The Foundation

Artist: Geto BoysTitle: The FoundationRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Tika Milan

Before 50 cent was shot nine times, and before Hip-hop was carved into geographic boxes, the Geto Boys (Scarface, Willie D & Bushwick Bill) had strong armed hardcore Hip-hop and cemented themselves as the quintessential uncompromising eccentrics. Music television was yet to make pop tarts out of MCs and the term “gangsta rap” was still respected when the trio reached icon status with the release of their 1991 classic, We Can’t Be Stopped. They were a category of their own during the early 90’s when the West coast took over and no one batted an eyelash towards the untapped talent of the Southern states. However, with creative differences causing friction within the group and a nine-year hiatus since their last release as a complete unit (The Resurrection), it was a reasonable conclusion that the Geto Boys unconventional and somewhat bizarre style had gotten the best of them.

Fast-forward almost a decade and GB is back as if they never left with The Foundation (Rap-a-Lot/Asylum). Their fourth installment is a throwback to real street-hop that for some rhyme-sayers begins and ends in the booth. Throughout the album the Geto Boys revel in their timeless f*ck-you attitude. On, “When It Get Gangsta”, Willie D makes it plain and simple in his distinctly heavy baritone that he has the foresight to separate the real from the fake spitting, “…50 thou’ say I’ll knock your ass with one punch/ I don’t care how many gangsta songs you listen to/ or the fact you smoke weed/ and pack a gun I see the bitch in you.” Then there’s “G code” where Scarface goes solo voicing his frustration over police brutality, and sums up the hood philosophy of no cooperation and distrust of the law.

Despite all the superb street talk, the Geto Boys take a wild shot in the dark towards a club themed, Scarface produced “We Boogie.” The synthesizers and heavy bass line makes for perfect crip-walking, but the sing-songy hook is completely uncharacteristic of GB. They redeem themselves with “Real Nigga Shit” where over sirens and hand claps Scarface rhymes, “I'm quick to introduce niggaz to real nigga shit/ I don't bullshit with niggaz, I kill niggaz quick/ Face the motherfuckin facts, you a rapper I'm a killer/ I'm respected in these streets cause I'm a real-ass nigga.

Covering the gambit of partying, thugged out machismo and emotional hardships the Geto Boys rightfully titled The Foundation is like a jolt of clarity to the ambiguous nature of realness in Hip-hop. While in some respects rap music is comparable to a bad reality show, Scarface, Willie D, and Bushwick have remained unapologetic and beautifully offensive in their authenticity.