Gang Rags

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Gang Rags
GangRags.jpg
Studio album by Blaze Ya Dead Homie
Released June 22, 2010
Recorded Funhouse Studio[1]
Genre Gangsta rap, horrorcore
Length 51:04
Label Psychopathic Records
Producer Mike E. Clark, Violent J
Blaze Ya Dead Homie chronology
Clockwork Gray
(2007)
Gang Rags
(2010)
Gang Rags: Reborn
(2014)
Gang Rags
Outer cardboard box cover
Outer cardboard box cover

Gang Rags is the fourth studio album by American rapper Blaze Ya Dead Homie. Released on June 22, 2010, Gang Rags was produced by Mike E. Clark, and features appearances by guests Kottonmouth Kings, The Dayton Family, Anybody Killa and Insane Clown Posse. One of five different colored bandanas was included in the packaging of each album. Gang Rags debuted number 52 on the Billboard 200.

Concept[edit]

Blaze had been interested in the concept of bringing back the style of the late '80s to mid 90's for several years prior to the recording of Gang Rags.[2] He thought that the best way to bring back "the old school [was] in the form of clothing. Gang rags [were] what it was all about back then."[2] Blaze noted that "I may never be a designer or some shit, but I do know my music," so he decided to use the name "Gang Rags" for his next album.[2]

Production[edit]

On December 24, 2009, Joseph Bruce revealed through his Twitter account that Gang Rags would be produced by Mike E. Clark.[3] In April, Bruce announced that he would join Clark in producing the album, marking the first time that the two would collaborate on an album by Blaze.[4][5] Gang Rags also marked the first time that the members of hip hop group Twiztid, Jamie Spaniolo and Paul Methric, did not provide any production on a Blaze album.[2] Bruce and Clark helped Blaze develop new vocal styles, utilizing different voices and rhyme styles.[2] Clark notes that they "tried to do a lot of different stuff on this record."[2] Bruce adds that the album is "still very much Blaze, but ... the sounds and concepts around him have changed."[2]

Bruce praised Clark's production on the album, saying that Clark "makes Blaze sound louder and stronger than he ever has," while Blaze added that Clark "is a genius at his craft. His ear is like no other."[2] Clark attributed the success of the album to the group's ability to work well together.[2] He described Gang Rags as "bangin’, bumpin’, crushin’ & ruthless!," while Blaze said that the album is "some straight dope Juggalo music."[2]

Music and lyrics[edit]

Gang Rags fuses late '80s to early 90's West Coast-based gangsta rap with darker lyrical content based in the horrorcore style.

  • The song "Swine Flu" discusses crooked police officers
  • "Dub Sack" follows a drug dealer as he sells baggies of marijuana for 20 dollars a piece, known as dub sacks
  • "Damn Bitch," Blaze and guests The Dayton Family praise the beauty and physical features of their female Juggalette fanbase
  • "Monster Inside" reveals the inner turmoil of a man while his sinister inner beast awaits to break free of its mortal shell. The song incorporates guitars in a way that Kik Axe Music reviewer James Zahn says "recalls early Cypress Hill"
  • In "Party," Blaze and guest Anybody Killa speak about drinking, smoking, and constant partying without any worry of the consequences
  • The song "Lights Out" follows through what life would be like if the sun never rose.[2] Surrounded by total darkness, panic would arise, people would grow pale and cold, and "the moon would be the new sun."[6]

Release and promotion[edit]

The album's title was revealed by Psychopathic Records in December 2009.[7] In promotion of the album, Bruce claimed that Gang Rags "will make a milestone in the career of the Dead Man, no doubt. This is the one. This is the album."[2] The album's release was preceded with a nationwide in-store tour beginning in June, and followed by a 10-day tour.[8] Gang Rags was released in five variant editions, each with its own colored bandana.[8] Each colored bandana represented a fictional gang referenced in the album's lyrics: Red Rage (red), Redemption Ride (white), Zombie King (black), Dollar Domination (green) and Ice Cold Killers (blue).[9]

The first music video from the album, "Dead Man Walking", was released on January 7, 2011.[10][11] The second music video from the album, "Dub Sack", was released on December 7, 2012.[12]

While on the 2011 Drive-By Tour, Blaze released Gang Rags Extended Version (Uncut + Uncensored), an alternate album recorded during the Gang Rag sessions.[13] The tour-exclusive album features twelve songs originally recorded for Gang Rags.[13] Gang Rags: Reborn, released October 21, 2014 on Majik Ninja Entertainment, derives from much of the same vocal sessions, but contains newly recorded, different music.

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allrovi 3.5/5 stars[14]
Kik Axe Music 4.5/5 stars[9]

Gang Rags debuted at number 5 on the Billboard Top Independent Albums chart and number 52 on the Billboard 200.[15] Allrovi reviewer David Jeffries gave the album 3.5 out of 5 and praised its production and various mustical styles. Jeffries wrote that "Blaze’s gruff delivery bounces off thumping basslines and speaker-ripping electro throughout the album," and that the "Parliament/Funkadelic-styled choruses ... [are] a welcome influence from the rapper and producer’s hometown of Detroit."[14] The album was also favorably received by Kik Axe Music reviewer James Zahn, who called it "one of the best releases from Psychopathic in recent memory".[9] Zahn praised the production of Mike E. Clark and Violent J, and said that the album "could easily break from the underground to attract outside attention."[9]

Track listing[edit]

All music composed by Mike E. Clark.

No. Title Lyrics Additional Information Length
1. "Suspect Loitering"   Additional vocals by Mike E. Clark 0:37
2. "I'm Back" Blaze Ya Dead Homie Additional vocals by Mike E. Clark, Sugar Slam and Violent J 3:11
3. "Swine Flu" Violent J   2:51
4. "Deadman Walking" Violent J Additional vocals by Mike E. Clark and Violent J 3:26
5. "Ridin' the Whip" (featuring Kottonmouth Kings) Blaze Ya Dead Homie
Kottonmouth Kings
  3:34
6. "Dub Sack" Blaze Ya Dead Homie Additional vocals by Axe Murder Boyz 3:41
7. "B & E" Blaze Ya Dead Homie Additional vocals by Mike E. Clark and Violent J 4:11
8. "Damn Bitch" (featuring The Dayton Family) Blaze Ya Dead Homie
The Dayton Family
  3:22
9. "Monster Inside" Blaze Ya Dead Homie Additional vocals by Mike E. Clark and Violent J 3:28
10. "Party" (performed by Drive-By) Blaze Ya Dead Homie
Anybody Killa
Additional vocals by Mike E. Clark 3:39
11. "Birthday" (featuring Insane Clown Posse) Blaze Ya Dead Homie
Insane Clown Posse
  4:01
12. "Holy Shit" Blaze Ya Dead Homie Additional vocals by Violent J 3:35
13. "Lights Out" Violent J   3:38
14. "3 Evil Wizards" (performed by Drive-By featuring Violent J) Blaze Ya Dead Homie
Violent J
Anybody Killa
  4:15
15. "Tokyo Spa" Violent J Additional vocals by Insane Clown Posse and Sugar Slam 3:41
Total length: 51:04

Personnel[edit]

Musicians[edit]

Additional personnel[edit]

  • E-Wolf - photography
  • Jim Kissling - mastering
  • Jim Neve - bandana design, cover design, layout

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (2010) Peak Position
Billboard 200 52[15]
Top Independent Albums 5[15]
Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums 13[15]
Top Rap Albums 9[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Blaze Ya Dead Homie (2010). Gang Rags. Liner notes. Psychopathic Records.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "The Down & Dirty of Gang Rags". Hatchet Herald. Psychopathic Records. 13 (2). March 12, 2010. Archived from the original on April 7, 2010. Retrieved June 29, 2010. 
  3. ^ Joseph Bruce (December 24, 2009). "Violent J Twitter". Twitter. Archived from the original on February 17, 2014. Retrieved June 28, 2010. 
  4. ^ Joseph Bruce (April 2, 2010). "Violent J Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved June 29, 2010. [permanent dead link]
  5. ^ "Blaze is Keepin' Busy". Hatchet Herald. Psychopathic Records. 13 (8). June 4, 2010. Archived from the original on June 8, 2010. Retrieved June 29, 2010. 
  6. ^ Joseph Bruce (January 28, 2010). "Violent J Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved June 28, 2010. [permanent dead link]
  7. ^ "Name Droppin". Psychopathic Records. December 1, 2009. Archived from the original on 2011-07-15. Retrieved 2009-12-01. 
  8. ^ a b "Gang Rags Gettin' Repped in Your Town". Hatchet Herald. Psychopathic Records. 13 (7). May 21, 2010. Archived from the original on July 27, 2011. Retrieved June 29, 2010. 
  9. ^ a b c d James Zahn (June 24, 2010). "Blaze - Gang Rags (review)". Reviews. Kik Axe Music. Archived from the original on July 3, 2010. Retrieved June 28, 2010. 
  10. ^ "Random Notes". Hatchet Herald. Psychopathic Records. 13 (13). October 9, 2010. Retrieved October 8, 2010. 
  11. ^ Video on YouTube
  12. ^ Video on YouTube
  13. ^ a b "Exclusive Blaze Tour CD!". blaze.psychopathicrecords.com. Archived from the original on July 15, 2011. Retrieved January 25, 2011. 
  14. ^ a b Jeffries, David. "Review of Gang Rags". Allrovi. Retrieved January 12, 2011. [permanent dead link]
  15. ^ a b c d e "Week of July 10, 2010". Billboard 200. Billboard. July 3, 2010. Retrieved July 3, 2010.