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Geto Boys: The Foundation

Geto Boys: The Foundation

Genre:Hip Hop/Rap

By Tom Breihan | Posted 3/9/2005

The release of the Geto Boys’ The Foundation should be an event now that Southern rap dominates global hip-hop. The Houston group’s dark, paranoid strain of gangsta rap brought Southern rap to the world in the late ’80s/early ’90s, and The Foundation is the first album in nine years to feature the classic lineup of Scarface, Willie D, and Bushwick Bill. With no big-name guest rappers or producers, The Foundation isn’t an event, though. It’s just a very good gangsta-rap album from three guys who have been making the music as long as anyone else.

Scarface’s booming, miles-deep baritone is one of rap’s greatest voices; even when he’s coasting, which he often is here, he has the force and emotional gravity of the best preacher you ever heard. That voice can make even the most tired cliché sound biblical: “I don’t wanna run no more, but I know that if I stop/ I’ll be another nigga headed to heaven, hanging with ’Pac” (“The G Code”). But Scarface is often overshadowed by his less-famous partners on The Foundation. Willie D’s voice has a rough, determined strength: “Take an interest in politics, Chopin, and van Gogh/ Shoot a motherfucker up and then go vote” (“What?”). And psycho-rapping dwarf Bushwick Bill walks away with the album. His cool, menacing flow drips charisma, especially on the melancholic soul lament “I Tried”: “Their mamas won’t let me see them, but I still pay my support/ ’Cause once you give life, life is bigger than yours/ Maybe I’m not all you expected me to be/ But when all is said and done, ultimately daddy tried.” Though The Foundation suffers a few missteps—Scarface quotes “Lean Back” liberally on “We Boogie,” and no one needs to hear Bushwick Bill talk sex or Willie D get homophobic—the Geto Boys have the easy grace of veterans, still at the top of their game and loving what they do.

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