With the Bronx being hip-hop’s birthplace and New York being the hip-hop Mecca, it was only a matter of time before some of it’s neighboring east coast states would get in the hip-hop game and make a little noise as well. Boston native Edward Anderson begin rapping as a teen in the late eighties, under the alias of Edo Rock wit a crew called FTI, which was an acronym for Fresh To Impress (I know, it sounds corny but most things from the eighties do). Edward made a little noise with FTI, but after the group’s freshness ran out and they no longer impressed, he linked up with two well-known NY deejays Teddy Tedd and Special K (also known as the Awesome 2), dropped the “Rock” from his name and added a “G” along with fourteen of his closest homies (who I’m still not sure what part they played in the group since they never rapped or produced a track on either of the two Ed O.G. & Da Bulldogs albums) and Ed O.G. and Da Bulldogs were born.
With the Awesome 2’s help, Edward and Da Bulldogs stuck a deal with PWL America, an offshoot of the Mercury label, and released their debut album Life of a Kid In the Ghetto in 91′. To show his appreciation to the Awesome 2 for helping him get the deal, Edward decided to let the duo produce the entire album.
Let’s see how well that decision worked out for him.
I’m Different – Edward kicks thing off with an Awesome 2 instrumental that sounds like its lost in the woods and never quite finds its way out, remaining in an endless loop until it dies an untimely death due to lack of proper hydration and nutriment. Edward never quite finds himself either, but I’ll give him a pass, considering the instrumental he had to work with. On the bright side: the vocal sample from Big Daddy Kane’s “No Half Steppin” used on the hook was a nice added touch.
Speak Upon It – I love this song. Edward invites Ace & Quan and Def Jef to help out on this one, as each spit a verse (Ace & Quan share one) about a few (of the many) injustices inflicted on African-Americans. The Awesome 2 redeem themselves for the previous track, providing a funky instrumental for the backdrop on this one. All four emcees do a pretty good job with Edward walking away with the song. Throw this one on your black history month mix. Classic.
Feel Like A Nut – I never liked this one and that still holds true today. For some reason, Edward thought the listener would give two squirts about when and when he doesn’t want to have sex. Wrong.
I Got To Have It – Classic. You’ve heard Hamilton Bohannon’s “Singing a Song for My Mother” sample on several songs (which also includes one of the best horn samples ever used in a hip-hop song), but to my knowledge The Awesome 2 were the first to mess with it. Edward spits three verses and does this sick instrumental justice in the process, arguably turning in the best song on Life of a Kid In the Ghetto.
She Said It Was Great – Over an average instrumental Edward shares stories about one of hip-hop’s favorite topics: the skinz. Some of Edwards metaphors are crazy corny (i.e.”she wasn’t like a radio, so I couldn’t turn her down”). I’m pretty sure this is no one’s favorite song (or even favorite Ed O.G. song for that matter).
Dedicated To The Right Wingers – This was in dedicated to the 2 Live Crew controversy. In case you forgot or are too young to remember, let’s recap: Back in 89′, 2 Live Crew’s album As Nasty As They Wanna Be was banned from being sold in the state of Florida because of their explicit sexual content. Luke (Campbell) and company were later arrested for performing some of their “lewd” material at a show in Florida. But 2 Live Crew fought back, and the case went all the way to the supreme court where the ruling was in favor of 2 Live Crew’s, on the grounds that banning their music violated their right of freedom of speech protected by the first amendment. Oh yeah, the song: it sucked.
Gotta Have Money (If You Ain’t Got Money, You Ain’t Got Jack) – Edward shares his theory that the only way to get ladies is by having money. I say, if that’s the only thing a lady wants you for, you got the wrong woman. The Awesome Two use the same sample we heard Premo borrow from for Gangstarr’s “Love Sick” earlier the same year. I’m surprised to say this, but I prefer The Awesome 2’s interpretation over Premo’s, only because of the addition of the cinematic sample the Awesome 2 incorporate into the track right before the hook comes in. This was nice.
Let Me Tickle Your Fancy – Another song about Edward and his skinz. The best part of this song is the Digital Underground vocal sample from “The Humpty Dance” (“come here, are you ticklish?”), and that’s not good.
Be A Father To Your Child – Classic. This is my favorite Ed O.G. song off all time (and for those of you trying to catch me in a contradiction, I referred to “I Got To Have It” as the best song on the album, not my favorite. There is a distinct difference). Edward sends a message to all the absentee dads out their to take care of their responsibilities, and arguably, turns in his best verses of the evening, as he drops words of wisdom like an old sage. The Awesome 2 sample Roy Ayers classic “Searching” record, which you heard before, but I haven’t heard anyone incorporate the sick horn sample that The Awesome Two insert during the hook. Classic hip-hop, folks.
Stop (Think For A Moment) – I think Edward is spitting battle rhymes, but I was so distracted by the battle taking place between the two clashing samples that the Awesome 2 decided to throw together on this instrumental, I can’t be sure. You know that whole water and oil saying? That applies to this instrumental.
Bug-A-Boo – I believe this was the first single released from Life of a Kid In the Ghetto. If not, it was the first song I heard from Ed O.G. and Da Bulldogs. This playful song sounds like something Jazzy Jeff and Fresh Prince would have done back in the day. The end result: neutral.
Life Of A Kid In The Ghetto – Edward saves the title song for the last song of the evening, as he spits one long verse about coming up in the mean streets of Roxbury. This was a decent way to the show.
Other than his mother’s, Ed O.G. isn’t on anyone’s greatest of all time list. That said, he is still a decent emcee. Decent, is also the adjective that best describes Life of a Kid In the Ghetto in general. Edward turns in serviceable verses but never spits anything that will make you hit the rewind button, while the Awesome 2’s production misses more than it connects, but when they do connect, they knock it out the park. In a nutshell, Life of a Kid In the Ghetto is three bona-fide classics wrapped up in a bunch of filler material. Still, if you’re a hip-hop fan you should at least have “Speak Upon It”, “I G0t To Have It” and “Be A Father To Your Child” on your iPod/Pad.