The Hard Boys

A-Town Hard Heads

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Though a lot of MCs were based in Atlanta in the '80s and '90s, not many of them were gangsta rappers. A rare example of an Atlanta group embracing straight-up gangsta rap in the early '90s were the Hard Boys, who recorded the little-known A-Town Hard Heads in 1991. Heavily influenced by agitators like N.W.A, Ice-T, and the Geto Boys, the Hard Boys rap in the first person about thug life in the ghetto. None of the material is distinctive or adds anything new to gangsta rap -- except for the references to Atlanta (which the rappers call A-Town), there isn't much to distinguish the Hard Boys from similar artists who have provided graphic, bloody, first-person narratives about the inner city's harsh realities. Be that as it may, the Hard Boys come up with some catchy beats and memorable rhymes here and there. "Death Row," for example, is a poignant commentary on the high mortality rate among young blacks in parts of Atlanta, but the disturbing scenarios it describes could just as easily apply to the South Bronx or New Orleans. A-Town Hard Heads won't win any awards for innovation, but it has its moments.

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