Artist Review: Prophets Of The Ghetto '96-'99 EP (Dopefolks)!!

June 17, 2011 4 min read

BUY Prophets Of The Ghetto '96-'99 EP NOW!!

Another Dopefolks Sureshot!! I continue to be impressed with every release. Recently they dropped the Legion Of D.U.M.E EP and the Courageous Chief “Warpath” Reissue…both super quality material. Now the latest, straight out of Philly…

Prophets Of The Ghetto are Norfstar, Neet Mata, Ken Cut, DJ, Dyce, Ben Ellis, Gamez Masta & DBL

This record is no nonsense from the opening second, with a quick message from Sista Souljah before setting it off with “The Battle”, an excellent introductory track. It showcases their laidback but assertive nature, casually unique rhyme patterns, Islamic path, and their serious mannerisms with a hint of humor.
[audio:|titles=01 The Battle]

Thru out the EP, the production is nicely done, with only one clearly noticeable break-beat (“Impeach The President” on “$Kurrency$”) and packed with blunt drums, jazzy samples, an occasional keyboard, and the frequent appearance of subtle-ly loud hi-hats.

The MCs have a range of deliveries and approaches, but each puts thought into their writing and utilizes their own brand of aggressiveness.

Some of the material here was officially released previously. In ’96 they released the “Da Expansion” 12” (b/w with “$Kurrency$” and “Save Da Chit-Chat”) on Rock On Records. Then in ’99 they dropped “The Battle” b/w “Suave Soul” on Soul Hole Records. All of those tracks, save one, are included on this Dopefolks release. However, if you can track down the originals you get blessed with the instrumentals as well.

The other 4 tracks all appear to be previously unreleased. A couple of those are definitely my favorites on the EP. “West Phil” is certainly a highlight. It starts of lovely with MCs just trading lines back–n-forth while outlining their history in the game. In the 3rd verse, the listener is given a nice quick overview of the Philly Underground Hip Hop scene. In terms of Hometown/Neighborhood anthems this one is a great and well-rounded representation.
“Block Is Hot” displays the crew’s skill for visual imagery and storytelling.

There’s something super ill about the phrasing, nonchalant demeanor and details to the second half of the first verse:

“Around my block, yo, the strangest things be happening/The other day this kid caught one in the abdomen/First they was wrastling, playing around/But shorty got mad when he got brokedown/He got up off the ground,/Looking at everybody laughing/Caught feelings, left, and then came back like an assassin/Starting blasting/on his whole entire squad/But the things is, he didn’t even get slammed that hard/Life is odd/I mean they grew up side by side/But pride invaded and turned love to hatred/I guess I take it/ just a lil bit too close to heart/He banged me in the arm and blew my mans chest apart/But now he marked/ the beast is looking for him black/But I’m tell em I don’t know jack, don’t know where he at/And on the low keep my hammer cocked and ready/Run up in his hotties spot and make the block hot/I kid you not/I got 17 shots waiting/Hollow tip with his name on the casing/Waiting patient, patiently waiting/Contemplating/Whether or not the glock’ll pop when the block gets hot.”
Even though the story sounds the most outlandish on the track (who knows, it’s probably the true one…ha), there’s just something about his approach that makes it seem the most heartfelt.

“Muffled Mics” flips a slowed down version of the same sample source as Mental Giants “Good Food”. It’s purely on the freestyle battle tip and contains what is probably the best verse on the record, “I Grab the mic with greatness, confidence and patience/people come to shows, their goal’s to imitate this/Rap basic, stay on tracks like Asics/I should a write a manual on microphone maintenance/First Less(on), don’t throw threats to the audience/cause they get stressed when you express phoniness/ Two Jewel, this rule stay violated/forget the words to your verse? You’re not concentrating/Third, moves in with the force of a elephant herd/state what you relate with no saliva spitting slurs/amateurs who need weed to proceed/should be sliced to death by guillotine machines/it’s DE-pressing to see you need the herb essence for progression for your verbal attack lessons/The forth should’ve been taught when you entered the sport/Don’t bite what someone else write, follow your own thoughts/catch my drift, the fifth, you ain’t got the gift/of rap/, got put on cause of your man from way back/What a lame excuse that just got put to use/I was passed the torch and told to execute”

Honestly, everyone comes off nicely on “Muffled Mics”, it’s stock full with quotables, making it a definitely jewel on the EP.

[audio:|titles=08 Muffled Mics]

All in all, nothing is lacking here. Every joint is quality and well worth a listen. They undoubtedly take their lyricism and the Culture extremely serious and express it often and skillfully, but without being preachy. Instead, it’s delivered with veteran like confidence and matter-of-factness that makes it easy to want to follow them on their mission with no questions asked.

Various members of the crew are still active and making music and/or moves. I’m definitely looking to build with more in the near future to uncover more of their story and current path…

Written By Kevin Beacham

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