Geto Boys – Till Death Do Us Apart
The Geto Boys released their 4th album in 1993 and featured a different line up. Big Mike joined Scarface and Bushwick Bill on Till Death Do Us Part and proved he was an above average lyricist. He was already familiar with Rap A Lot as he was one half of The Convicts. You didn’t even miss the fact that Willie D was absent this go around chasing his solo dreams. Production for the album was handled by the usual Rap A Lot in house production team that includes N.O. Joe, John Bido, and James Smith.
Speaking of James Smith, the legendary owner of the Rap A Lot label, he starts off the album on its intro. Over a slowed down bass heavy production, Smith discusses his haters and racists and offers his thoughts toward “the DEA, IRS, and other wicked people in high places” who may think: “Those guys at Rap-A-Lot must be doing something wrong, because it’s no way a group of niggas from the ghetto can run a multi-million dollar business.” He promptly assures everyone that he has done everything legally, by “hiring lawyers and accountants”.
After James Smith’s intro, the trio get busy on “G.E.T.O.” All three had rough verses and also featured some scratching, courtesy of former member, DJ Domination.
Till Death Do Us Apart
Scarface had a few solo joints with the best being the hard hittin, head nodding “It Ain’t.” Over an aggressive Bill Withers sample, Face give us 2 verses letting punks know don’t fuck with him. “No Nuts, No Glory” was a Big Mike solo venture where he tells the tale of a ex-con that was betrayed by his former partner. He shines with his old Convicts partner, Mr. 3-2 to describe their formative years growing up in the hood and describes the essence of what is “Straight Gangsterism”… easily one of the top ten most underrated tracks ever. The single was released later on 1993 and featured a hypnotic groove with a bassline harder than adamantium. Big Mike describes his admiration for the elders in his neighborhood when he rhymes:
I was a curious child
I used to hang out by the ballroom and study the gangsta style
The way they talk, the way they walk
The way they act, the way they wore that gangsta hat
Tilted, rim laid flat out, now that’s the type a shit I’m talkin’ about, yeah
Cigarette in one hand, drink in the other
Leanin’ to one side, cooler than a motherfucker
With the gangsta ass nicknames
Gillie’ Boy, Pokey, Big Joe, Goldie, Lil Lane Leanin’ to one side, cooler than a motherfucker
True muthafuckin’ mack daddies, bitch on the side, drivin’ the ’73 caddy
With a chrome plated 357
ready to send a motherfucker On a stairway to heaven
Mr 3-2 ends the song on a perfect note when he rhymes:
I don’t know will I ever be a cell mate
But I do know I’m never goin’ straight… gangsterism
Scarface joined the party and blessed us with the final clean verse on the video version.
“Street Life” was the heartfelt tale told by Scarface that first landed on the soundtrack to the early 90’s hood flick, South Central. The story was based on one of the characters, Jimmy, a young cat caught up in the streets. He wanted to do the right thing, however the the street life had its tractor beam locked directly on Jimmy. The faint sample from Randy Crawford’s timeless “Street Life” on the hook was lovely. You can hear the emotion bleeding through Scarface’s rhymes which would emerge on his later solo albums.
Along these same lines is the albums highest charting single; the profound “Six Feet Deep.” The song begins with Marvin Gaye’s lament “There’s far too many of you dying.” Then the Commodores slowed down loop based on “Easy” with subdued and solemn drums takes over. Each member grabs the mic and describes their feelings of losing someone close. The listener can certainly hears the passion coming through each MC’s voice. Even the video on youtube is filled with fans shouting out loved ones in the comments. This is one of the most touching tribute songs in hip hop.
Six Feet Deep
“Crooked Officer” was the unforgettable song that discussed police brutality and raised a few eyebrows. Big Mike helms the memorable “Mr. Officer, crooked officer / I wanna put yo ass in a coffin, sir” chorus, while each member vents his frustration with law enforcement while making explicit threats.
The album isn’t all serious and somber though. “Cereal Killer” is along the same lines of Cubes “Gangsta Fairytale’, Mobb Deep’s “Drink Away the Pain” and Spice 1’s “ 187 Proof.” The entire crew jumps on “This Dick Is For You.” This love song is such a beautiful piece of art. My favorite part (other than the ridiculous hook) has got to be Bushwick Bill’s Valentines Day card:
What other nigga do you know that can handle this
Hijack the pussy from the back and dismantle it
It sounds kind of difficult, but it ain’t
The only difficulty that occurs is when the pussy’s stank
Cause then I’m a have to send you home and throw you in a ditch
Or leave you for the garbage man you unsanitary bitch
Before James Smith wraps up with album with another short monologue, Earth is introduced to one of the best posse cuts ever made. Featuring a simplistic yet extra funky beat, various artists from the mighty label got on the song and showcased their styles. 2 Low starts off and hit us with his adolescent bravado while Seagram followed and represented for Oakland. The incomparable Devin the Dude shows up and makes one of his first appearances on wax as a member with the Odd Squad. Ganxsta Nip serves us a slice of his psychotic bars.
Too Much Trouble, DMG, 5th Ward Boyz, Lord 3-2, Big Mello and Scarface all had verses. These godfathers to the Screwed Up Click that would emerge at the end of the decade were able to put together one of the hardest joints ever. This has been on repeat for 24 years.
Bring It On
1993 offered heat from all over the country and that’s the perfect way to describe the 4th offering from the Geto Boys. This album married misogyny, realism, and ignorance with a thick gumbo of samples and original instrumentation. If you’ve never heard “Till Death Do Us Part,” or just forgot all about it then stop your grinin, drop your linen and go study his album.