Who Dat Rapper 10-23-16
Cold Chillin was one of the first prominent hip hop labels during the golden age of hip hop. Sure there was Def Jam, but Marley Marl was able to put together heavyweights that jettisoned to superstardom; The Juice Crew. There were also some obscure emcees. Remember, obscure certainly doesn’t mean mediocre. Enter Grand Daddy IU. Born in Queens, then relocated to Long Island, he got his big break when his demo tape was passed to Biz Markie. Grand Daddy IU started ghost writing which led to his debut album, produced entirely by Biz.
September 1990 was my first year of high school and the release of Grand Daddy IU’s debut album, “Smooth Assassin”. You may suspect just looking at the album cover that this dapper man draped in an expensive suit rocking a cane, will whoop that ass with it if you cross him. He delves into that persona throughout his career. The show begins with “The U Is Smooth,” one of most silky smooth songs of 1990. Over the familiar Grover Washington Jr sample, Grand Daddy IU basically introduces himself to the world.
(Move em, U) Ah yeah, the U’s in effect
Live and direct I project my intellect
I wrote another verse for imitators to copy-cat
You learn the words, recitin’s where you get sloppy at
You can’t kick it quite like the U can
Any fan in the stand can tell whose rhymes you ran
The slow alto sax during the hook catapults you to a juke joint in upstate NY. “Pick up the Pace” is much more upbeat and features our host battle rhyming. “Something New” is beautiful and next on the tape. The swinging piano sample and strong drum pattern is the perfect backdrop for Grand Daddy IU to talk his smooth shit over.
Grab a seat and take heed to the entrepreneur
For, sure it’s raw, literature hardcore
I’m light but not white, quite bright, that’s right
A parasite who bite I’ll invite to fright night!
So let it be known, the rap throne I own; so
leave my bone and my microphone alone
I gets paid, while others get slayed
You’re goin out like a roach, I go out like Raid
Grand Daddy I.U. – Something New
3 songs in and you just want to rewind and hear it all again. The heat doesn’t end here though. “Mass Destruction” never sounded so glorious. “Girls In the Mall” is a story about a chick named Kenya he met in the mall. IU kicked one long verse about their encounter. Grand Daddy IU flexed his story telling chops again on “Nobody Move”. This cautionary tale has him robbing banks, but then finds himself behind bars. Another smooth production from Biz. Grand Daddy IU reaches the epitome of smooth on the majestic “Sugar Free”. Over a Juicy’s sample, Grand Daddy IU lets vocalist Mary Brown carry this masterpiece. IU only has one verse which includes one of my favorite lines of all time.
Give me some head and a whole lot of freedom
Definitely on my top 20 hip hop songs ever. “Smooth Assassin” is an extremely underrated album. Biz Markie’s laid back instrumentals and strong rhymes from the rookie made this album unforgettable.
Grand Daddy IU-Sugar Free
“Lead Pipe” was Grand Daddy IU’s sophomore album. “Represent” and “Keep It Real” were probably two of the mostly used titles in hip hop during the 90’s. He definitely capitalized and released his self produced first single, “Represent”. The track was extremely jazzy, but Grand Daddy IU showed a tougher side this time around with rhymes like:
Aiyyo the only remains is bloodstains spilled brains and broke bones
You step in my face with the games you get smoked homes
I got a master plan to blast a man
Faster than niggas can plea, it’s disaster and
Mayhem and havoc on the scene
You see what I mean, when I bust the sixteen in your spleen
Grand Daddy I.U. – Represent
Another standout is the phenomenal “As I Flow On”. This was the perfect collaboration of smooth and rugged. He lets you know when he rhymes
Now who can take r&b and make it as hard as me
The fast paced piano chords, the singing on the hook, the piano solo at the end, and that thumping 90’s bassline solidifies this as one of my favorites in his catalog
Yo, check the flow, you gots to know there’s none smoother
The real mack is back with a dope stack maneuver
What I provide’s bonafide, sheer artistry
Now who can take r&b and make it as hard as me
This may be his second album, but if you thought he fell, he addresses this at the end of each verse:
You thought the U fell off, hey yo, brother, you’re wrong
Sit back and take notes as I flow on
Grand Daddy I.U. – As I Flow On
These were the first songs on the tape, and it was hella hard for highschool aged T and I in Buffalo to get past them. The majority of the rest of the album features a tough talking Grand Daddy IU. “We Got Da Gats”, “Blast a New Asshole”, “Wet Em Up”, and “Dead Men Don’t Talk” all paint him to be the baddest on the block. Granddaddy IU even gets his Nino Brown on in the drug tale, “Low Key”. During the mid 90’s we didn’t want to hear murder raps from someone as smooth as the Granddaddy. Rap was in the midst of a change during this time, and other artists like Spice 1, B.I.G, Snoop and Mobb Deep were more than able to paint those types of stories. He’s at his best on gems like the ultra smooth “Don’t Stress Me”.
The following year, Grand Daddy IU jumped on an important tracks in history. He joined the lethal Big L; the wordsmith Lord Finesse and a young Jay Z on “Da Graveyard”.
Big L – Da Graveyard
Stick To The Script
Grand Daddy IU returned in 2007 with ‘Stick To The Script”. The music scene was completely different then when he was in his prime. He didn’t conform or change his style at all. Grand Daddy proves that a golden age rapper can still get busy. “Regrets” is an introspective tale where he seems to apologize for his wrongs when he was a lost youth. We hear on seemingly every rap song, drug dealing glorified It’s a welcome change to hear an MC rhyme:
If I sold your grandma crack, I’m sorry
GRAND DADDY I.U. “REGRETS”
Pudgee the Fat Bastard joins the party on the jazzy upbeat “Back In Da Dayz” describing their love for earlier hip hop. You realize that Grand Daddy doesn’t like hip hop today which is frequent focus for him the new millennium. Large Professor stepped in to bless the music on “Mack Of The Year”. Grand Daddy IU used his same formula on this track which sounded o so lovely over the heat Large Pro cooked for us. The biggest shock of this album….perhaps his career was “Ghetto Blues”. The immortal Tupac Shakur jumped on this and added his thug poetry. The funky bass sample and the singing on this made this a must listen. This is feel good music at its finest.
Grand Daddy I.U. & 2Pac – Ghetto Blues
Grand Daddy IU jumped on legendary Diamond D’s fabulous “The Diam Piece” album in 2014. “The Game” featured a smooth guitar loop that featured crooning by an angel. IU spits some threats and also touches on his thoughts on hip hop today when he rhymes:
Stand back give me elbow room
You don’t wanna go to war with a well known goon
I try to warn you niggas way in advance
Now I gotta grab the heater out and blow you at your tight ass pants
Little corny ass niggas think you came on strong
Same ole song, you fuckers got the game all wrong
I’m here to put it back where it belong.
Skinny Jean rap I do not indulge in.
I aint trying to hate on shit,
But look I’m grown; I don’t play that shit
Litte niggas say you gangsta, still I am not convinced
Real G’s don’t wear spandex and leopard prints
See I’m a man in every sense of word, you turd
There is even a Black Rob sighting in the video
Diamond D – The Game
P.I.M.P.: Paper Is My Priority
2015 saw the release of his latest album, “P.I.M.P.: Paper Is My Priority” No new ground is covered here, just an abundance of money and women rhymes. Grand Daddy IU is still smooth enough to make such cliché topics sound interesting. He’s at his best however when he delves on other topics. Grand Daddy IU shows his love for old school soul music on “That Old Soul”. Singer Shawn Haynes blesses the hook on “My Neck Of The Woods” where Grand Daddy recalls the mean streets of Queens. The Lonnie Liston Smith sample is the perfect tapestry to this tale. “Uptown Saturday Night” is an upbeat, celebratory tune that features singer Antwan and a groovy sample courtesy of The Jones Girls. Sadat X shows up on the soulful Johnny Taylor sampled “She Said”. Both legends are spitting their game on why their ladies love them.
Grand Daddy I.U. feat. Sadat X
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Who Dat Rapper 10-23-16