UGK's Top 10 Most Insightful Songs, Part 2
As Rocks Off continues our countdown of UGK's Most Insightful Tracks, it's important to point out that this isn't a "best of" list. Perhaps this is a safer route, but it doesn't make the list any less important. Especially as we break into the Top 5, the joking in Part 1 subsides and things get serious. We begin to venture into the most emotional and inspiring tracks in UGK's catalogue.
To catch you up, last Friday, we released rankings six through 10.
10. "Da Game Been Good To Me"
9. "Swishas and Dosha"
8. "Ain't That a Bitch"
7. "Purse Comes First"
6. "Hi Life"
Let's finish strong. UGK's Top 10 Most Insightful Tracks, Pt. 2.
Hands down, the most insightful words to come out the late Pimp C's mouth were "country rap tunes." It was original and incredibly capturing of the times, when people didn't really know how to describe what form of hip-hop the South was generating for the world. To the the unfamiliar Yankee ear, Southern hip-hop can irk, but perhaps more unsettling to outsiders, Southern record sales and radio domination can cause contentious dialogue between regions of America.
What did top-selling author Paulo Coelho write? "If someone isn't what others want them to be, the others become angry."
"Quit Hatin' The South" couldn't have encapsulated the concept of country rap tunes and Coelho's writings in song better, and frankly, it was what needed to be said at the height of a changing hip-hop landscape. Better yet, it needed to be said by an undeniable force in hip-hop.
This track was insightful because it educated whoever listened that hip-hop is a moving and unforgiving bulb. It shifts and it'll leave you in the dark faster than it gave you light. Hip-hop is cyclical. And it's our turn. The bluesy beat and Pimp C's elbow in your mouth lyrical assault was an unexpected pairing to make the kind of statement it made, but it worked.
Bun's insight was more mellow, but hard-hitting in its content eloquently establishing him as a student of hip-hop's roots, someone who supported the music when its spotlight shone furthest from his ZIP code and calling for mutual respect. Willie D echoed the sentiment.
I've been down with rap music since Cold Crush and Melle/ Before MTV put Run-D.M.C. on the tele/ Back when Whodini tried to tell ya about ya friends/ Nigga I was giving rap all my time and my ends/ Bought damn near every record the muthafucka dropped/ West coast gangsta music, East coast hip-hop/ Now it's our time to shine and the tables is turned/ Them muthafuckas aggravated 'cause we gettin some burn
Perhaps when it comes to the subjects of envy and hate, "Diamonds and Wood" cannot be surpassed in its nail-on-the-head, 5:15-long outpour about the two-faced phenomenon that takes hold of one's closest friends when success is apparent, or when your baby momma holds your child hostage and outright wants to destroy your life.
The beauty of "Diamonds" is the weight the simplest of phrases hold with its audience. They have so much impact on the listener, and that was probably due to their ability to resonate, focusing on timeless subject matters -issues that don't have any expiration date.
"I got a baby but his mama act like he ain't mine/ Wicked women use children to live on/ Want to hurt and try to hate because she know the thrill is gone," Pimp C spits.
Baby-mama drama is a universal syndrome and impacts all walks of life. It doesn't favor one race or ethnicity and that's a big reason "Diamonds" penetrated deep into the barrio, ghettos and suburbia alike.
Who could forget the nodding of understanding everyone gave at the track's preface: "Chokin' like a mother fucker got a bone in this throat, let's me know, they can't stand it. But...fuck 'em"
If we were rating the best entrances to a song of all time, well, you already know.
The thing about being insightful is that it doesn't have to be this articulate or profound rant. Sometimes it just has to state the obvious and kind of be the first to do it in a powerful way. "Diamonds" achieved that on an incredible level.
"Niggas frown when you up and smile when you down/ And when you change for the better shife fools stop comin' around."
It was like that in 1994, and it's the same in 2011. Timeless.