I started listening to G-Side back in 2007 or so when I first began seeing their songs posted on various hip-hop forums. Consisting of emcee's ST 2 Lettaz and Yung Clova, the group brought gritty, street smart rhymes coupled with banging cinematic beats, mostly provided by the Block Beattaz. Five really great albums later, the group broke up with ST and Clova going their own separate ways. "The G... Growth and Development" is the first solo album from ST 2 Lettaz and was released on March 5th, 2013. Click to read the full review.
1) World Blow II - The album starts off with a BANGING beat that contains a electronic layer running throughout the instrumental that almost sounds like an Autobot transforming or something. I'm not quite sure how else to describe it, but it sounds similar to one in Currency's "The Showroom" once that beat kicks really in. ST goes off on here and just rips it. Great way to start the album.
2) Trillmatic - The was the first single from the album and it's a banger. ST spits fire over a dope East coast boom-bap inspired instrumental, which switches up halfway through to incorporate some Southern elements. This song has gotten a ton of play from me the past month. Very dope.
3) Green Light District - The beat on this track, consisting of booming bass and subdued synths, is really good. This song seems to have a double meaning with the overall message of "I ain't never stopping" coupled with all of the weed references. Not my favorite song on here so far, but its still bumping.
4) Ocean Gmix - The instrumental on "Ocean Gmix" comes from the track "Ocean" by the group "Saturday, Monday", but with a Block Beattaz twist. Once again ST completely bodies the beat. Keeping with the title of the song, the lyrics contain many references to the ocean and water, similar to "Cast Away" and "Stay-Cation" off of G-Sides most recent album, "iSLAND." This is extremely dope.
5) Ridin Slo - The beat on here got my head nodding like crazy. ST raps about his current situation (with a mention of G-Side breaking up) and how he is trying to make the best of it. The extra layers added to the beat during the chorus help flesh out the instrumental even more. Great song.
6) Get One (featuring Kristmas) - I believe this song uses the same sample as Clams Casino's "I'm God" (or at least a very similar sample), but Block Beattaz makes it their own. This beat is absolute FIRE - trippy, ethereal, atmospheric. Both ST and guest Kristmas sounds great over it. This is one of my favorite tracks on here.
7) Not A Love Song - This song begins with the same drum loop as Mobb Deeps "Temperature's Rising." It has a dope, old school feel to it. Despite the title, this actually is a love song. ST pays homage to a lot of older songs (such as Dogg Pounds "Lets Play House") and artists on here. I'm also loving the scratches on the chorus.
8) Wasted Youth (featuring Grilly and Bentley) - The beat on here contains traces of an unreleased G-Side track, "Impossible", in the background. I always loved the instrumental on "Impossible", so I'm glad it finally got released on a studio album. This song goes hard and all three emcee's bring it. This is another standout track for me.
9) Lighthouse - About a minute and a half of a laid back guitar driven instrumental which kinda blends into the next track. Nice.
10) Flashlight - The beat from the previous track slowly builds up to include some energetic drums and gets your head nodding. ST snaps on this - "I believe in reincarnation and we just livin off the karma of a past life / I pray to God if I live again he let me return as a flashlight / to illuminate somebodies path, be a minute of light inside a dark hour / a beacon for the weak and the looked-past / may the lost use me as a light tower." Very dope.
11) Blinderz - This song has a guitar-based beat that slowly builds up while Geographer (I believe) provides the chorus. Once the beat kicks in, it hits hard and is full of tons of energy. This is dope as hell and ST destroys it.
Overall, this album is straight fire all the way through. I do wish that some of the songs from the "Prelude...To The G" mixtape (which I reviewed a few days back) were on here, but the album is a complete work on its own. I'm going to rate the album a
4 / 5
It will probably jump up a half point or so to 4.5 / 5 once I let the album sink in more. Like I've said before, I have a tough time calling something a classic so early out the gate, but this album has the potential given time. My first impressions of it are great though. The album is a bit on the short side, but as Gza from Wu-Tang Clan said on "As High As Wu-Tang Gets"
"Make it brief son, half short and twice strong."That quote definitely applies to this album. DO NOT SLEEP ON THIS. Pick it up on iTunes or via the Amazon link below.