Thursday, September 18, 2008

Thursday Throwback - TRU's "I Always Feel Like (Somebody's Watching Me)"

The Miller brothers liked to dress up as jack-o-lanterns on Halloween.

Today's throwback is a paranoid laughfest off the Miller boys' so-bad-it's-a-classic double album, Tru 2 Da Game. Seriously, this album's been egregiously slept on in "what's the best rap double album" debates. I promise you, if you take the time to buy this record, you'll find there's nothing as wack on here as 'Black Shampoo.' Anyway, this song is like a good version of 'Nightmares,' the horrendous "My Mind's Playing Tricks On Me" homage on The Clipse's overrated sophomore effort. Instead of Bilal, hook singer for the conscious rap stars, you get Mo B. Dick (No Limit's in-house answer to Nate Dogg/TJ Swan), instead of Pharrell's limp beat you get some classic ersatz G-Funk and cheap sound effects, and instead of the Thornton twins you get... Percy and Vyshonn Miller. What, you say that's not a good trade? Read on. The whole fun of the paranoid thug subgenre, of course, has always been laughing at how hilariously unconvincing the rappers' claims of paranoia are, and this song is no exception. Percy kicks things off. Never one to elegantly express himself, he flatly states, in his best angsty voice,

I'm paranoid I can't sleep I'm in this dope game
I think these hoes and these niggas out to get me man

You see, P's just stolen a key, and, well, growing up in the ghetto didn't quite prepare him emotionally to know how to deal with holding such valuable property:

I ain't never had nothing in my whole life
I'm from the ghetto grew up on eggs and rice

Poor guy! So, paranoid thug that he is, he starts spraying his A-K at policemen (lots of gunshot sound effects at this point), gets chased by some dogs (bark bark bark), hijacks some white neighbors' Cadillac, gets taken to see his project bitch, "gets some pussy" (very strange sound effect at this juncture that sounds nothing like any sex I've ever had), and heads off to California. Then Silkk does a verse, which we'll get back to in a second, and then Mia X finishes things up. Having made a career off of recording the same braggadocious verse over and over, she's not about to change things up now, so she actually finds a way to brag about how paranoid she is ("I beez more paranoid than a fugitive!"). It's kind of a first in the paranoid thug genre.

In the middle, though, you get Silkk's verse. Silkk, of course, was always a pretty pathetic make-believe thug; his flow and voice were way too goofy to take anything he said seriously. (Unlike C-Murder, whose whole presence on the roster was justified by the fact that, when he was put in jail for murder, no one was surprised.) But, for the same reasons that Silkk made such an abominable studio thug, he made a really great paranoiac. The guy just sounds unstable. The whole verse is a masterpiece, but it really reaches a crescendo of wacko ghetto-limerick paranoia when he goes:

And I be seein shit that ain't there
It ain't there, but I be seein shit
I be in places without bein seen there
But bein seen in places without even bein there!

Except it's all in something between double and quadruple time, so it sounds more like "ibeseeinshitibeinplaceswithoutbeenseentherebutbeinseeninplaceswithoutevenbeinthere." (I had to replay it about twenty times before I understood it.) Moral of the story is, boring rappers like the Clipse are killing hip-hop. And bring back the old Silkk.

Download "I Always Feel Like (Somebody's Watching Me)" here.


Anonymous said...

I was pretty much sleeping on hip hop circa No Limit's reign, so this is pretty much an educational lesson. Didnt think anybody was trying to revive the blogosphere's attention to Master P & Co's legacy. Again, no idea abt their contribution to the game since I've literally heard 3 no limit records - two of snoop's records w/ them - da game... & no limit top dogg, and tht basketball themed compilation - who u wit. thtt ghetto limerick you highlighted was hilarious. also, keeping in line w/ the blogosphere's trend to discuss off-tangent topics - whats so wack abt 'black shampoo'? nothing inherently wrong w/ the song is there..ever figured out why its got a notorious it just coz u-god's rappign abt ..umm and im quoting my faves here.."love love slam" "edible underwear", "sea breeze sticks and shit"

Jesus Shuttlesworth said...

that u-god would get a solo song, regardless of topic, on the 2nd best wu disc is a crime. given what the song is about, it deserves to be hated upon

tray said...

Yeah, Jay, I plan to do more posts on No Limit. I wasn't really paying attention to rap at the time either, but they did do some great work (amidst a lot of repetitive garbage).

Anonymous said...

For anyone sleeping on No Limit's fantastically horrible greatness, I always suggest starting with "Captain Kirk" off the 'Ghetto Dope' album.

Anonymous said...

Re: 'What's so wack abt 'black shampoo'?'

1) The beat
2) The rapping
3) Did I mention the beat?

tyler said...

this was in 1996. not many even close then. but ghetto D. one of the all time best albums ever.