Remember when mixtapes had heart? Before these street compilations were ever considered apart of the artist’s marketing plan, they were done out of love. Consumers loved to get the exclusives and MCs loved to show how nice they were. Now with the popularity of CD burners and big named DJs selling their vocal drops, anyone can perpetrate like they are popping in their market.
All in all there are still some dudes in Rap that stick to the original script. During the Clipses long hiatus in between their debut Lord Willin and their much delayed follow up Hell Hath No Fury, they connected with long time acquaintances AB-Liva of the Major Figgas and Philadelphia bull Sandman. The four would officially crown themselves The Re-Up Gang. To commemorate this new union, they would release We Got It For Cheap Vol. 1. in early 2004, the mixtape showed how lyrically gifted each member was. The following year they upped the ante with We Got It for Cheap Vol. 2. This second installment would be considered a street masterpiece as the crew bodied every selection.
With an immense online buzz matching the fever on the streets heading into this third chapter of the series, the guys appropriately dropped We Got It For Cheap Vol. 3 (The Spirit Of Competition) on Superbowl Sunday. With that in play, we give you an NFL style postgame wrap up on this one pointing out key lyrics, fumbles, and key playmakers of each track. Roll with the winners.
Heres What They Think About You (Interlude)
The chant R-E-U-P G-A-N-G from their live shows starts this opening interlude as the opera that made Nas Hate Me Now (Carmina Burana by Carl Orff) so hateful makes their return a dramatic reentry.
Re Up Gang (Intro)
The formal intro. You first hear a blood thirsty Pusha as the first voice on the disc. Brick James expands on the spirit of competition motif and lets us know they still do this for the streets. The beat features big drums and synthesized horns with light flutes sneaked in the back. Liva gets the first verse and opens just as strong as Inspectah Deck used to do it(Who f***ing with Re Up, could see us / can see tint). Young Push comes in second and goes at Lil Wayne (While you ni***s were blueprinting Jay / I was in the kitchen with the sketch of Micheal Fray) throughout sixteen bars. Sandman delivers as usual (The game in the bag like crack), and Malices understated flow closes the deal on this banger (I color the verse / Each one is Mona Lisa).
Key Player: Without a doubt Pusha stole the show here. His four final lines gave Weezy F. the business: Sorry but I dont respect who you applauding / Little ni*** flow, but his metaphors boring / Dont make me turn daddys little girl into orphan / That would mean I would have to kill baby like abortion. Eghck!
Show You How To Hustle
Pusha comes through with a crazy chorus and an equivilant first verse (Rotate them chickens like weathervane / The wind blow, it come and go, Im hurricane). Liva doesnt falter one bit though (The snow removal / No need for a shovel). Sandman does go hard here but doesnt hit you with anything jawdropping. Suddenly some congas come in and Pusha starts preaching the Re-Up gospel as he ushers his older brother into the fray. Malice sounds cocky as ever as he spits a scorcher (On the price I dont budge / Just double up on birds like Noah in the flood). They murdered Pharrel on his own ish.
Key Player: Malice got this hands down. Need more proof? Here: In the art of culinary / We pass with flying colors, my ni***s is honorary / And my drive is monetary / The jewels around my neck got hues like Ben & Jerry.
The first attempt of remaking of someone elses record. The fact that they chose to rock over Jay-Zs Roc Boys (And The Winner Is) is no shocker, but surprisingly they didnt kill it as hard as avid fans would expect. Pusha and Liva go first and second respectively but nothing too memorable from either. Sad. Malice has a couple of hard lines but doesnt match his momentum from the previous track. Sandman comes in for clean up. Nice try but the original is still the truth.
Key Player: With the most energy on the track, Malice takes it: They dont like us ni***s making videos / They like ni***s pointing fingers like Arsenio / And yall fall for it, tell it like a ten year old / And they still serve you time like a dinner roll.
Pusha chimes in with DJ Drama and reinforces yet again why he makes music for the dealers. Tree hugging bi***es also get a stern forewarning not to question him anymore on why the subject matter of dope is so vigorously employed.
20K Making Money Brothers On The Corner
Electric guitars reminiscent of Kanyes Stronger fuel the track while the drums resemble a twenty one gun salute. The title is echoed through the song for hook purposes. The brothers Thornton bookmark the song as AB and Sand fill up the middle. Each member does their thing lyrically. A commendable effort all around.
Key Player: Some might have different opinions on who held the most weight here but when you study the verses in whole; AB-Livas was consistent all the way through. Peep how he cleverly name checks all of the swag: New chains, new jewels, new cars with new years / See the Gs, D&Gs, LVs on the tees / On the jeans, on the sleeves of the shirts I wear / See the B wing spread out across the hood I steer.
Dey Know Yayo
The gangs version of Shawty Los street hit Dey Know with the hook as annoying as the original. Nothing too crazy here lyric wise that will make you hit rewind.
Key Player: Sandman should be credited for riding the track the best. He goes hard with his delivery on the checks and balances of the drug game. Fifteen will get you three / I let you owe me nina / You burn me for that bread, I act like I never seen ya / Cant speak for my ni***s, they felonize misdemeanors / Forever hide or die when they see ya. Ouch.
500 Birds (Interlude)
A seedy intermission with two dealers whispering about an upcoming shipment.
It takes a lot gall to try to outdo what the Ruff Ryders did with this joint back in 2000, but the Black Cards dont half step one bit. Liva preps the hook and first verse. While Pusha is impressive (Ill kill any pawn in the way of my checkmate / Cop killers pierce the Kevlar on your chestplate), Sandman rips the beat up like he bought it (Daddy money funnel / Island hopping, this kind copping shopping going to give me carpal tunnel). Pure fishscale.
Key Player: Point blank Cannoons Inc. is a beast. Hit ya / Rip ya so they cant fix ya / So the pastor preach scriptures / Turn ya into a mantelpiece fixture. One of his best performances ever.
A reflective adaptation off of Kanyes Graduation. This is as insightful as they get amidst all the pyrex poetry. Pusha sets the tone with a look into what makes him tick as a Rapper (Them ni***s Young MC while I Big Pun it / Trying to revisit that impact when B.I.G. done it). Sandman contributes with a tale of his by any means necessary lifestyle before hitting the booth: I done slept in cribs with grenades; crazy weapons / Pushed cars with more drugs than Rite Aid and Eckard. AB does his thing while Mals delivery is sluggish at best. This is one of the joints that will most likely just grow on you later.
Key Player: Pusha stands out the most with his reflections on the current state of the game: This high level of artistry is apart of me / Im bored by my so called peers, yall have to pardon me / Graffiti Beatstreet, write my life for all to see / You take a bite and leave the rest, I remind yall of Lee.
The gang brings their own flair to the Cuban Linx emotional rollercoaster. Ps witty bars are ever present (A ni*** with a gun and the juice, I am Bishop / Trying to throw a stutter in my step like a hiccup) and both Liva and Sandman recollect on their rigid upbringing; but yet another mediocre effort from Malice. Dont expect them to top Rae and Ghost, but they do it justice.
Key Player: Pusha makes it look too easy: Ni***s on the corner testing me like a piss cup / My piss aint dirty, I hope they know my gun is / A child out of place, I wont hesitate to punish / And I aint going to talk to Russy the way Run is.
This is one of the darker endeavors from the crew. Sandman serves up a potent hook over the Jim Jones banger of the same name. Each of them represent over the somber keys with their individual numb outlooks on topics ranging from the low numbers from Hell Hath No Fury to how the street life have frozen their hearts. A good change pace in between all the flossing.
Key Player: Pushas view on the demise of their sophomore album will capture the listeners attention the most: I guess I caught a brick according to Soundscan / The critical acclaim was that of a proud man / Prepare for the worst, that bloods on Jives hands / See when the Fury dropped, so did eighty thousand grams.
Another hard freestyle with all four members repping the Re-Up flag as they take point blank aim over the gritty L.O.X beat. The two from Philly slightly outdo the two from VA with Sandman utilizing a sharp flow accentuating the last word of each bar and while AB-Liva just blacks out.
Key Player: The 69 Don commands your respect with a defining showing: Choices Ive made weighs heavy / Tears I have held would break levies / Grenade pen deadly with the medley.
Bring It Back
The boys resurrect Jae Millz lost gem with much success. Liva glides over the booming drums initially as Malice deads the funeral with braggadocio bars (Trying to live with little less remorse / Telling my trophy wife these bi***es just rewards). Sandman comes through with a monster hook and a matching sixteen. Push goes for the extra point on the back end. Real talk this is iller than the original with or without the Jadakiss appearance.
Key Player: Malices choice words makes his swag here extra disrespectful: So clean, custom Bent / Got the nerve to step out it like Im discontent / Your hoe look at me like her ship’s come in / Would have once engaged, but I have since repent.
This is the joint that had originally leaked early with just Malices verse. When you hear what else is on it, you understand why they served us just a snippet. The awesome foursome tear Obies instrumental to shreds. Nothing but audio cocaine right here.
Key Player: Too many sick lines here from everyone making it difficult to single out just one standout verse. These guys make hustling sound like The Matrix.
Sandman gets comfortable over Fabs Return Of The Hustle. The Fat Daddy differentiates from his usual cadence; spitting four to five word bars and slurring the speech as well.
Parallel park using a camera / Hardest part is choosing a hammer / To put you sleepy ni***s thoughts on your jamas, night night.
Ab gets some brief solo shine on 50s Come & Go. Clocking in less than two minutes, Liva exhibits a half as long, but twice as strong mentality. He brings some life to an otherwise bland beat with his wordplay wizardry.
Memorable Lines: Im too strong / Im writing it in the song / Three lefts make a right /
Im too right to be wrong / Write in my zone / Im right in my songs.
The grand finale. The team duplicates the same formula they used previously on Daytona 500; going in and out with four bar verses on B.I.Gs classic medley Real Ni***s Do Real Things. No narratives or personal recollections on this closer, just straight quotables.
Key Player: Pusha got his masters degree in speech napalm on this one: Cook it till it tan, the pyrex like Peter Pan / Get it in a Jiffy, I peanut butter the purest grams / Underhand pitch like little league in Japan / I got them running base like I sent the ball in the stands.
Consider Re-Up the Rap version of the New England Patriots. They come very close to achieving perfection but tire somewhat during key moments. Breaking the record aside, they are still one of the most impressive teams in the league. Die hard fans will find that We Got It For Cheap Vol. 3 runs circles around Vol.1, but doesnt contend with the classic that is Vol. 2. It should be noted that MVP nods should go to Pusha. The young boy played his position and proved to be the most thorough out of the gang landing him the #1 Dopeboy award. Ladies and gentleman, keys still open doors.
“Show You How To Hustle”