Monday, July 17, 2006

Group Home "Express" (1997)

The rap on Group Home was that without DJ Premier's production, they couldn't even put out an indie record, let alone something on a major (we'll consider Payday a major). I always thought Lil' Dap had some dope verses (he held his own on Gangstarr records), and that there were plenty of two-man crews that were carried by one man. Group Home's "Express" 12", released by Tape Kingz, has always remained my argument that Group Home was worth something without Premier.

Produced (ok, co-produced) by Lil'Dap himself, the track doesn't have the bounce that Premier can bring (as in "Supastar"), but it's flawless for the concept executed on "Express". Dark and foreboding, Lil'Dap brings you into his mindstate as he travels on the A-train from East New York to Uptown. You can literally break out a subway map on his verse:

East New York Express, brothers don't try to flex
Only real brothers on these trains, and we know what's best
Deep meditation when we start to write over rhymes
Hop on Broadway Junction and my changes shine... I hit my stash when I hit Nostrand Ave
pickin' up oils and incense to create a new path...

Love the spoken chorus on this one ("Some people understand/some people don't/some people realize/some people won't"). I can't finish the post without commenting on Malachi's verse, though. The theme here is clear: "Express" (The A-train, and the people that travel it). Malachi drops the second verse:

Recreation of life - is a natural beauty
Enhanced technicians - to do their duty
Evaluations - of all situations
Excellent specialists - with information...

This shit continues. I'm going to give Malachi the benefit of the doubt and say that there's some meaning in his lyrics, they're just crazy abstract. He eventually winds his way to "education is the main priority" and "there's too much poverty in this society". Malachi, glad you're trying to discuss issues and all, but you're doing it in the wrong f*cking song. "Express", get it? Put me inside the damn A-train. I suppose that you could argue that the A-train is a metaphor for wealth, class and race in NYC, but it's a different thing entirely to link that argument to Malachi's lyrics.

In short, "Express" is a summary of what's right about Group Home and what's wrong. It's almost like Malachi pulled a verse out of his ass, Lil'Dap got frustrated, and so Malachi adds this last line at the end of his verse, almost as a punchline:

Don't get bent - because you smokin' on that stress
We form New York - on the A-train express

Repeating it ("Express!") is almost this zen-like moment..."oh, yeah, that's what I'm supposed to rhyme about. If I repeat it, it'll become the theme." Includes instrumental; feel free to share your own Group Home theory if you've got one.


Blogger FRAK said...

Yo i'v been lookin for this album that Kai-bee drop'd called

"Ghetto Celebz" if u see that any where do me the favor son!!
chek it out here

8:18 PM  
Blogger Eric said...

this site is a HUGE service to the hip hop community.

thank you!

10:54 PM  
Blogger RUTHLESS BOB said...

Here's my argument for the Group Home aint shit without Primo theory...

Group Home / Brainsick Ent. - East New York Theory 12″

2:24 PM  

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