After growing up in a place where the only active music scenes were Christian and hardcore (or hardcore Christian), it’s so refreshing to live in Oakland where the rap scene is not just currently active but has roots that are older than I am and split in all kinds of unexpected directions. Sure, before moving here I knew the essentials: E-40, Too $hort, B-Legit, Spice 1, Lil’ B, and maybe a couple others, but living here for the past three years has exposed me to so many more and with each new discovery my desire to rep the Bay in any kind of rap discussion grows. Thanks to The Martorialist I’m now heavy into Nef the Pharaoh, the Jacka’s untimely passing has caused me to delve deeper into his (and other lesser-known Bay Area artists’) music than I ever did before, Noz put me on Turf Talk last year, the list goes on and on.
Today I got another addition to that list when SergDun posted a photo of his copy of Game 2 Be Sold by the Fairfield duo E.Z.S.D. I wasn’t sure if it was just an interesting Bay Area rap oddity (G Funk from Fairfield?) or if it was a truly solid album at first, but he assured me that it was “easily” better than Snoop’s album of nearly the same name (which is a really good album) so I had to see what the deal was.
Serg was not bullshittin’. Besides having maybe the funkiest rap song ever recorded and some of the thickest bass of the 90s, there’s one unusually upbeat track with a prominent sample that made me want to dig a little deeper.
E.Z.S.D. – Money Makin’ Genius
Turns out it’s a flip of a moderately popular disco/funk track from 1980 by the group that arguably beat Sugarhill Gang to the first rap record spot.
Fatback – Gotta Get My Hands On Some (Money)
I admit it’s not the most mindblowing revelation to hear the original in relation to the sampled version, “Gotta Get My Hands On Some” isn’t exactly the deepest, rarest cut by any means and its treatment by E.Z.S.D. is great but nothing revolutionary. The really interesting thing about it is its connection to a very different song that is primarily a masterful reworking of “Geto Boys and Girls” but also has a little sprinkle of Fatback as it turns out.
Z-Ro – Eyes On Paper
Add this to the list of corny 80s songs that you’d think Z-Ro would be embarrassed to be associated with; he did the same thing with “Cherish the Day” on “Respect My Mind“, with “True” on “Continue 2 Roll“, with “Holding Back the Years” on “Rollin‘“, with “Outstanding” on “Still Standing“, and the goofiest was when he turned “Ring My Bell” into “Bring My Mail“. I’m glad I’ve got one more example of this strange penchant of Z-Ro’s for turning thirty-year-old cheeze into SLAB gold, and I’m glad I’ve got the Bay (and Serg) to thank for it.