The Underground Kings, abbreviated UGK, are a southern Hip Hop duo from Texas, America. Released in 96 "Ridin' Dirty" is considered a classic and remarkably sold shy of platinum with no official singles released. On my first spin I recognized a few tracks from various movie soundtracks and shows Ive watched, its like another piece of the puzzle falling into place with lyrical references lining up, like Jay-Z's "We like underground kings, riding dirty" from "The Blueprint". This wasn't as distinctly southern as I was expecting. With tinges of Outkast's debut vibe, UGK find the best of the east's sampling and the west's programmed beats, it amounted to a very defined and accessible record.
The two both have strong, clear and steady flows with a keen ear from rhymes and hooks, Bun B with the deeper tone and Pimp C a sharper, aggressive delivery that compliment each other. It makes for great listening but on a deeper level there isn't to much to delve into lyrically beyond the gangster lifestyle. Its about the mood and moment, telling it through slick rhymes for the listener, UGK ain't trying to make a point or reflect on their lifestyles but just tell it how it is. With a blunt approach and unapologetic story telling there's plenty of disagreeable misogyny and glorified violence on display.
Where the record works for me is the beats and production. Most these instrumentals are simple, to the point and can be deconstructed with ease as they don't over complicate. Its a fine line to tread but "No Joe" and the two rappers handle the production with a keen ear for samples, mixing some Funk and Soul sounds with sharp kits playing out tidy grooves. At around an hour it shows its consistency without a weak track. It couldn't be done by the instrumentals alone which are often small sections on repeat with a few breaks. Although there wasn't much food for thought the duos rhyme styles carry weight and keep one entertained for the duration of what I can agree is a classic record for its time.
Favorite Songs: Pinky Ring, 3 In The Mornin', Good Stuff