This vs. That? O.G.C. vs. OG Maco
What does it mean to be an O.G.? Seems like that word gets thrown around just like "classic" these days -- way too much. Usually, Original Gangsters are old heads with quiet wisdom to pass down. They've seen a lot in their lifetimes, and their experiences have left them more knowledgeable, if not scarred, and their stories serve to guide so many young men and women in their lives. The old mellow with age, and with a much more detached sense of responsibility to their grandchildren than parents have, grandparents can teach without lecturing. Old people have large stocks of wisdom and few people who want to listen, when really, O.G.s are some of the most valuable and effective teachers on the planet.
Original Gun Clappaz (O.G.C.) had little to teach on their debut album, though. Da Storm had a two-prong agenda, it seems: expose the rhyming wizard that was Starang Wonder to the world, and highlight a slightly softer, but still gully production style from members of the Beatminerz collective -- Baby Paul, E-Swift, Lord Jamar, and DJ Ogee, to name a few.
Starang, Louisville Sluggah, and Top Dog made their debut in 1995 on fellow Duck Down artist Smif-N-Wessun's 'Dah Shinin' LP. They were featured on 'Sound Bwoy Bureill' and 'Cession At Da Doghillee' before teaming up with Heltah Skeltah to form Fab 5 and release the timeless single, 'Leflaur Leflah Eshkoshka.' The following year, O.G.C. added a fourth element to the holy triumvirate of 'Dah Shinin,' 'Nocturnal,' and 'Enta Da Stage' with their own classic album, 'Da Storm.'
There isn't much to say about the album that hasn't been said, frankly. The production is subdued, not as punchy or pounding as 'Dah Shinin,' and it demonstrates how quirky every Boot Camp Clik member was, regardless of how big or small their profile was. The album is clearly meant for rainy days and the sound is fittingly monochromatic, a smoky gray stretched out like the cloud that ponders the cliff on the album cover. Starang Wonder is also clearly the best MC of the bunch, and 'Da Storm' makes a strong argument for Starang's spot as the nicest rapper in the entire BCC collective -- Buckshot, Ruck, and everyone else included.
Here are some things you might not know about Da Storm: On the title track, Top Dog begins his verse with, "I can be as good as da best the rest, and be as bad as the worst / So don't test we, D.O. has had it up to here," an interpolation of lyrics from a Shabba Ranks song called 'Don't Test Me.' You'll recall Notorious B.I.G. saying something very similar on Junior Mafia's 'Get Money (Remix).' According to General Steele of Smif-N-Wessun, the crew went to the Palladium after doing 'Da Storm' and heard Biggie dropping those rhymes at the venue. They must have taken offense, because if you watch the 'No Fear' video above closely, you'll spot a Biggie look-a-like at 1:13, just as Starang spits, "I scare, petty MCs who claim they got gats / frontin' wit hoes in videos with pimp hats / but the fact, still remains that you're just a stain on the bottom of my boots while I'm still Starang." It wasn't a coincidence, and Big didn't take it lightly; shortly after, hands were put on Starang at the storied D&D Studios. Hence, Starang's lyrics on Heltah Skeltah's 1998 song 'I Ain't Havin' That': "(While y'all was up in D&D) I caught two or three stitches / I was still gettin' bitches in the Tunnel takin' pictures." Thus, Starang set the beef off and then received it's final blow.
Another quick gem about 'Da Storm': many versions of the CD included a song called 'Likkle Youth Man Dem' that didn't actually appear on the album. The song wound up as a bonus track on the first Boot Camp Clik album, 'For The People,' in 1997, but that version was produced by Buckshot and Boogie Brown. The original, produced by Baby Paul and featuring a replayed sample of Barry White's 'Never Gonna Give You Up,' was better.
Atlanta rapper OG Maco is way less traditional. If O.G.C. is quintessential boom bap, OG Maco is quintessential "f--k all that." His brand new seven-song mixtape 'Live Life 2,' produced entirely by Cardo, has moments best described simply as punk rap -- his screams are throatier than Kanye's, his rage more guttural than Ye's high-fashion screeches on 'Yeezus.' 'Unleash The Kraken' is the best example of this. Take Eminem's screaming on 'Kim,' yank it out of a narrative context, and you've got a song whose energy builds, peaks, and crashes, elegantly.
Maco's breakout hit, 'U Guessed It,' follows in the shadow of Bobby Shmurda's 'Hot N--ga,' not for a dance but for it's equally Vine-able, utterly hilarious chorus. That single is an excellent embodiment of Maco's style -- unorthodox, vigorous, almost confrontational. He wasn't always this way -- his previous mixtape 'Live Life' contained too many Future impersonations, and his identity wasn't as concentrated on a mixtape that was twice as long as it's sequel. 'U Guessed It' is invigorating, shocking, almost like slapstick rap done right. It breaks the mold of what we can expect from rap music. That's why it's getting so much traction amongst the public. Even Nas f--ks with it.
You can't give advice to a guy like Maco, and he shouldn't take any. He's been grinding on his own for awhile, and that process of refinement is what's lead to his current ascent. You can't tell him anything about what or what not to do. The second he stops being original is the second he stops being relevant. We want to see him try everything he's brave enough to experiment with.
The O.G.C. guys are all but out of commission now. Their second album from 1999, 'The M-Pire Shrikez Back,' didn't reach the heights of the original but also didn't totally suck, a crowning achievement for a rap album in 1999. Their album is probably the least-celebrated of the four initial Boot Camp Clik classics and perhaps the most cohesive. On a dark day, it plays front to back seamlessly, despite songs like 'Gunn Clapp' and Hurricane Starang' clearly standing out from the pack.
So don't be a herb -- listen to both O.G.C. and OG Maco. 1996 and 2014 have equally fascinating tidbits of rap to listen to. It's up to you to find them.