Tuesday 15 June 2021

Audio/Video - Cuban Pete - West Side Story prod Enels

This track is a tribute to all the West Coast artists Cuban Pete grew up listening to in the era of LA riots, funk, lowriders, gangstas, eses, Raider hats, steamrolling CDs, parental advisory stickers, and fingers twisted in the middle.

In the late 80s and 90s 'gangsta rap', or 'reality rap', was a window into a world rarely seen by people not living in it. Though the first gangsta rap record is credited to Schoolly D in Philadelphia (PSK) that in turn influenced Ice-T who, originally from New Jersey, lived in LA and dropped '6 In Tha Mornin' and things took off from there.

It was a side of Hip Hop that caused great controversy. The mainstream was shocked by the topics of the records and there was public outcry. Prominent African American spokespeople such as Al Sharpton and C Delores Tucker also took offense at the content and accused the music of corrupting the youth, even taking a steamroller to a pile of CDs. Artists accused their critics of attempting to curb their free speech and appeasing 'the man'. They said they werent glorifying things just telling it like it is and if the people in charge improved their situation then there wouldnt be anything bad to rap about. In turn, unscrupilous record companies were more than willing to exploit the artists as sex and violence proved popular, especially with a white suburban audience whose money meant big business and turned the artists struggle into their entertainment.

Cuban says "Looking back now I can see all sides of the argument more. For a lot of white kids it was just entertainment, living vicariously through the music. But I know for a lot of people like myself more involved in Hip Hop culture it achieved its aim and opened our eyes to a lot of problems that weren't always being addressed. These artists were rapping about their life and of those around them and deserved to be heard."

"Yes sex and violence sells but for some of us it was more than that. Not everyone was even a gangster or did that style of Hip Hop but as soon as you say you're a rapper to some folks thats still the image in their head now. They're the ones who didnt really listen to it, just saw the videos and read the headlines.".

Whatever your view on the music it was a big part of the Hip Hop scene through the golden era and produced a lot of classic sounds and artists. 

Cuban decided to pay homage to some of these pioneers that influenced him both musically and also in his world view as soon as he heard the beat Grimewav producer/MC Enels gave him. It's classic sound instantly brought those memories flooding back and he decided to do a track in the vein of GZA's track 'Labels'; but using the artists names in the lyrics. 

If you don't pick them all out straight away make sure to check out the video that uses clips of the artists mentioned.

You can stream/download the track HERE or HERE and check out the video below: