13 Songs, 45 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Mac Dre’s fourth album carries more ominous, angry undertones than his previous efforts — perhaps a subliminal signal of the forces that would contribute to his murder four years later. The opening track, “Staying Alive,” is deep and cavernous and has Dre rasping: “I run with n****s that jack for fun / And I'll never leave the house without packing my gun.” As a leader of the Bay Area scene, Dre had one of the first hyphy songs. Though it features the genre’s creator (Keak Da Sneak), “Hy Phy” is more indicative of Dre’s hallucinatory atmospheres than the hyperactive stompers the genre would later spawn. “Don’t Be a Punk” and “Exo & Remi” find the rapper inhabiting the darkest corners of sex and intoxication, but Heart of a Gangsta… also functions as Dre’s return to the low-rider funk songs of his early career. “Let’s Go Riden,” “Off the Rictor” and “Al Boo Boo” feel like the author’s twisted take on the vintage street funk of Dazz and the Gap Band. Ultimately, it is “Black Buck Rodgers” that best symbolizes Dre’s art: “It’s natural things and I’m smooth as cream / And I know you can sell a fool a dream / Top notcher, better watch us / Space age pimp, the black Buck Rogers."

EDITORS’ NOTES

Mac Dre’s fourth album carries more ominous, angry undertones than his previous efforts — perhaps a subliminal signal of the forces that would contribute to his murder four years later. The opening track, “Staying Alive,” is deep and cavernous and has Dre rasping: “I run with n****s that jack for fun / And I'll never leave the house without packing my gun.” As a leader of the Bay Area scene, Dre had one of the first hyphy songs. Though it features the genre’s creator (Keak Da Sneak), “Hy Phy” is more indicative of Dre’s hallucinatory atmospheres than the hyperactive stompers the genre would later spawn. “Don’t Be a Punk” and “Exo & Remi” find the rapper inhabiting the darkest corners of sex and intoxication, but Heart of a Gangsta… also functions as Dre’s return to the low-rider funk songs of his early career. “Let’s Go Riden,” “Off the Rictor” and “Al Boo Boo” feel like the author’s twisted take on the vintage street funk of Dazz and the Gap Band. Ultimately, it is “Black Buck Rodgers” that best symbolizes Dre’s art: “It’s natural things and I’m smooth as cream / And I know you can sell a fool a dream / Top notcher, better watch us / Space age pimp, the black Buck Rogers."

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