Schoolly D

Schoolly D

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From recording some the earliest examples of gangsta rap to becoming one of the first artists signed to the Rykodisc label and then on to scoring Abel Ferrara films and becoming the Aqua Teen Hunger Force narrator, the crazy career of rapper Schoolly D begins here. Kicking his homemade debut off with "Rock music is a thing in the past/So all you long-haired people can kiss my ass," Schoolly shamelessly gives the hood people what they want with six tracks of sneakers, skeezers, guns, and money. He may not have set out to create gangsta rap, and his style is much looser than the hardcore baller stance that would later dominate the genre, but letting people know what time it is by giving Joan Jett's "I Love Rock n' Roll" an answer song that mentioned automatic weapons and getting high on "cheeba" set him on the path to becoming one of the earliest poster boys for the evils of rap. While lyrics like "Say it loud/I love rap and I'm proud" were standoffs to one audience, they were "hood lyrics for hood people," direct messages to the inner city delivered, packaged, and distributed by Schoolly himself. From the amateurish but wonderfully alive cover art to the raw beats and scratches provided by DJ Code Money, the rapper's debut is entirely homegrown and cheap in the best way possible. The "gangsta" tag the record has lived with doesn't touch upon the humorous and fun, sleazy subject matter and slang-filled rhymes, which when combined with the D.I.Y. packaging and recording make this something akin to the hip-hop version of the blue humor "party record." Luther Campbell was listening, and began dreaming of 2 Live Crew, but more importantly so was Ice-T, who has cited Schoolly's syncopation on "P.S.K. What Does It Mean?" as one of his -- and gangsta rap's in general -- biggest inspirations.

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