May 18, 2009

Twinz - Conversation (August 22, 1995)


August 22, 1995 was an interesting day for Warren G.'s fans. It was on that date that Def Jam Records simultaneously released the debut albums from two groups that made their rap debuts on Warren's first album, Regulate...G Funk Era: The Dove Shack and the Twinz. Since Warren's album was a hit, interest in both of their respective projects (This Is The Shack and Conversation, respectively) had been growing, and since my collector's gene knows no bounds, I bought both of them the same day. (I miss having disposable income.) I'll get to the Dove Shack disc another time, but for now, let's place our focus on the Twinz.

Like their friend and mentor, the Twinz duo (made up of actual twins Deon "Trip Locc" Williams and DeWayne "Wayniac" Williams) also hailed from Long Beach, California. Their debut, Conversation, expanded upon the G-Funk sound that Warren G experimented with on his own album, providing the perfect forum for Trip Locc and Wayniac to discuss the merits of partying, drinking, smoking, talking to the opposite sex, politics, paranoia, hanging out with Warren G., and more partying, with the occasional burst of violence that is mandatory on a West Coast hip hop album.

Conversation didn't move many units (even though it spawned four singles, and the Twinz appeared alongside Warren G. on his "Still Can't Fade It", from the soundtrack to hip hop documentary The Show, they still didn't get much airplay on MTV, which mattered a lot back then), and although the duo continue to create music today, their work has become increasingly harder to come by. I suppose the fact that they changed their name to Tha Loccs isn't really helpful. But Conversation is a snapshot of what West Coast rap used to sound like, even for a short period of time.

I remember reading about this disc in The Source upon its release. I remember this because I was excited by the production credits listed in the review: Warren's half-brother, Dr. Dre, was said to have had a hand behind the boards. (Maybe Vincent over at THIMK can help determine if I'm recalling this properly, as I don't have that issue anymore.) This rumor was proved false when I picked the disc up (I'm still not sure where The Source got their information from: maybe there was a track provided by Dre, and he pulled it from the final pressing in his usual perfectionist way?), but aside from one track, Warren G. produced the entire album (and apparently directed all of his attention towards the Williams boys, as The Dove Shack's lone Warren-blessed song is "This Is The Shack", which was lifted directly from Regulate...G Funk Era), so at least it doesn't sound completely scattershot, as most rap discs do these days.

1. CONVERSATION #1
I appreciate how they tried to make it sound like “Oh, I just finished recording the last vocal for Conversation, so let's see how the final product sounds”, although if you've never even heard of this album before today, I just gave away the ending, so whoops! Anyway, regardless of that theme, this is still a rap album intro, and everyone at this point knows how Max feels about them.

2. ROUND & ROUND
I didn't care for this song when it was released as the first single from Conversation, but hearing it today, it's pleasant as hell. The two rappers are in no way ever going to be considered as twin Rakims or anything, but they are both better rappers than producer Warren G. So of course it makes sense that Warren is the only one of the three that still has what can be considered a rap career.

3. GOOD TIMES
Shit, this sounds so good that I'm going to go hit up a barbecue right fucking now. I'll be back in a few hours or days, give or take.

4. 4 EYES 2 HEADS (FEAT GORGEOUS JUDAH RANKS)
The vocals at the very beginning are unnerving, and the hook is just weird, but looking past that, this song is really good. I believe this was also a single at some point: I recall a video being shot, even though I don't remember ever actually watching it.

5. JUMP TA THIS
Well, they can't all be winners.

6. EASTSIDE LB (FEAT WARREN G.)
The hook is a little corny, but otherwise, this song will bring your soul to a level of inner peace that isn't possible when listening to, say, Lil' Wayne. This may have been a single, too: Conversation was released back in a time when Def Jam really tried to sell the shit out of their albums prior to giving up, unlike today, when they drop their promotion after an album fails to move more than one million units in its opening week. (A somewhat related side note: is anybody else worried about how the label will treat Method Man and Redman's Blackout 2 when it's released tomorrow?)

7. SORRY I KEPT YOU (FEAT WARREN G.)
This was my favorite song on Conversation back when I first bought it. The Rakim vocal sample is a nice bonus, but the real draw here is Warren G's production work. The track still sounds just as good as I remember, by the way.

8. CONVERSATION #2
Skit...

9. JOURNEY WITH ME
Actually sounds a bit too much like “Good Times” for my liking. Because they already made that song, you see.

10. HOLLYWOOD (FEAT JAH SKILLZ & NEB LOVE)
I would have appreciated some more hardcore tracks on Conversation, it's okay, since ultraviolence isn't in the nature of theTwinz. At the time I picked this up, I was a West Coast freak and was more familiar with the laid-back Cali sound: the only East Coast act I followed religiously in 1995 was the Wu-Tang Clan, and I picked up everybody else's albums whenever I got around to them. (Oh, how the tides have turned, huh?) Anyway, this posse cut is pretty bland.

11. 1st ROUND DRAFT PICK (FEAT WARREN G.)
Sounds like an outtake from Regulate...G Funk Era, which it might actually be, since this is the most violent track on here, and that still isn't saying much. This is too melodic to ever be confused with “actual” gangsta rap, but it still sounds alright.

12. CONVERSATION #3
Skit...

13. DON'T GET IT TWISTED (FEAT NEW BIRTH)
I always skipped this song when I was younger, and today I find it to be okay, but nothing to write home about. You may want to call home, though, because your parents have missed you, and want to make sure you're doing okay, and besides, I'm pretty sure they could give a fuck if you liked “Don't Get It Twisted” or not.

14. PASS IT ON (FEAT FOESUM & WARREN G.)
I've heard more engaging weed songs in my lifetime. Which is weird to say, since weed is supposed to relax you, not make you more energetic and amped. Oh, well.

FINAL THOUGHTS: While not perfect, Conversation ultimately represents laid-back G-Funk at its best. It's entertaining as hell to listen to, and aside from a few guests, the Twinz manage to carry the fucker all by themselves. Wayniac and Trip Locc are pretty decent rappers, and they work off of each other fantastically. However, Conversation will go down in history as Warren G's best production effort ever. (Yeah, I said it.) Well deserving of a wider audience.

BUY OR BURN? If you come across a copy, pick it up, pick it up. It's really good. Seriously. I'm not fucking around. The second half has some problems, but as a total package, it's worth the effort. As it is out of print currently, though, you'd be forgiven if you simply downloaded it. As long as you listen to it somehow.

BEST TRACKS: “Sorry I Kept You”; “4 Eyes 2 Heads”; “Round & Round”; “Eastside LB”; “Good Times”

-Max

6 comments:

  1. great job man wudnt have ever come across the unknown albums had you not reviewed them! its the good shit!

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  2. AnonymousMay 20, 2009

    Wow... Wasn't expecting a review of this especially ending in a recommendation but Im glad because this albums tha shit and alot better than the more well known LBC albums. imo

    Also if you liked this then I would definately recommend Foesum - Perfection which is sort of the same but better.

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  3. great post i love this album. Ive always been drawn to the westcoast for some reason, maybe its the low synths and the classic g-funk vibe and this album delivers it all. its also probably one of the best smoking albums.

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  4. good review. 100% agree about its being Warren G's best production effort and about the second half not being as good as the first. Sorry I Kept Ya is also my favorite song, with 1st Round Draft Pick.

    by the way, Warren G produced the entire album EXCEPT 4 Eyes 2 Heads which was produced by Priest Brooks aka SOOPAFLY, a Dogg Pound affiliate.

    I think the album had like 4 singles : Eastside LB, Round N Round, Jump Ta This, 4 Eyes 2 Heads, all of these videos are on youtube.

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  5. great review. I remember anticipating the hell out of this album the entire summer, calling up the local Sam Goody one too many times trying to get release date info. I always lamented that an album that was this good could have gotten slept on like it did, though.

    btw, i believe 4 eyes 2 heads was released as a single in 94 with a video; it was featured on the Jason's Lyric soundtrack.

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  6. You got me into this album Max so I just wanted to say thanks for that. I am left hoping that there is a long-lost Twinz album in the Temple of Doom or something.

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