Gritty Gang: Street Certified Goods
In 2006, you can bet any mixtape you come across by Real on Purpose—the hard-working click headed by “Baltimore’s Hero” Ogun—is going to be an official street banger. The local reputation the camp has built in hip-hop circles over the last few years has earned that assumption. Street Certified Goods features microphone veteran Skarr Akbar, freestyle king EJ, Sincere, tha Plague, XO, and Q-Gutta, as well as the entire R.O.P. camp—Ogun, Profound, Ammo, and Mykeey. And together they’ve made, you guessed it, one of the better local mixtapes of the year so far.
“I know you don’t love me,” 16-year-old Ammo growls over the G-Unit track of the same name, where he playfully flips Tony Yayo’s hook to salute some Baltimore favorites. “Y’all ain’t the same when Bossman’s around/ I know you don’t love me, y’all say Mario hold it down/ I know you don’t love me, y’all love it when Mullyman’s in town/ I know you love Tim Trees, love B. Rich/ Try to pull game on me, you can’t win.” And while it’s definitely fun hearing your favorite local rappers spit over your favorite big-name beats—like EJ, whose freestyle track is as sharp and punch-line heavy as it is seemingly effortless, or Sincere, who seamlessly lays his own “Things Change” over a Beanie Sigel track—the true gems are the original B-more beats and rhymes.
“Baltimore Baby,” produced by Top Secret, is a sparse, thumping track shaded by a few sneaky guitar plucks, a standout head-nodder that finds Ogun paying tribute to his hometown for better or worse: “I know niggas that spazzed out over 40 bones/ Man they caught up in the system couldn’t pray their way home/ To earn stripes dudes will jeopardize their lives and freedom/ Left with pending cases and they probably won’t beat ’em/ Yeah it’s Baltimore baby/ So gutta, so shiesty, so shady.” “Raw” is produced by Mike Hurt for ShellBe Raw of 360—like R.O.P., a hard-working team of local MCs who grab the spotlight for a few of Goods’ best tracks. “Raw,” however, features ShellBe ripping it solo, and the combination of her throaty, raspy, and pointed delivery over the driving rhythm makes it one of the mixtape’s shining moments, rounding out a collection that features few lulls and an impressive lineup.