Artist: E.S.G.Title: Screwed Up MovementRating: 3 StarsReviewed by: Brandon Edwards
It seems like a long time coming for Texas’ “Everyday Street Gangsta” E.S.G., a living legend to many and stranger to most. It doesn’t get any thicker as far as hood credibility goes; the g’d up dboy stacked paper after being birthed in the trap, got hit with a murder rap and served a jail sentence. As time went on, the Texas underground was fed by one of the original members of legendary DJ Screw’s Screwed Up Clique. His now succesful proteges (Lil’ Flip and Slim Thug, along with many others) were molded by immortal material like “Swangin’ and Bangin” and “Crooked Streets” from the classic album Sailin’ Da South (1995). Amidst the solid rep and successful independant stretch, everyone lusts after that corporate paper and mainstream notoriety. While Houston may not be in the NBA playoffs, the city holds court here in the rap game today. This Hip-Hop pioneer from Texas that originally helped to make chopped and screwed music an everday thing in Houston, wants in.
Let E.S.G. briefly bring you up to date with the no holds barred introduction to Screwed Up Movement (Sure Shot). Over a soundwave that would appropriately announce the entrance of King Jaffe Joffer (Coming to America), E.S.G. serves up the three act story of his personal life and rap career; trials, tribulations and triumphs included. The lyrical dosage is potent enough as it vibes through the veins of this seventeen track disc. E.S.G. is most impressive when he taps into his incessant hunger and experience. His fast flow is his best flow, especially on songs like “Gorilla Music” and “Gotta Shine.” A myriad of subjects touched upon and creative consistency from Screwed Up Movement represent for the Lone Star State in a major way. Brilliantly throwing children on the chorus of “Keep Getting It” runs neck in neck with Jay-Z’s “Hard Knock Life” and “Revelation” is an inspirational testament to the vivid reality of today and tomorrow; “Medicaid and Healthcare, aint helping my granny/They bangin’ in the South, better watch your family/Calculatin’ my steps, through this gritty war zone, what the President gon’ do when they bring the war home revelations…”
Slowing the speed of the project is the bitter taste in E.S.G.’s
mouth, chip on his shoulder and contradictory bars. The Alphabet Murderer is superb on “Watch Yo Back” as he roasts Slim Thug for five minutes using every letter in the alphabet (except X,Y,Z). But is the interlude that comes before it necessary? He’s explaining the fall out between himself and Slim, but comes off as a hater here and elsewhere throughout the album. As a veteran, the role of disciplinarian is often necessary, but can make the individual with more experience appear dated. A large focus should have been placed on tighter production, which would have brought more polish and luster to Screwed Up Movement.
A lot has changed since the Underground Bully bogarted his way into the game. Criticism of popular competition won’t bring you success, but hot tracks void of contradiction will. The streets respect E.S.G.’s familiar rap sheet, but eyebrows raise as he boasts about his jail time and murder rap in one stanza, then downgrades and discards the experience in the next. Screwed Up Movement is rider
music with a message and, along with standout guests like Chamillionare, Bun B and Jae Millz, is worthy offering.