Punk-Rap Mixed Right
The White Mandingos’ The Ghetto is Tryna’ Kill Me has taken the rock/rap genre and made it respectable. Many ’90s acts tried to marry the two styles and unfortunately most of them ended in an ugly divorce and are still paying alimony. Hip Hop mastermind Murs has teamed up with Darryl Jennifer, bass player of the seminal punk band Bad Brains and Sacha Jenkins, co-founder of Ego Trip to create the perfect hybrid of hip hop elements and punk grittiness.
The title track starts off sounding like an above average hip hop song with a funky bass line, but by the end you are teleported to the front row at CBGB’s. “Warn a Brotha” has the classic sound one would expect from a Pixies song but mixed with the kind of storytelling one can only find in a hip hop joint.
“Black Girl Toof” slows it down a bit. The guitar’s tone transforms from a fuzzed out whale to a more mellow warm tone. Murs’ voice professes a tale of love and loss in a way only he could. “My First White Girl” is a step in the same direction but this time Sacha chooses a more experimental soundscape to create with his axe but nevertheless Murs stays on point and delivers every word precisely.
Punk and rap has always shared similar themes just seen through a different lens. Through the years artist have tried to intertwine the two together but few have achieved that goal. Ice T’s stint with Body Count and the epic 1993 Judgment Night Soundtrack are two albums that have stood the test of time which managed to capture that sound, and now The Ghetto is Tryna Kill Me can bathe in the accolades of accomplishing something that so many have tried but fell short.