Unapologetic, crass, fat, crude, disrespectful, unrefined, antagonistic. Inside the Smack/URL arena, Shotgun Suge is infamous for being all these, and true to form he’s even moreso on wax. If your politics influences your taste in a way that the idea of someone coldly celebrating the brutality and greed of ganglife with no moral mollification, resolution, or attempt to throw in a lil’ bit of pathos to soften and endear, then stop reading now. But if the idea of a unrepentant New Jersey Wocka Flocka Flame is your thing, then keep bangin’.
Repping 400 Block and boasting a voice so coarse and froggy that you wouldn’t expect him to be making a serious go at a recording career, Suge is loud and always rapping in the red, befitting the impressively solid Lex Luger-style production he laces throughout Lights Out. You won’t find anything redeeming on the tape, just lifestyle music for those who live in, escaped, fetishize, or cautiously appreciate the hood and gang life. The thing is, though, that unlike most affirmed gang members – Suge is a Grape St. Crip – his music is actually listenable. Personality goes a long way, and Suge, for all the incorrigible elements the dude glorifies and raps about or topics that might seem rote or cliche to some, has character for days. He’s the block goon, and whether you love him, hate him, or love to hate him, the dude can write songs.
Detailed ones at that. Through a single-minded portrayal of his life, you get visions of his hood in Jersey; kush, haze, birds, coke sales, scales, grams, purple flags, screaming “Watts up!”, ammo and pieces on deck, fast money. By not trying to wedge in some out-of-character Tupac-ian song for moms to rep or, really, anything remotely soft that would act counter to the constant bombast and rah-rah celebration of the negatives of black American poverty, Suge has produced a cohesive work with an actual identity and hooks that knocks.
Granted, Shotgun Suge isn’t going to dazzle you with multisyllabics, internal rhymes, abstractions or ruminations on his or his people’s socioeconomic positions, but that’s the point. Not to say that Suge doesn’t switch it up, try double-time flows and more, but he’s not exactly agile and clean when he does it. Still, Ice Cube wasn’t a very technical rapper, but he got his point across with a blunt force accuracy. Hell, even when the steely southern-style production abates to make room for some funky R&B style beats, Suge is still on 11. Rappers like this are the musical equivalent of the fire extinguisher scene in Irreversible, and regardless of your moral affiliation or politics, there’s no rule that being good and reprehensible are mutually exclusive. If you want a smooth voice tricky flows and scattered elements of consciousness to redeem all the gangsta talk, that’s what Tsu Surf is for. But if you want a menace to society, seek out Shotgun Suge.
Need some A/V proof? Check below for the mixtape stream via DatPiff, the videos for “Guilty Conscience” and Addressing the Public”, and links to Shotgun Suge info, updates, and downloads.