CultStatus

3.23.2005

You never had a life like me; I never went to school, shootin' craps, runnin' numbers at the age three"

As I attempted (traffic like a mug!) to smob through the ATL traffic this morning on my way to work, I was listening to some oldies, and thinking about how to compose this post. It's doesn't make sense on the surface, but The Doobie Brothers, Diana Ross, Steely Dan, and Aretha Franklin helped me think clearly. I love rap music, but the lyrics tend to distract me when I'm trying to think. They force you to follow along, more than act as a soundtrack to my thought process (is that an album title?).

I digress... My man Dru Down is a true West Coast Pioneer. Coming up out the "500" section of East Oakland (Blocks 50th ave -59th ave, technically), Dru hit the music world hard with his first nation wide single Pimp of the Year. The song was 100% radio unfriendly, detailing some of the basic tenaments of the oft-praised Pimpin (and Hoeing) game. Luckily someone had the foresight to see that the hood classic could be reworked into a clean version, and Player of the Year was born. I was in High School in San Fran at the time, and the song just gave me hella pride about Oakland, and about my specific neighborbood (500, the fifties, the Five, etc..). It was one of those songs that, as soon as it comes on, fools get to acting Hyphy/Heiffy instantly, waaaay before that was a term. It has some crazy ass horns sounding like abananas disco track, and unfortunately I don't have it here to post today (note me and I'll hook you up though).

Here's the "back-story" on the fifties too: Oakland is clearly divided into East, West and North neighborhoods (no technical south) with a nice size man-made Lake centered between the three (Lake Merritt). And to be short, the neighborhood is long on violence, drug dealing and increasingly prostitution (http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2005/03/13/ING8CBNC1J1.DTL). However, what the neighborhood has been short on, locally, is what white people have dubbed "street cred", or I would call it "hood stripes". The more "authentic" part of East Oakland, was that part more easterly, starting at the mid-60's , and including the 70's, the "shady 80's", the 90's and the infmamous "Rolling Hunneds!!" (Think 3X Krazy, Keek Da Sneak, Richie Rich, Etc..) Dru and his bravado, flew in the face of all that. While giving respect and referencing his affiliations in those more famous neighborhoods, he always shouted out the Five, so much that an extended hand with 5 fingers extened (palm forward), became synonomous with the Fifties. On the world famoust Five On It (remix) by the Luniz, Dru put it all out there as he finished his verse: "And I'll make sure the next time niggus see me I'll be high, do-or-die, throwin' up the five, in the fifth lane riiight." Say it along w/ me little boys and girls: Instant Credibility.

I really won't even go into my personal dealings w/ Dru, other than to say that before he was rapping professionally, he and his crew hustled in my neigborhood, often with my apartment building lobby and entryway being their headquarters. He knows me, my Dad, my stepmother and brother, and my little sister. I think the last time I saw him was down in L.A. outside of the famous Forum Club at the Lakers' Great Western Forum. It was during a Magic Johnson Midsummer Night weekend. That was about 2000. He's hella cool, and always "chopped it up" (see below) with me about the Five, my life, etc, even though I was hella square compared to him. My best friend and I also bumped into C&H (www.daveyd.com/interviewLuniz.html) on a dumb sidestreet in New Orleans during the Bayou Classic one year. Dude had some a crazy crew with him (I'm sure some were certified killas), and we spoke of our mutual acquantances and basically "did it big" for an hour or two that night. Dude had dumb light too, if you know what I mean. I will never forget that.

Anti-Hate: Many people want to say Dru is weak, his flow is suspect, and he is using a tired theme of pimpin' to get it poppin. I think his contribution to the game (Early Luniz, 3x, Rich, etc), and unique personality overshadow any critique one may have of his lyrical prowess. Dude also had hella character in person and on the tracks, which many other rappers don't. RE: Pimpin', it's not my place to breathe on dude's hustling tactics, but don't doubt it for a second. He also has recorded with Bootsy Collins, and was christened the Illigitimate Son of Bootsy by Sir Bootzilla Himself. So peep game, or go phukk with what you already know about. Sissy!


So here in all it's Illigitimate Son Of Bootsy Pimpy-Dooness, are a few select Dru tracks, with some "discuss amongst yourselves" quotes, and probably hella run on sentences. Enjoy, and holler for a re up.

La Musica Gratis:

Dru Down - Choppin' it Up (Ft C&H, or Chris Hicks on the adlibs)
http://s17.yousendit.com/d.aspx?id=33G140J6RAPJZ0OFJYTRD4X2VS
I've always called this song "hit a nigg_ up in a few", based on a poignant line in the song. It's basically a tale of 1 day in the Town (Oakland), with a theme of he and C&H talking on the phone throughout the track (hella comedy). It begins with Dru planning his trip to "Black Ski Week" in (Lake) Tahoe (NV), and him finishing up a meal at the famous Southern Cafe in Upper Frutivale district of Oakland.
My fav line is when Dru tells C&H "let's hook up by the Walgreen's, so we can catch the sale on the Hendu (Hennessey), get the bottle, hit the throttle, take a swallow, get the tweed, get back to the spot before I miss Apollo."

That was always funny to me on so many levels. The Showtime at the Apollo reference aside, I'm pretty sure he was talking about the Walgreen's Drug Store on High Street. It is the only Walgreen's I have EVER seen that sold hard Liqour. Basically if you broke left when you walked in, you were in what seemed like any other fully stocked liqour store. I guess they were able to offer sales on hard liqours, you know, buying in bulk and whatnot. If anybody ever bought drank at any other Walgreens in America, scream at the kid.

Dru Down - Can You Feel Me?
http://s17.yousendit.com/d.aspx?id=01WNCSSTLMKV42EES58LORKI0R
Samples a Fat Boys song very lovely on the Chorus, I believe of the same name. Was the lead single off Dru's second nationwde album, of the same name I believe. I always loved the album cover, beacause he was posted up in front of what was Leila's Market on 48th avenue. You can see the street sign in the backround, and some tire traks from fools hittin' Donuts in the intersection (Google "Oakland Sideshow" if this eludes you). As is the case with singles, it gets less rotation than some of the more obscure cuts. Enjoy.

Dru Down ft. The Luniz (formerly the LuniTunz) - Freaks Come Out
http://s17.yousendit.com/d.aspx?id=1ZMY6AB7ONMNA31W1R3EKNQCG9
Co-opts the theme of the Whodini! song of a similar name, but talks about real life Freaks as in women, not as in jaycats/dopefiends, or whatever Whodini! was talking about. Different beat etc. Timeless song in my opinion. One of about 15 or 20 songs in which Dru collabo'd with the Luniz in some form or the other. Each is a Bay classic in it's own right. The chorus invites all the freaks to come out tonight, because tonight; "ain't no shootin' no startin' no fights". How can you hate that? If you live in any big city, you know breezies get scared off from the club scene when fools get too violent. But a pimp doesn't fight, get it?

PS: Yukmouth snapping so hard on the second verse, in what is commonly called the "Old Yuk" style. Squeaky voice, savvy wordplay. Basically a east coast influenced rhyme style, talking all about Town Shyt (reminds me a tight ass Whoridas/Saafir song I will post up soon.). Yuk would later get a lot more aggresive and raspy on the mic, and beef with most of North America (The Game, G-Unit, Too Short, etc...), but I still love dude as an artist.

Lastly, a funny one called On the Run (I think).

Dru Down - On The Run
http://s17.yousendit.com/d.aspx?id=2UL0A9BJD8MEV32ADREFBQJRO6
High Comedy. If rhymes were video games, this would be a Role Playing Game. I won't spoil it for you, but I will tell you it involves Mr. Down "biting off his fingertips, so there won't be no evidence.". I would say that the creativity in part comes from our big influencers; Parliament/Funkadelic.


Holler at me in the Comments and thanks for reading.




16 Comments:

  • I can already tell that this site is major. Great post.

    By Blogger Joey, at 11:05 AM  

  • I'm feeling the blog, its a great read.

    By Blogger The Humanity Critic, at 11:07 AM  

  • thanks to both of you

    i guess i aspire to write professionally in some form, so i try to go deep on artists/concepts that usually only get a glossover analysis.(my day job is financial svcs)

    for dru, i could have said perm, west coast, dope, pimpin. and hit publish, but that's been done.

    Thanks again.

    i'm about to make a brief post on artists/producers i'm thinking of covering in in the future. feel free to comment.

    thanks!

    By Blogger CultStatus, at 12:50 PM  

  • Dame, if we're talking cult followings, i think you should do a whole series on the def jux guys. I am not really a fan, but people love that shit and none of it will ever rally blow up. you know?

    By Blogger Joey, at 1:20 PM  

  • i feel you...

    i know murs is in def jux, thats about it.

    i love some of his songs, hate a good chunk of the others...

    that's the type of following for which i'd def'ly have to get a guest writer.

    shoot anyone my way that digs their stuff to heart.

    same thing for:
    edan
    sage francis
    atmospher
    bus driver?
    dj diplo
    mia
    etc..

    they all are waaay off my radar, and for some of the more emo types artits, (if thats what they are), I can't even get my listening ear correct to feel it out the gate. but i hear/feel the passion in other peoples comments about them, so I'd like to have it detailed further here at CultStatus. smellme?

    thanks again.

    By Blogger CultStatus, at 1:35 PM  

  • Totally with you on all of that. I think you should also rock a K7 post. I definitely got a lot out of that record when I was in middle school and stupid.

    By Blogger Joey, at 3:56 PM  

  • nice post man, dru down has been heavily overlooked. shit now that I read this I wish I had thought of posting about him

    props man.

    By Blogger SergDun, at 11:55 PM  

  • Thanks Serg.

    where are you in frisco now?

    i went to wash high school.

    By Blogger CultStatus, at 9:36 AM  

  • I stay on sutter, just west of van ness. probably moving to japantown though, fucking bitches just raised our rent and I'm not feeling the smallness of this spot.

    By Blogger SergDun, at 6:27 PM  

  • fa sho.. i lived mainly in the richmond on 7th, off masonic for a bit by wallenberg, filmore ctr briefly... all while going to wash

    but unless you have some japanese heritage you know you hve to call that neighborhood Fillmore!

    peace

    By Blogger CultStatus, at 7:30 AM  

  • Cult!!!! School these bitches about da TOWN!! EAST OAKLAND BIoTCH!!

    By Blogger Nina, at 1:23 PM  

  • Up there you mean "tenets" not "tenaments" (sic) of the oft-praised pimpin' game. Kind of a Freudian slip, though.

    But I'm just pickin' nits - I like what you do here.

    And on the liquor in drugstores tip, I was blown away when I visited my girl in Chitown, and the Osco Drug was like fully stocked. All the liquor you could want, and not a bad wine selection either...

    By Blogger Paz, at 3:32 PM  

  • Paz thanks for your feeback.

    tenets, like rules, got it. Osco huh? I likes

    By Blogger CultStatus, at 6:28 AM  

  • It's a shame when The Game is being
    played and Dru Down "The Legend" greatest pimp rapper EVER doesn't get airplay.

    Anyone know when Dru is performing? Last time I saw him was in Hollywood two or three years ago at a Sold Out show on Sunset. I was sitting next to Laker owner Jerry Buss. Off THE HOOK!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:19 AM  

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