September 12, 2016

Guice - Ashes Off My Blunt (1995)

Guice is the central member of Mayz Road Kartel and subgroup (or overlapping group) Snubnoze. These groups are presumably from Binghampton (where Blackout and most of Playa Posse are from), but the OG underground fans can correct me on that if I'm wrong--I'm sure there are some geographical shoutouts that I missed on one of their albums. I'm think this seven track Guice tape is the first collaboration between the Snubnoze click and Blackout--and they set things off on a high note. Blackout's beats are very different from his solo tape from the same year, Dreamworld. He uses a lot of the same synth presets and drum sounds, but this is more deadened and melancholy than the intense, frantic, and/or devilish psychedelia on Dreamworld. There are few albums out there with a more fitting title. To put it simply, Ashes Off My Blunt is the musical equivalent of a greyscale, low-contrast image of an ashtray. Blackout does put some funky bass and and muted guitar licks on here, but it doesn't morph the smoked out simplicity at all. Guice's lyrical topics line up well with the instrumentals. The last song is a sex track/outro thing and Fire It Up is an underground playa's party anthem, but other than that the lyrics are hopeless, dark, and everything you'd expect from an underground Memphis rapper. Guice relates deep-running, widespread issues to the vicious cycles he lives himself; couldn't graduate from highschool, can't get a job, minimum wage forcing him to the street corner to sell coke, family starving and unable to take care of each other. These lyrical topics manifest as the most bleak and stark suicide rap tracks ever recorded, Find Myself--the highlight of the album to me. With fall and winter approaching, I find myself getting more and more excited by these old Memphis tapes when I listen, and the atmosphere of the Guice tape fits this weather and mundane daily routines as good as any tape I've heard.


Ashes Off My Blunt