Throwback Thursdays Vol 35

Nas, AZ, Nature, Foxy Brown and Dr. Dre. Pretty dope supergroup right? Wrong. Well, wrong in some ways.

The Firm was born after Nas (following the late great Notorious BIG) decided to take a mainstream direction and Dre began to diversify his empire. AZ, Nature and Foxy were, although all Nas’ comrades, primarily along for the ride.

I say wrong because their first and only self-titled album was considered a failure. Dre fans will remember the Forgot About Dre line: “All you niggas that said that I turned pop / Or the Firm flopped / ya’ll are the reason Dre ain’t been getting no sleep!”

But it wasn’t all bad for the formidable MC/production group as I will show with this week’s gritty throwback which is essentially a Nas, AZ, Dre collaboration.

I had Phone Tap actually a long time before I thought it best to get hold of the album. I watched the video only minutes before writing this. Although the video adds value to the track, Nas and AZ’s textbook vivid imagery creates substitute visuals which are enough to rival anything they could have put out on screen. The most noticeable feature perhaps of Phone Tap is that Dre has put Nas and AZ going back and forth over, well, a crackly phone-line. This creates tremendous authenticity to the track and makes it all that more believable when Dre’s chorus kicks in: “We got your phone tapped / What you gon’ do / Cause sooner or later we’ll have your whole crew / All we need now is the right word or two to make all it stick like glue / Then you through.”

Dre does a terrific, almost uncharacteristic job on the boards showcasing his production credentials are not only from a West Coast G-Funk perspective. Here he delivers us a creepy, gutter-drenched effort which could have been lifted straight from Havoc or Large Professor’s basement yet given a classy Dre twist to finish things off. This shit really works here.

The video, like I said, isn’t 100% necessary to enjoy Phone Tap but to me screams of similarities to Pitt/Freeman’s 1995 film; Se7en.

So Dr. Dre, The Firm wasn’t a total flop. Yeah OK, the album sucked a bit, but at least you did a better job with them than Group Therapy…

The Firm – Phone Tap

Murray’s BDK Rating:ger

Up Next Week…

Often misconstrued as a Tupac diss, an all-star East Coast lineup of one-time heavy-hitters.

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