I clearly remember hip hop's transition from the more innocent, and even militant persona bestowed upon it by East Coast rappers, into the more aggressive art form introduced by West Coast rappers, most notably NWA in the mid to late 80's. It was definitely a change I don't recall many being prepared for. In any case, what would soon be christianed "Gangsta Rap", would take the music world by storm and it no doubt sold records (lots of records!). In 1992, former NWA member Dr. Dre would release The Chronic album, which would soon prove further how lucrative the sub genre could be, and by 1993 (it didn't take long), the hip hop industry would become pretty heavily saturated with one gangsta LP after the other. But there was just one thing; while all these guys were out doing all this killin', smokin', hustlin', whatever. What were the chicks doing? Could they be gangsta too? Well, they had a hard enough time as it was being recognized as conscious rhyme spitters who could hang with the guys. So there was just no way they could possibly compete with all the gangsta shit. Right? Well, some time in 1993, Detroit rapper Boss didn't only prove that the girls can hang, but they would also kill these male motherfuckas too, and thus, Born Gangstaz was well, born. Personally, I consider it the hardest hardcore record by a female up to this day, and I'm not talking Heather Hunter hardcore either.
For me, I think time has helped this record. Had Boss came around at this time, she would be a breath of fresh air from these hip hop hookers who can't spit bars for shit, and only sell records with their ass and faces. The things coming out of her mouth are strictly gangsta, as there isn't a single sex oriented track on here. The lead single Deeper, which actually was a mainstream hit, is an introspective track with some depth to it that sees Boss fighting for a way out of her depression.
I don't really wanna feel like I'm in a daze so I smoke big kill Just to deal with the ills like this fucked up trip (damn) My skills ain't payin bills and it's fuckin with me and my grip (I hear you) I drink that St. Ide's shit and smoke a ticket at the same time Drop a wicked bomb on my naughty nature I'm livin foul like a Nickerbocker (you livin foul?) Bitch I'm not the woman to sleep but I'm lost (yo that's deep) Cause I be on some ole' I'm tired of niggaz tryin to come up off bitches type thing ("What can I do?") And if I don't react the way he want he might swing his little trick bitch ass in another direction then don't even use protection I hate stupid shit assholes can avoid Yo! And if worse came to worse I'll run a fraud on unemployed Cause who the fuck cares that I got gray hairs and can't sleep Know what I mean? (Yeah hell yeah, that's deep)
After this track though, it's full throttle from here as Boss shows no mercy and takes no prisoners with the most nihilistic raps from a female at the time, and quite possibly ever. The Erick Sermon produced cuts Comin' to Getcha and 2 to da Head proves that she's every bit as dangerous as her male counter parts:
I was born to start trouble so they labeled me a gravedigger And if the five-oh step, that's when I blast another twenty question askin punk cop motherfucker (yeah) Don't make your move before you think And fuck the judge, the jury and the god damn precinct
One must think that back in 1992, Boss took a good listen to the late Apache's track Gangsta Bitch, as she doesn't only seem to embrace being a bitch on the track Mai Sista Izza Bitch, but uses it as a form of female empowerment. Recipe of a Hoe is even more over the top though, as she violently goes after fake pimps and players, going so far as to shoot their balls off. LOL: Guess who?The down ass bitch BO$$!/Speakin' on how ya dick'll be gettin' shot clear the fuck off! And she make's it known that these fake ass guys do not have her fooled in the slightest: And any bitch can see for her damn self/Niggas thats talkin' the most shit ain't even buldgin' up under them belts! It's hard as hell to listen to this album and not die laughing.
Boss puts her storytelling and boasting skills to work on the entertaining cut Drive By, and together with her girl DJ Dee, they tag team the two most aggressive tracks, Catch a Bad One and Diary of a Mad Bitch. Now make no mistake about it, the album is probably the definition of one-dimensional, but one of the two reasons why this album succeeded was indeed the tremendously well crafted production. The listener can pick out the West and East coast blends which makes the beats a joy to listen to. The MC Serch produced Diary of a Mad Bitch uses a head bobbin' bass line with a keyboard in the background. This is among my favorite instrumentals here, and there's just so much greatness to be found. Erick Sermon's funky instrumentals were easy to notice back then, and his style of beats fit very well with her style. The second reason this succeeded is because it's a female talking all this shit and that's the shock of it. The album could have easily been brushed off as another gangsta record had it been done by a male, unless he seriously brought his lyrical A-game.
Boss to me really wasn't that versatile with the flow, but she was consistent and had a catchy delivery. In addition, due to her charisma and top notch production, the album maintains a very energetic vibe making it easy to coast through. Now the album is far from perfect, because after awhile the over the top boasting hits a point where it's no longer shocking, and she even rehashes a few of her boast here. I would say this album is about 5 tracks or so too long, because it reached the desired effect pretty early.
Unfortunately, I also remember Boss's street cred going down the drain very early, once her origin was actually dived in to. Boss is the very definition of a studio gangsta as all her shit was fabricated. But does that mean the album should be deemed wack because of it? Well, if we're going to look at it from that angle, according to the late Eazy-E on his diss track (heads know what I'm talking about), Dr. Dre was the same thing in his eyes and he backed it up with proof. So I think it was irrelevant to bring up her past even back then. And let's not even get into some of these dudes now.
In closing, is Born Gangstaz a classic album? Well, to me not really, but it's definitely a very good album as it introduced something interesting. Hearing a female in a male populated music genre showing she could hang with the most violent in the game was a refreshing feel. Plus, the outstanding production and over the top lyrics could both stand out on their own. This would have been classic material had it been limited to about 10 or 12 tracks. In any case, highly recommended to the most serious hip hop fans out there.
Track Listing: 1. Intro: A Call from Mom 2. Deeper 3. Comin’ to Getcha 4. Mai Sista Izza B***h 5. Thelma & Louise 6. Drive By 7. Progress of Elimination 8. Livin’ Loc’d 9. Recipe of a Hoe 10. A Blind Date with Boss 11. Catch a Bad One 12. Born Gangsta 13. 1-800-Body-Bags 14. Diary of a Mad B***h 15. 2 to da Head 16. I Don’t Give a F**k 17. Outro: A Call from Dad
Pros: -Incredible production, charismatic artist, hard hitting all the way through
# Track Listing Producer(s) 1 Intro: A Call from Mom featuring Lillie Laws Def Jef 2 Deeper featuring Papa Juggy Additional vocals by Def Jef Def Jef 3 Comin' to Getcha featuring Erick SermonErick Sermon 4 Mai Sista Izza Bitch featuring AMGAMG 5 Thelma and Louise Def Jef 6 Drive By Stone Tha Lunatic 7 Progress of Elimination Def Jef 8 Livin' Loc'd featuring Sticky Fingaz Chyskillz, Jam Master Jay 9 Recipe of a Hoe Mic Professah 10 A Blind Date With Boss featuring Onyx Tracey Waples 11 Catch a Bad One Def Jef 12 Born Gangsta Additional vocals by Admiral D AMG, Courtney Branch, Tracy Kendrick 13 ...