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The Foundation

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Album Review

The Foundation, or the re-resurrection, is the first time Scarface, Bushwick Bill, and Willie D — along with group founder, Rap-A-Lot head, and producer Lil' J/J Prince — have recorded as the Geto Boys since 1996's Resurrection. It was originally supposed to be titled War and Peace, like the Ice Cube album, but the group opted to go with The Foundation, much like the Brand Nubian album (itself a reunion affair). For three MCs well past their prime — Scarface has been busy with Def Jam South, while Bushwick and Willie D have released some poor solo material — The Foundation is better than expected, even if it shows all the signs of being wrapped up in a couple weeks. Pre-album single "Yes, Yes, Y'all" thankfully provided little in the way of an adequate preview; a stumbling club banger, nearly every aspect of the track is out of character for the group. However, there are several moments where the MCs show flashes of their former fiery selves. Bushwick in particular can still be one of the most insightful, thought-provoking, rib-tickling lyricists around, regardless of genre. While the album is packed with all the grim violence, unapologetic misogyny, and wild boasts you can imagine, "I Tried" is one of the most poignant tracks the group has recorded, just as emotionally open as "Mind Playing Tricks on Me" and "Six Feet Deep." Veterans Mike Dean and Mr. Mixx take on much of the production work, with Scarface and Tone Capone handling the remainder; in most cases, the beats stay true to the Geto Boys' past and sound fresh without sad attempts at hanging with the new school. You can't say it's as if the Geto Boys never went away, because their absence has been too noticeable, and their influence continues to spread across the South, hip-hop's dominating region. Even if it's temporary, their visibility is a good thing for hip-hop.


Formed: 1986 in Houston, TX

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Though the controversial subject matter of gangsta rap wasn't much of a barrier to popular success during the '90s, the Geto Boys' recordings proved almost too extreme for widespread exposure. Blocked from distributing their 1990 major-label debut by Geffen -- who insisted that a track dealing with necrophilia as well as murder was a step too far -- the group was saved by producer Rick Rubin, who arranged another distributor for the album, released on his own Def American label. The controversy,...
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