The Latest who-is-more-down-with-black-ppl-from-the-south kerfuffle on the rap blogosphere got me thinking about when I was first exposed to the charms of UGK myself. Like every other early 30-something raised on Compton's Most Wanted, the Menace II Society soundtrack was an instant cop in 1993 for Eiht's Streiht Up Menace, and although it also included exclusives by everyone from Short and Quik to Brand Nu' and Pete & CL (not to mention KRS and Spice 1, though their tracks later turned up on their 187 He Wrote and Return Of The Boom-Bap albums), the highlight ended up being UGK's Pocket Full Of Stones remix.
This would be the first time anybody in the UK had ever heard UGK (these were the days before any non-Rap-A-Lot or Luke affiliated southern rap was acknowldged by The Source and HHC) and, save for appearances on Big Mike's Somethin' Serious and Scarface's My Homies, it'd unfortunately be the last we heard from them until 1999 when they appeared on Big Pimpin' since neither Super-Tight or Ridin' Dirty made it over here. A year or so later home internet and all the music finding delights it entailed - specifically Napster, Audiogalaxy and eBay - became standard (I'd only been only the internet twice prior to the year 2000 : once was spent looking up the pornstar Laura Turner, the other was spent browsing the Mr Bongo's new releases section and checking out that site which listed all the samples used on Paul's Boutique) and Ridin' Dirty would be one of the first albums I attempted to download due to the praise it received in the Ego Trip book, where it featured prominently in both the best albums of '96 list and the slept on albums list. It took about 2 days to download the intro and 3 songs before i gave up and hit eBay up for a copy which took about a month to arrive. Since then they've ascended their way into my top 5 rap groups alongside Eric B. & Rakim, NWA, OutKast and Brand Nubian circa One For All. Sorry, Penthouse Players Clique, but you've been shunted down the pecking order to the less glamourous position of 6th place.
Anyway, there was a Pimp C interview not long before he died where he talked about how the Pocket Full Of Stones remix was the record which really made UGK, not just because its placement on the Menace soundtrack broke them nationally, but because it was the song where they found their own identity and sound. Interestingly, he noted Too $hort and not The Chronic as his key production influence as he'd been jamming some $hort with his uncle who hated the early UGK records and Pimp's favourite records by BDP, Public Enemy, NWA, Ice-T and Geto Boys, but dug some $hort Dog due to the "musicality" of the live instrumentation used on them, which he suggested Pimp should add to UGK. Pimp decided to experiment with this idea for a remix of their then most popular song (though Bun still thinks the original is the song UGK are going to be remembered for) and the rest is history.
UGK - Pocket Full Of Stones Pimp C Remix
And so Country-Rap was born. This is a song which forever altered rap that's as important to the south as Sucker MC's or Ego Trippin' were to the east coast or Ice-T's 6 In The Mornin' were to the west (though I still suggest that his earlier track Killers was the true turning point). Listen to any southern Gang$ta-Rap song before the Pocket Full Of Stones remix and 8 times outta 10 it'll be yer usual breaks whipped up into something vaguelly resembling a vintage beat for NWA or CMW (the other two times it'll be a vaguelly spooky minimal synth over an 808 a la Colors or Drama by Ice-T), listen to any southern Gang$ta-Rap after the Pocket Full Of Stones remix, however, and it's a whole 'nother story, best evidenced on the albums by fellow Texans Big Mike and Scarface in '94, and the stark contrast between Organized Noize's production on the Parental Advisory album in '93 and OutKast's debut in '94. Things done changed.
I leave you today with a picture of Laura Turner, the porno actress I mentioned earlier in the post with regards to my early intehnetz exploits. You only really need to possess 2 porn movies : the 1st porno you ever saw and whatever Buttman movie it was where Laura met John "Buttman" Stagliano and Rocco Siffredi while merrily scampering along Tower Bridge in a pair of hot pants with a blond mate who mysteriously disappears halfway through the pounding Rocco and Buttman are giving them.
There's a scary amount of videos of Ellesmere Port's Vauxhall Motors football team on Youtube, yet the Channel 5 documentary Laura Turner appeared in with her fellow pornstar husband some time around 1998 or 1999 isn't on there? What kind of world are we living in?