Dru Down

Explicit Game

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When Explicit Game came out in 1994, numerous West Coast rappers were jumping on the G-funk bandwagon and emulating the recordings that Dr. Dre and Snoop Doggy Dogg were providing for Death Row Records. There is no shortage of Dre/Snoop influence on this CD but, while other Californians were content to be clones of Death Row artists, Oakland's Dru Down was his own man. Definitely a cut above most of the G-funk efforts that came from the West Coast in 1994, Explicit Game draws on a variety of gangsta rap influences. In addition to the Dre/Snoop influence, one hears elements of DJ Quik, Eazy-E, and Ice Cube in his rapping style and, at times, Down hints at Cypress Hill, which was a rare example of an L.A. gangsta rap group favoring the sort of complex flow you would have expected from an East Coast group. Down's rapping isn't as consistently complex as Cypress Hill's, but the Cypress Hill influence is still one of the effective tools in his arsenal. By 1994 standards, Explicit Game isn't groundbreaking -- Down was hardly the first person to rap about inner-city thug life on the West Coast, and this certainly isn't the first gangsta rap CD to be influenced by Dr. Dre's production style. But while Down isn't an innovator, he isn't faceless either. Explicit Game doesn't have the historic importance of N.W.A.'s Straight Outta Compton, Dre's The Chronic, or Ice-T's Rhyme Pays, but it's still among 1994's more memorable G-funk/gangsta rap efforts.

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