Digital Underground

Who Got the Gravy?

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When Digital Underground recorded Who Got the Gravy? in 1998, its challenge was to acknowledge late-1990s rap tastes without being unfaithful to its history. And the Bay Area group pulls it off nicely on this album. Though not quite in a class with Sex Packets, Gravy was among the strongest rap releases of 1998. Underground was still greatly influenced by George Clinton's P-Funk, and the quirky rapping of Shock G and Humpty Hump leaves no doubt that this is a Digital Underground release. But this time, the group brings a strong East Coast element to the mix. Blastmaster KRS-One has lively cameos on "Cyber Teeth Tigers" and the opener "I Shall Return," while Humpty and Brooklyn's equally goofy Biz Markie prove quite compatible on "The Odd Couple." Given how senselessly violent the East Coast/West Coast rap rivalries had became in the 1990s, one can't help but see the CD's New-York-meets-Oakland flavor as a call for East/West unity. Of course, there were numerous rappers who refused to get caught up in that type of silly regionalism, and the Oaktown and New York MCs heard on Gravy are a prime example. Gravy demonstrated that in 1998, the Underground still had some highly entertaining tricks up its sleeve.

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