Artist: Beeda Weeda
Album: Turfology 101
Label: Hiero Imperium
Rating: 7 / 10
Reviewer: A to the L
Straddling the Bay Area fence between the Hyphy and Hieroglyphics camps, East Oakland native Beeda Weeda’s debut album “Turfology 101” carries 16 tracks, the majority of which are produced by his own in-house production team PTB (Pushin’ The Beat) Productions. So where and how does Beeda Weeda fit into the scene in which currently has a large Hiphop spotlight shone on it due to the media interest in the Hyphy movement (to the point where indie cats like Zion-1 are dropping rapid paced, club-friendly records)?
Well, vision this if you can, fair reader. Take a pinch of the electronic sounds that the likes of E-40, Keak, Messy Marv, Mistah FAB and co have pushed to the forefront. Add a dash of the more indepth lyrical style championed by the likes of Casual, Tajai, and the rest of the Hiero clique, but temper it with 50 Cent levels of swagger and braggadocio. Throw in a shitload of bass. Bingo – “Turfology 101”.
The opening title track provides the perfect example – over a vibrating synth, a thumping bass, and insistent claps, Beeda kindly informs us of his daily activities – “Streets tryna swallow me / Cops tryna follow me / Block keeps callin’ me / They say I need psychology”, and while this reads like the life story of every other studio gangsta you’ve ever heard of, its delivered with a believable edge that urges you to continue listening. ‘Turfs Up’ and the later ‘Stomp’ also deliver similar messages over similar blinky bleepy beats with devastating effect.
Beeda’s mission was to produce an album that reflected the various goings on in the daily life of the young Oakland black male, and so, while indeed there are several tracks that glorify the, shall we say, more violent things in life, there are other areas where a more reflective tone is prevalent. Whether its the wickedly ironic chorus of ‘Be Like Us’ (“We all gangstas, killers, hustlers, thugs / Got money, power, guns and drugs / Don’t you wanna grow up to be like us?”); ‘Soldier’, the dripping-with-funk dedication to the ladies who stand by their men, or the ‘Pac-ish ‘Love Ones’, its clear that the ability to deliver a more thoughtful message at times makes Beeda an infinitely more listenable rhymer. Wow, that was a long sentence.
A large part of any male, be he black, white, yellow or purple, living in Oakland, NYC, or London, is of course chasing ass, and on club-themed tracks like ‘A.O.B.’, ‘Back Of The Club’, and ‘Space’, Beeda embraces the Hyphy movement to the fullest, delivering catchy hooks over addictive beats designed to bring kitty cats to the dance floor. Its fantastically ignant, and instantly appealing for all the wrong reasons – but who the hell cares… Hiphop is designed to be contradictory innit?
Its difficult to talk about this album without constantly being on some ‘Hyphy this, Hyphy that’ steez… but its easily the best way to give you, the great unwashed, a quick way to decide if you might go for this. If stuttery bleeps and blips and hard pounding bass is a big part of your life then this will either sit well in your Hyphy collection or you’re a raving homosexual with a penchant for German Hi-NRG music and Amyl Nitrates. If however you like your Hiphop dusty and sample-filled with constant shout outs to Brooklyn and the Bronx, I can inform you that this will give you nothing but a painful migraine. Take two copies of “Midnight Maurauders” and go lie down in a darkened room until someone invents a machine to kick you back to 1993.