Street Gospel

Suga Free

Street Gospel

Arguably the greatest (if most underrated) pimp rap specialist since Too Short, Suga Free has been churning out over-the-top pandering rhymes since the early-‘90s, when he was known as Royal Rock. Blessed with a wholly original style that incorporates mellow singing, schizophrenic cadences, and lightning-fast, E-40-esque slanguage, he has amassed a devoted cult following while never really breaking through to the mainstream. Originally down with West Coast beat maestro DJ Quik, the two teamed up for this impressive debut album released in 1997. A wild ride through the red-light districts of Pomona, California, Street Gospel is alternately sordid, hilarious, and thought-provoking, a head-spinning mix of flesh-peddling bravado and subtle sensitivity, interjected with plenty of scandalous hoes and references to his perm and nails. Quik's production here is among his best work, exquisitely funky and highly musical, loaded with his trademark watery synths, deep bass thumps, and freaky percussion. With classic tracks like "On My Way," "Why U Bullsh*ttin?" and "Doe Doe and da Skunk," Street Gospel plays like the hip-hop equivalent of Iceburg Slim's acclaimed autobiography.

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