Underground Kingz

UGK

Jive, 2007

http://myspace.com/ugk

REVIEW BY: Ben Ehrenreich

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 09/06/2007

For all those music fans that only recognize UGK for their popular guest appearance on Jay-Z’s megahit “Big Pimpin,’” this is the album that could potentially place them in “Big Pimpin’” territory from a popularity standpoint.

Underground Kingz has more commercial appeal than Paris Hilton, and with the right marketing UGK may no longer be able to call itself underground. Look no further than the first track, “Swisha And Dosha,” that is comprised of a painfully addictive guitar riff melded with smooth crooning that is sure to receive radio play if released.

UGK has figured out that big beats mixed with big hooks equals big anthems and Underground Kingz is filled with them. Whether it’s lessons in braggadocio on “The Game Belongs To Me,” the Southern drawl infested hook of “Underground Kingz,” or the Scarface assisted Houston reunion on “Still Ridin’ Dirty,” you will definitely be equipped with car music for the next two months.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

While Underground Kingz has a plethora of gangsta tracks, I actually prefer the ones that are a bit more introspective. With 29 tracks, there are plenty here. “Heaven” is a heartfelt moment where we see UGK uncharacteristically vulnerable; Bun B talks about the unfair suffering through which a child born in the ghetto goes. “How Long Can It Last” is another excellent commentary on how the wealthy often have a very unfair view of the poor.

Pimp C gets a rare solo moment on “Shattered Dreams” to talk about the fact that no matter where you are in life, it is not too late to change the direction in which your life is going. These elements would be the last thing most people would think to find on a UGK record, and it shows great personal growth for both MCs.

The highlight for me on this album is “Quit Hatin’ On The South,” which is a laid back guitar anthem for any southern MC who was discriminated against because of some of the poor quality of music to be released commercially from the South. (I won’t mention any names because UGK doesn’t.) This song features Charlie Wilson, who makes the hook sound like a beautiful plea rather than a mandate. The mandate is left to the other guest Geto Boy, Willie D, who admits some of the acts in the South are “trash,” but the same goes for both the coasts as well. I couldn’t agree more.

I view Underground Kingz as a southern double length version of The Chronic. Dr. Dre’s first solo release did not have lyrical heat on every track, but it united the coast with the revolutionary production and confident swagger. I don’t know if Underground Kingz will do the same, but it definitely is a statement from veterans who were counted out when Pimp C went away.

Even the guests are ridiculous on Underground Kingz. UGK courted Outkast, Talib Kweli, Big Daddy Kane and Kool G Rap, just to name a few. The only problem I have with this disc is the length, as usual. A double album very rarely would be better than a smaller version of itself. I prefer an 8 oz. filet to a 12 oz. porterhouse because I like my meat trim. There is plenty of A material on this album; unfortunately, there is just enough filler to depreciate the quality material. Get the album, but only expect to be partially blown away.

Rating: C+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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