Mar 23, 2012

UGK - Underground Kingz (2007)

Disc One

1. Swishas and Dosha 5:11
2. Int'l Players Anthem (I Choose You) (feat. OutKast) 4:19
3. Chrome Plated Woman 4:18
4. Life Is 2009 (feat. Too $hort) 4:08
5. The Game Belongs to Me 5:14
6. Like That (Remix) 3:51
7. Gravy 4:57
8. Underground Kingz 4:33
9. Grind Hard (feat. Young T.O.E. & DJ B-Do) 4:04
10. Take tha Hood Back (feat. Slim Thug, Vicious & Middle Fingaz) 5:37
11. Quit Hatin' the South (feat. Charlie Wilson & Willie D) 6:07
12. Heaven 4:20
13 Trill Niggas Don't Die (feat. Z-Ro) 4:28

Disc Two

1. How Long Can It Last (feat. Charlie Wilson) 6:47
2. Still Ridin' Dirty (feat. Scarface) 5:20
3. Stop-n-Go (feat. Jazze Pha) 3:54
4. Cocaine (feat. Rick Ross) 4:50
5. Two Type of Bitches (feat. Dizzee Rascal & Pimpin Ken) 4:56
6. Real Women (feat. Talib Kweli & Raheem DeVaughn) 4:33
7. Candy 3:30
8. Tell Me How Ya Feel 4:25
9. Shattered Dreams 5:14
10. Like That 2:48
11. Next Up (feat. Big Daddy Kane & Kool G Rap) 3:04
12. Living This Life 5:08
13. Outro 0:49

Bonus Tracks

14. Int'l Players Anthem (I Choose You) (Chopped & Screwed) (feat. Three 6 Mafia) 5:31
15. Int'l Players Anthem (I Choose You) (feat. Three 6 Mafia) 3:20
16. Hit the Block (feat. T.I.) 3:59

UGK became rap royalty in the early 90s after they released the hugely acclaimed albums Super Tight and Ridin' Dirty. They planned a comeback in 2000 which got the UGK name out again with Pimp C and Bun B making guest appearances, but the 2001 album Dirty Money didn't do much for anyone. Pimp C went to prison in 2002 for three years, and to make up for that he and Bun B released solo material.

The real comeback came in 2007 with the double-disc self-titled epic Underground Kingz. There was a chance it wouldn't be good- Ridin' Dirty is still considered one of the great dirty south records and would be pretty hard to follow up. Along with that, Dirty Money wasn't a big success and Underground Kingz would be twice as long. If it wasn't good, it wasn't good for over two hours, and that'd be bad. Also, southern rap was in a totally different place in 2007 than it was in 1996. Think Soul Food vs a Wayne tape (although that's an oversimplification). Also (o man), it was their eponymous album so it had to be good enough to reclaim or remind the world of the greatness of Super Tight and Ridin' Dirty.

But I'm posting it because it's fantastic- the best UGK record after Ridin' Dirty (in my mind). Int'l Players Anthem (I Choose You) is a southern rap anthem so good it's up there with classics like Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik and more recent songs like Shine Blockas. Quite a few people actually seem to hold it in higher regard, and I probably would too. It's seems effortlessly feel-good as well as summing up UGK's ethos perfectly. The rest of the album features a mixture of old names (Scarface, Kool G Rap, Z-Ro, etc) and newer ones (T.I., Rick Ross) as features, and great consistency between tracks for a 128 minute album. Of course that means that while nothing feels like filler, things lose momentum in places and it's not always possible to listen to both discs in the same sitting. Still, like All Eyez On Me, you can't deny the enthusiasm and celebration of life and legacy that the double disc effort captures


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