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The 2005 album, "The People's Champ", came as the first commercially avaliable record from the Houston, Texas rapper, Paul Wall. It has him perform with many of the most well-known locals, who come together to produce an album which is done in a very specific style (based on the where the artist grew up). The rapper does one with a desinctive Houston sound, complete with Chopped and Screwed techniques, as well as all of what typically comes with Southern Rap.
1. "I'm A Playa"
Kicking off the album you have Paul wall working alongside the biggest Hip Hop act from Memphis, Three 6 Mafia, and together they come out with a banger of a tune to get things going. It is a big one, and it pretty much sums up where he is going with this album. With bassy beats and a lively atmosphere
2. "They Don't Know"
Originally off his first album, "Chick Magnet", this one has him just killing it as he gets Grid Iron and Michae '5000' Watts to compose a track which has him sampling some H-Town classics from the likes of Lil' Keke, Fat Pat, and UGK (from nearby Port Arthur). Bun B, of that group actully gets a proper role in things too as they explain what it's about in Texas.
3. "Ridin' Dirty"
I didn't think that this one was anything special on the album, and you could easily forge it. It has the R&B singer, treyz Songgz sinign for the chorus along with him as he raps about "Ridin' Dirty", however since Chamillionauire completely torn up that expression, you wouldn't even remember that Paul wall had even attempted it before.
4. "State To State"
This one has him doing a track about drug traffiking, and how he claim to have the whoel of the US under control with his own personal supplies. The way that '5000' Watts oversses it all has him ultimately screwing the whole thing as his modifies the voices to make it much slower and more commanding as he performs with Philadelphia's Freeway.
5. "So Many Diamonds"
It only became apparent to me after hearing this track that T.I. who features as a guest rapper on this one, was one of very few of the big rap stars from the south, who didn't buy into the whole grills fad of 2004-2006, and despite this he raps he whole thing about how he, and Paul Wall (who was only known for the diamonds in his mouth at the time) can only be seen with these covering his teeth.
6. "Smooth Operator"
7. "Sittin' Sidewayz"
This is the most typical tracks to represent what it is to be a Houston Rap track, as it has a normal track done, bu then Michael '5000' Watts comes in to re-mix the thing and give it a Chopped and Screwed makeover by slowing the pace of the raps and cutting the track apaprt to give off a jerky effect. It is one of the best that you get on the album.
8. "Internet Going Nutz"
The throwback style of th production, which uses the types of things which would have been used in all Southern Rap in the late eighties and early nineties, and it forces you to get excited by it all as Salih Williams and '5000 Watts' display that they know exactly what is required to get listeners going.
The word which basically describes all Hip Hop acts in H-Town is this, and so to do a track based on it with the king of it, Bun B, you know that they are goign to sety things straight and block outsiders to what is a very exclusive collective of people who are down for whatever.
10. "Sippin' tha Barre"
This one reminds me of some real Golden Age Hip Hop from the Dirty South, as it takes on all the characteristics of a UGK track from about 1988 with the killer slow tempo, and raps which match the laid-back feelings that are induced by the way that it is composed. If you are aware of Mike Jones' "Stil Tippin'", then this one should remind you of it.
11. "Drive Slow"
This was one of the singles off kanye West's second lbum, and since he had a role in it, he chose to use it for his own album. However I thought that of him, Kayne and GLC, Paul Wall's part in it all was the least connected to the overall subect of things, and he didin't seem to get what the others were on about.
12. "March 'n' Step"
Paul Wall gets Weezy on this one, and with Lil' Wayne's support he really makes sure that you take notice of this one as they jump on some beats by Grid Iron. However at thi time, he wasn't that well known, and I doubt he would have done anything for it. He certainly didn't sound as if he did much for it.
13. "Got Plex"
I really wanted this one to do more, however it just couldn't reach where it needed to be in order to make enough impact. It has him collaborate with the well-respected H-Towners, Archie Lee and Cootabang, however they still didn't have what was needed to get thins on going in a big way.
This was a very soft single off the album, and it had him completely change things up whislt rapping to his girl on some extremely diffenrent production, which has him working on a very flowery composition. However, whilst adding to the varity of things, it isn't something that he can really do with his style of rapping.
15. "Big Ballin'"
In the way that Lil' Wayne's " A Milli" is compsoed this one has "Big Ballin'" being said throghout the thing to act as strong, supportive backing for the rapper as he works with this to describe how hard is grind is, and the subsequent effects of it all.
16. "Sip-N-Get High"
Unknown, Aqualeo joins him on thi sone, however I didn't think very much to what he came with, and so I felt as though the recording had little to offer, as it waas already aprent that Wall himself wasn't really capable of carrying tracks himself, so to try and work off some even worse rhymes would be pretty difficult.
17. "Just Paul Wall"
I hardly ever like these types of tunes, and when placed at the end of a debut rap album, it is so cliches to do ones like this where you document the struggel that you wen to to get to this point in life, however I couldn't be doing with something so predictable, and personal.
Although I liked a lot of this, due to the great prodcution with the highly impactful Chopped and Screwed effects, and rhymes to match these feelings, I wasn't too impressed by this album as the rapper's lyrical skils are clearly not that good at all. At least he didn't do what mike Jones does and just repeat lines over and over again, but the over-use of certain phrases did put e off this at times. When it comes to Houston Rap, I would advise you look to others before him.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Intro - Paul Wall
2 Sittin' Sidewayz - Big Pokey, Paul Wall
3 Big Ballin' - Paul Wall
4 March N' Step - Grit Boys, Paul Wall
5 State to State - Freeway, Paul Wall
6 Trill - B.G., Bun B, Paul Wall
7 Girl - Paul Wall
8 Just Paul Wall - Paul Wall
9 So Many Diamonds - T.I., Paul Wall
10 Smooth Operator - Paul Wall
11 Got Plex - Coota Bang, Grit Boys, Paul Wall
12 They Don't Know - Bun B, Paul Wall
13 Ridin' Dirty - Trey Songz, Paul Wall
14 Internet Going Nutz - Paul Wall
15 I'm a Playa - T.I., Paul Wall
16 Sip-N-Get High - Aqualeo, Paul Wall
17 Drive Slow - GLC, Paul Wall,
18 Outro - Paul Wall