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Released in 2001, "Dirty Money" came as the fourth album from the Port Arthur, Texas duo UGK. It saw the last effort from the group before the producer and rapper from the group Pimp C was imprisoned (later coming out in 2006 before dying the year after) and finds that here he and Bun B capital upon the mainstream attention they finally received with their collaboration with Jay-Z on "Big Pimpin'". This one came as a return album from the group as they came back after a five-year hiatus from a video-less Gold-selling release.
1. "Let Me See It"
They get the album going in a dramatic fashion as you see that as they ride a classic sample that has been found in Hip Hop records since it was 'born' in the seventies to connect with the past as they come with some hardcore material to push forward the material as they are seen to stand as one of few southern acts to pre-date the breakthrough of Dirty South Rap and have gone on to see it at its peak.
2. "Choppin' Blades"
As I heard the main riff of this one break out, I knew that this one was just too much and takes things to a massive high for the duo as you see that they jump on the type of beats that you tend to expect from a G-Funk composition way out on the West Coast and they do so in a manner that you are able to establish where their influences have come from and what they from here as it all comes together.
3. "Look At Me"
They move into another banger of a jam that is topped off by some funky wah-wahs to give an authentic feel to the production and to help them as they come with the laid-back rhymes that you tend to associate with the act as they power through with some rhymes which take the basic elements and take them to big places (due to the experience they have gained since starting in the late eighties).
4. "Ain't That A B***h"
This was a track that I initially didn't have much love for, but through time I grew to enjoy it much more as I could appreciate much of what is done and how well they come through with the raps here. You see that it is Bun B who delivers the most significant flows on the track, but Houston's own Devin The Due is a close second with his stoner flows which top the thing off as it comes to a close as the attention turns towards no-good girls.
5. "Gold Grill"
With this one you have them getting down to one where they are able to explore something that the south is known for (or especially was during this time) as they get into one with Memphis' 8Ball & MJG about the gold grills that they are often seen rocking to some fresh beats which take on the smooth funky style, but also incorporate lots of the heavy percussion from drum machines to represent the hardships of the south too.
6. "PA N***a"
The odd production in this one was a bit too close to the Louisiana, Master P style for me, however I felt that they were able to effectively overcome this slight setback from the poor quality of the beats that support them as you find that they are able to use it to try out rapping in an alterative style as it forces much lengthier lines to put them in a new situation, which they appear to cope well with for decent results.
7. "Holdin' Na"
Here they get back to the massively-high quality material as they once again loo back in time to classic Hip Hop tracks, and take a snippet from the Beastie Boys debut album to work form and take things to a new level as they seem to screw it to the Texas pace and come with perfect rhymes to suit this kind of material for one of the best tracks on the whole of the album and to excite listeners heavily.
8. "Don't Say S**t"
Here you find more of the Chopped & Screwed elements coming through with this one as you find a banger of a track and one that has Pimp C coming out with some of his freshest rhymes up to that point (possibly a reason for him using a couple of lines from his opening verse as the hook to a track on his return album "Pimpalation" once he was freed. It is a cold tune and the slow pace makes it so hardcore and makes as if they don't need much effort to come out with classic work.
9. "Dirty Money"
Here they are backed by Goodie MOB's Big Gipp, who provides a few of his own rhymes to the mix, and I have to say that he was a strong choice to be added to the mix as he comes with a style that seems to follow on from where the other to leave it. You see that here Bun B goes hard with his social commentaries for some thought-provoking results and to keep you engaged with it at all times.
10. "Like A Pimp"
Here both DJ Paul and Juicy J of Three 6 Mafia come to work with them for even more of the Memphis influence on the thing, and as you see that the four of them jump on top of an adapted, southern remake of "Don't Look Any Further", Big Bun feels that it is necessary to lay down the classic opening line to Eric B & Rakim's "Paid In Full" to liven up listeners before the take things into their world.
11. "Pimpin' Ain't No Illusion"
You get a rough tune as you see that the groovy bass that they work off here is just far too funky mange and it means that you really have to know what you are working with before you are taken trough with it. Here Kool Aid and Too $hort lend some rhymes for a bit more diversity and it also seems to act as a bit of a comparison to others in the game (who came up at the same sort of time) as they raps about something they all know about.
12. "Take It Off"
Here you find that the two of them get down into one where they perform some sensual rhymes as they are met with some girls who are willing to do anything the UGK pair ask of them. It is a big tune and has them appealing towards the club side of things (at a time before Crunk was taking over all southern clubs) and will appeal to all of those who liked the work of other popular acts from the region who were working it at this time.
13. "Wood Wheel"
They end the album on a track that takes on the Chopped & Screwed-styled beats (with the 'chops' kept to a minimum and it seems to act as a strong ender as it is one that eases you gently out of the thing and enables you to slowly work your way out of this killer record from the act. It is far from the best that the thing has to offer, but represents the south (and Texas in particular) well in terms of the types of things that make them tick.
This, as most UGK albums is one that really needs some attention as it is one that isn't flawed in any clear way and shows how they have got to a stage where recording classics requires little effort at all. It features a good range of tunes which you would expect to get from such an act and they hold it together throughout.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Let Me See It
2 Choppin' Blades
3 Look at Me
4 Ain't That a B***h (Ask Yourself)
5 Gold Grill
6 PA N***a
7 Holdin' Na
8 Don't Say S**t
9 Dirty Money
10 Like a Pimp
11 Pimpin' Ain't No Illusion
12 Take It Off
13 Wood Wheel
14 Money, H***s & Power [*]