Thanks to N.W.A. completely demolishing the proverbial door and putting the city of Compton on the map, the path was a little easier for other up and coming hip-hop acts claiming the CPT. One such group to benefit from the city’s new found exposure was Compton’s Most Wanted.
Upon the group’s conception (or at least their first official album release), CMW consisted of emcees MC’s Eiht and Chill, deejay Mike T, and producers DJ Slip and Unknown. CMW released their debut album It’s a Compton Thang on Orpheus Records in 1990.
Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending how you feel about him) this would be the only CMW project MC Chill would be involved in as he was sentenced to prison in 91′ and missed the sessions for CMW’s next two projects Straight Checkn’Em and Music to Driveby. By the time Chill was released in 94″, thanks to soundtrack songs and numerous cameos, MC Eiht had made such a name for himself that the group decided to stick with one emcee, which would eventually led to a pretty successful solo career for Eiht.
But I digress. Let’s focus on CWM’s debut.
One Time Gaffled Em Up – This was the first single released by the CMW camp. Over a smooth instrumental MC Eiht spits about a few run-ins he and his crew have had with 5-0. I remember the video for this being very low-budget, which shouldn’t come as a surprise considering they were on an independent label. Eiht’s laid back vocal and delivery feel like they were custom made to fit this instrumental as he shows he’s more than capable to hold is own. Nice way to start things off.
I’m Wit Dat – Eiht and the Chill MC (which also happens to be the most generic rap moniker of all time) trade verses on this one, with the end results of Eiht rapping circles around his counterpart. The sample used for the instrumental has been used many times during the course of our chosen genre but DJ’s Slip and Unknown’s spin on it still makes this an enjoyable listen.
Final Chapter – I completely forgot about this song. While Eiht will forever be remembered in the annuls of hip-hop for his gangster bravado he was definitely more of a battle emcee at this stage in his career. He holds this one down solo and does a decent job, especially considering the mediocre instrumental provided. One of Eiht’s favorite slogans “as I commence” is used for the first of many times to come in Eiht’s career. By the way, what’s up with his line about “a drunk wino”? Isn’t it overkill? It’s kind of given that a wino is drunk? I bet he “kills his competition dead” as well.
I Give Up Nuthin – The instrumental is cool but Eiht’s stiff delivery sounds like he’s reading from a script while chasing the instrumental trying to keep pace with the beat.
This Is Compton – I love this instrumental. Eiht and Chill (after taking an extended potty break) tag team the mic to share a little info about the city they’re from. Chill even takes a shot at Dj Quik at the end of this one. So maybe all the battle raps they’ve been spitting up to this point weren’t random but aimed at a specified target. Hmmm…
Rhymes Too Funky Pt.1 (Live At Lonzo’s 1988) – I’m assuming Lonzo’s is one of their homie’s mama’s basement, based on the sound quality of this track. Eiht and Chill each spit a battle verse before this one fades to black. Nice, short, and sweet, in a first draft demo kind of way.
Duck Sick – This is my favorite song on the entire album. Both Eiht and Chill spit battle rhymes over some sick guitar lick samples, and sound believable while doing so. I still chuckle when I hear Eiht’s line “I heard you did a show on your mom’s tape deck”, especially considering they were probably guilty of the same offense on the last song. Eiht’s clearly the better emcee of the two but both emcees sound decent on this one.
Give It Up – What would a hip-hop album be without a song dedicated to the ladies? That’s a rhetorical question, by the way. Warning: the song’s content is as blatant as the title might suggest. Matter of fact, Eiht and Chill are so blatant at times it’s comical, especially Chill’s line that gripping his girl’s ass confirms his love for her. Who said chivalry was dead? As juvenile as the lyrics are the instrumental bangs so much more, making this an enjoyable listen. Kuddos for the “She’s Gotta Have It” vocal sample at the end.
Late Night Hype – Okay, while Duck Sick is my favorite song on the album, “Late Night Hype” is my favorite instrumental on It’s a Compton Thang. Eiht and Chill get two verses each to share stories about their late night adventures, filled with stories of hoes, weed, liquor, hoes, murder, and, did I mention hoes? Regardless of the lyrically content you can’t front on the sickness of this instrumental.
I Mean Biznez – CMW uses a sample Premo would later use for Lord Finesse’s record “Strictly For The Ladies”. This would be a trend followed throughout CMW’s catalog: Eiht would give Premo love on the album insert shoutouts of CMW’s second album Straight Checkn’Em, and Premo would return the love by letting Eiht make an appearance on Gangstarr’s Hard to Earn album (“Aiiight, Chill…”). Both emcees sound decent but I think it would be pretty hard not to over such a sick instrumental .
It’s A Compton Thang – Eiht raps (pun intended) things up dolo for the title song. They use the same Juicy “Sugar Free” sample that AZ would later use for his biggest (and only) hit “Sugar Hill”, making this a pleasant way to close out the album.
It’s a Compton Thang is a decent debut by CMW. Eiht easily establishes himself as the chief voice of the group, displaying serviceable to solid microphone techniques throughout the course of the journey, while Chill, well, does Chill. It also helps that the musical backdrops hit way more than they miss. It’s a Compton Thang is far from a great album but packs enough punch for any fan of golden-era hip-hop to enjoy it.