Da Good, Da Bad & Da Ugly
Rap-A-Lot Records, 1998
REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 08/13/1999
As much as I like rap music (and, yes, even gangsta rap), I never developed an interest in The Geto Boys. I should have been attracted to this band after Geffen refused to release their debut in 1990 due to qualms with a track dealing with murder and necrophobia... but I just wasn't.
In fact, had I not received the band's latest disc, Da Good, Da Bad & Da Ugly to review, I might not have ever really been interested enough to give them a chance in the Pierce Memorial Archives. But this disc - featuring original members Willie Dennis and Brad "Scarface" Jordan - shows that while any act can rap about violence and spew obscenities, the true artists separate themselves from the rest of the pack.
There is one thing I do have to note at the start. Anyone who's read this site for some time knows that the biggest complaint I have with rap music is the overuse of guest artists, who tend to distract from the main artist. In the case of the Geto Boys, they do utilize additional rappers, but to my surprise, it was impossible for me to tell when their contributions kicked in. It's rare for these transitions to be this seamless, and it's a welcome change.
After the controversy surrounding acts like N.W.A and 2 Live Crew over the years, as well as the popularity of artists like 2Pac, the shock over gangsta rap has definitely worn down a lot from 10 years ago. Likewise, what would have been shocking in 1990 might not raise a lot of eyebrows these days.
But what Dennis and Jordan do well is keep you interested throughout the rap with well-written lyrics and killer sample-based grooves. Tracks like "Livin' 4 The Moment," "I Don't F* With You" (not my censorship), "Why U Playin'" and "Gangsta (Put Me Down)" all show why this band had a following - and, later in their career, a hit in "Mind Playin' Tricks On Me".
Admittedly, I'm not crazy about the massive use of the term "nigga," which flows almost as freely as the swear words (which actually don't bother me). If anything, the obscenities occasionally hammer a point home - which is something I don't think a lot of people gave some gangsta rap the credit for.
The question, of course, is why did it take me so long to give the Geto Boys a chance on the CD player? Well, in the end, I don't know, but I do know that Da Good, Da Bad & Da Ugly is going to be a tough disc to take out of the CD player. If you liked anything this band has done, chances are you're going to love this disc.