Thursday, May 13, 2010

This One Goes To Eleven

Volume 10: You Won't Get Much HIIGHAAAAAAAAHH
I don't understand how folks put this record down. People complain about how it didn't live up to the heat "Pistolgrip Pump" sparked, but I totally disagree. To my ears, this record not only captures the intensity of Volume's debut single, but expands on it in multiple directions to create an energetic and diverse slab of classic west coast hip hop.
Coming out in 1993, Hip-Hopera occupied a unique spot in the then rapidly-evolving world of thug rap. Reaching far beyond what had become the stereotypical themes of violence and misogyny in gangsta, Volume 10 also spoke of fidelity, cultural self-destruction, and the joys of fatherhood - all the while keeping shit heavy. Similarly, the musical vibes employed on Hip-Hopera are varied as well - From the thunderous beats and violent imagery of "Pistolgrip" and "Flow Wood," to the oldschool flavor of the title cut, to the nearly psychedelic nature of "Sunbeams." But the biggest distinction Hip-Hopera had from the other records of the time was the vertigo-inducing lyrical styles Volume and his cohorts employed.

His bombastic delivery is equal parts unnerving, innovative, frightening, and humorous. He seems on the verge of tripping over his own lagging lines, only to rush ahead quadruple-speed to catch up to the beat, yelling at the top of his lungs all the while. And while his attempts at freestyling on the album can be a little painful at times, he makes up for it by being funny as hell, and for having a few other cats on deck to take up the slack - J-Smoov, RKA, Smooth 7, and (most notably) Ganjah K, who absolutely kills it.
Employing one of the more far-out rap deliveries at the time, Heavyweight and ex-U.N.I.T.Y. Committee member Volume 10 seemed at first as likely to be a novelty act as become a major player in the LA scene. And although it's true that "Pistolgrip" was his first and biggest hit, he is far from a flash in the pan. He has remained a consistent member in the LA underground, and still puts out awesome records. And I consider this album to be among the very best that fertile movement has to offer. Producers include Massive, Fat Jack, the Baka Boyz, Cut Chemist, and DJ Homicide.

Hip-Hopera

4 comments:

  1. love this review...you're absolutely right

    keep it up!

    ....321....

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  2. d O P E, Classic ish!

    ReplyDelete
  3. this is cool but try to find the demo it got around and was reviewed in a issue of rappages in the bboykingdom...i have this tape but it would be nice to have the file for my itunes!! but its gone please repost lol

    ReplyDelete