October 2, 2015

Big Mello - Wegonefunkwichamind (1995)

There are two very different styles of 90's Houston hip hop; first there was the early part of the decade was dominated with The Geto Boys, South Park Coalition, and early UGK bringing ugly street reality and drug dealing to music on relentless, heavy beats. Another generation of rappers who'd come to be known as the Screwed Up Click was brewing around DJ Screw's house in the southside: this group would pioneer very smooth lyrical and instrumental styles and would more often touch on happier topics like sipping lean, smoking weed, how dope their freestyles are, and how much they love everybody. There were a handful of groups that straddled the two styles, but none (other than maybe the unfairly transcendental UGK albums) ever grabbed me as much as Big Mello's second album.

Mello put out the rougher-sounding Bone Hard Zaggin the year before this, but returned with the Houston beats messiah Mike Dean on Rap-A-Lot for a more chilled-back album filled with juicy bass and a keener sense of rhythm. Mello's swinging, low-pitched, laid back, shit-talking, lean drawl runs on Dean's production like a dark-purple freight train and ties the album up in a I-Don't-Give-A-Fuck-I'm-Big-Mello ribbon similar to how Snoop just totally owns his shit on Doggystyle. Wegonefunkwichamind is some smooth goodness that doesn't loose itself in the slick sounds of the later 90s, which I would think makes it appealing to a wider audience. Thanks for this classic Big Mello. RIP.