. “Hustlin In Hell” drops a bread crumb which leads to another famous street rap from Seattle, “I’m not from Union but I’m hustlin,” referring to “Union Street Hustlers” by Ice Cold Mode. The album continues with bleak rhymes about violence in the neighborhood on “Northwest Gunfest,” “Ill Thoughts,” and “Problems.” “Leave these crimes alone and your life just might pop, or a pistol might pop and give your life an early stop,” goes one of my favorite lines on “Problems.” Lack of opportunity for youth is addressed in tracks like “Self Tightld,” “Live4Today,” and “Negatives.”

The group doesn’t only rap about gunplay and trap life, there are also songs like “MC Fo Short,” and “Rhymes Top Of The Line,” which show off verbal skills and drop challenges to other rappers. To their credit, Self Tightld don’t delve too deep into the “Rap about rap” rabbit hole in which rappers spend all their energy talking about their record label or other rappers.

There are several highlights on Hustlin-N-Hell including “Pleasure Pouches” which features an appearance from California’s B-Legit. “Pleasure Pouches” is predictably a paean to pot smoking, and the group celebrates cannabis with various clever rhymes. “Watch That B/N” is a reminder to be careful who you trust, because there is a hustle lurking around every corner. Another track that shines is “Growth And Development,” a very meta message about how to choose the right path in life. Each of us is “Chillin in a crossroads,” as the song puts it, and we must do the right thing or risk a literal dead end. Due to its popularity, Hustlin-N-Hell was re-released by Point Side four years later in 2002. Rest in peace to group members Rob Doe who passed in 1998, and Popsykle who passed in 2018. Written by Novocaine132

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Hustlin-N-Hell EP

Self Tightld was a five member rap group from Seattle, and according to Discogs the members were Maine 1, 2elevn, Popsykle, Sikface and Rob Doe. Their CD Hustlin-N-Hell came out in 1998. That same year, the group dropped a promo-style vinyl EP containing four songs from Hustlin-N-Hell, and the EP is a good introduction to this prominent Seattle rap crew.

Track one on side A, “MC Fo Short,” is all about how ‘MC’ stands for Mangle Competition. For instance, “I rep from the Central District of Seattle, competition will agonize and die from the battle.” Next up is “Pleasure Pouches” which is all about smoking grass. “Pleasure Pouches” features one of my all-time favorite rappers, B-Legit from The Click who sounds like he’s having fun here. “Seattle’s got greens like California,” he raps in his syrupy style. The third song is “Watch That B…N,” which reminds the listener to always be on the alert for someone trying to hustle them.

Side B starts with a clean radio version of “MC Fo Short,” a smart move for any group trying to gain exposure. If you make it easier for radio to embrace you then you will get more spins, it goes without saying. The last cut on the EP is titled “Negatives,” and features guest appearances by turntablist DV One and Northwest rap heavyweight Gangsta Nutt. “Negatives” sounds vaguely like 1995’s “Gangster’s Paradise” by Coolio with the same moody type of operatic string melody in the beat. During a decade when vinyl was nearing its lowest sales point, Self Tightld still chose that specific format for this EP, which showed a commitment to DJ culture and keeping wax alive. Written by Novocaine132

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