Monday, April 6, 2015
ROSCO P. COLDCHAIN: BETTER THAN 99% OF YOU RAPPERS OUT THERE!
File under Great Rappers Who Got Shafted By The Industry: Star Trak Subdivision. Following star-turns on Lord Willin and Clones, Rosco seemed poised for solo success in 2003. There was a video for "Delinquent," a now quaintly dated Bulworth/Chappelle style "Prez in the 'hood" fantasy, while his debut Hazardous Life promised collaborations with Timbaland, Kanye West, Alchemist, and DJ Premier. Evident from the nonsensical clip up top, even the herberts at Spin were reviewing his shit in their execrable proto-Gawker style. But when Arista folded, Rosco's LP was left to gather dust. Blue-balled rap fans held hope against dwindling hope that Hazardous Life would somehow escape limbo, until Rosco (allegedly) caught two bodies in 2008 and put the definitive kibosh on all that. Ab-Liva says Rosco might be out in a year, which seems suspiciously lenient for a double homicide, but maybe he's just been hammerin out those license plates like a mufucker.
Although he obviously benefited from working with the Neptunes at their creative peak, Rosco was more than a Rap Game game manager. The cold heart's steeliness keeps with the hardboiled Philly style, yet his flamboyant vocabulary and delivery endow passages of violence and torture with the ironic dissonance of Looney Tunes gun violence. He was a writerly rapper at a time when that was falling out of vogue, banging out vivid motormouthed verses in torrents of words past the margin, finding unexpected pathos in all the gristle and grit. There aren't any obvious points of reference for his style - razor-sharp enunciation, the dramatic sense of a Big Rube monologue - but the way he weaves between the cold streets and unvarnished introspection recalls a rascally Scarface or Beans with the teetering rhythmic tightrope walking of Mystikal and Sadat X.
What started as mere curiosity ended as a wild goose chase to find as much of Rosco's output as I could, the Hazardous Life material in particular. There are plenty of absences. None of the Kanye or Timbaland material seems to have leaked. Although I found a version of the "Broad Daylight Boys" (ft. Havoc) on There Will Be Blood, I couldn't track down mp3s for his other documented work with the Alchemist: "Gangsta Banger" and "Break Me," the latter again featuring Havoc. Also missing are "Story Joint" and "W.A.R.," glaring omissions to any true Greatest Hits comp.
The first comp contains all the Neptunes material, except for "Sun Will Shine" w/ Jadakiss & Pusha T, the nigh mythical "Leave It Alone," and the two Lord Willin features I assume everyone already has. The other is a collection of stray shots, including two Primo joints and "Box of Bullets," supposedly produced by Hit Boy. There is nothing from the Almost Famous LP - y'all can contribute to Rosco's commissary fund for that one. As I cobbled together my Hazardous Life facsimile, I learned that someone already undertook the same project with the Shoulda Been Platinum Album. As I could only find dead links in a The Coli thread, I decided to brave the sketchy Russian bootlegger back alleys and glory holes so you don't have to. Exhaustive by no means, I hope these comps will at least open the ears of those who only know the Clipse joints. If anyone has the songs I'm missing or a lead on either Street Commission mixtape, holla at ya boy.
DISC 1 - COLDCHAIN & THE NEPS
1. Hot (w/ Pusha T & Boo-Bonic)
2. I Can't Help
3. I'm Talkin' To You
4. Cocoa Leaf (w/ Philly's Most Wanted & Fam-Lay)
6. Mask & Gloves
7. Itchin' To Get Ya
8. One More Time
9. Don't Take It Personal (w/ Clipse)
10. Only God Can Judge Me
12. Sick Of Goin' To War
13. Digital World (w/ Kelis)
14. At Your Door (OG 12" Mix of "Chinese New Year")
DISC 2 - ODDS N SCODS
1. My Screw's Loose
2. Box Of Bullets (prod. Hit Boy)
3. I Don't Know You
4. Im'ma Kill This Nigga (w/ Ab-Liva, prod. DJ Premier)
5. Whut Itz All About (prod. DJ Premier)
6. Hammertime (Beatnuts Freestyle)
7. Fresh 2 Game
8. Slow Walking
9. Welcome Home
10. City Wide (w/ Sandman)
11. Tic Toc
12. Evils (w/ Stockholders)
13. Broad Daylight Boys (w/ Havoc, prod. Alchemist)
14. Give It Up
15. Man Of The Hour