July 26, 2007

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Big Shug, Street Champ
Babygrande Records, 2007

You’ll know Gang Starr DJ Premier from his work on every hip-hop record produced this century, thus it’s sort of warm-and-fuzzies-worthy that he was able to put aside his dreams of doing nothing but Christina Aguilera tracks and get all hood for a spell with Mattapan native and former Walpole inmate Big Shug. The flowchart outlining the beefs all the rappers (KRS-One, Jay-Z, everyone but Vince McMahon) may or may not have with Premier has grown more complex than the blueprints for the Space Shuttle, and no one remembers why they’re angry anymore, thus we can actually do a quick drive-by on what this underground joint from Shug sounds like: take one part sluggish MF Doom rhythm-lessness (as in for real, as in he loses the beat completely during one song, possibly expecting it to be fixed by the engineer), add some Barry White (Shug’s smoky baritone would work at weddings, honest) and throw a bag of Doritos at it to quell its bottomless case of the munchies. Hear all about Mattapan’s quaint tourist attractions (toothless gimps, fly bisexual chicks, legislation by hollow-point) rhymed to the sounds of stomp-down Melvins guitars and ballroom hip-hop twinkle when Shug hits the Ioka Theater in Exeter, N.H., on July 27. B-Eric W. Saeger