Artist: Showbiz & A.G. featuring Big L, Deshawn, and Lord Finesse
Album: Runaway Slave (1992)
I imagine this entry may alarm a few of you two, given the fact that this isn't a CZARFACE write-up (calm down, it's coming, I just have to actually listen to the album first) or because of the artists involved, but don't worry, this doesn't mean that I'm skipping over the Diggin' In The Crates duo Show (as he goes by now) and A.G. in this ongoing silly-ass project I'm in the middle of. It just means that I didn't want to wait any longer to write about "Represent". I'm sure you all will understand, and if you don't, listen to the track above and they get back to me.
Showbiz and A.G. released their first full-length album, Runaway Slave, in 1992, about six months after dropping their debut EP, which made a minor dent in the hip hop landscape at the time, but whose effects are still being felt to this very day. Three tracks off of the EP migrated over to the proper album, but one song that didn't make the cut was the posse cut "Diggin' In The Crates", which not only gave their extended family an official group name, it also showcased the natural chemistry between the various members of the crew, represented on that particular song by producer-slash-rappers Diamond D and Lord Finesse. Show and A.G. recorded a follow-up for Runaway Slave, the aforementioned "Represent", which featured fucking killer verses from A.G. (Showbiz doesn't spit on the song, perhaps foreshadowing his later level of involvement with the duo's catalog), Deshawn (with the only verse he'd ever record under that name: he's also known as Terror Squad member Sunkiss if you care about that kind of shit), Lord Finesse again, and, lo and behold, the late Big L, with what was only his second professionally-recorded verse (he had made his debut on wax earlier that year on a remix of Lord Finesse's "Yes You May", the original version appearing on Finesse's Return Of The Funky Man).
Over a knocking Show beat with ridiculous distorted guitar samples that work and drums that knock into one another militantly, each member of the quartet manages to manhandle the eleventh track on Runaway Slave while still leaving enough music for the next guy to destroy. Which is exactly what they do: this shit is considered a classic by hip hop heads for a valid reason. Accompanied by a vocal sample from "Catchin' Wreck" (which appears on both the EP and the proper album), and after an extended introduction on which each player is introduced, Big Lamont Coleman (R.I.P.) unleashes one hell of a verse, one I would categorize as "Nas on 'Live At The Barbecue'-hot". It also happens to contain the two bars I always think of whenever Big L pops up in my brain: "L is the rebel type, I'm rough as a metal pipe / Fuck a Benz, 'cause I could pull skins on a pedal bike". Sadly, it seems that Big L only gets posthumous love these days from bloggers, critics, and DJ Premier on Twitter whenever he's not promoting, well, everything, and I urge the two of you to reverse that trend. "Represent" is a good place to start. And it's not even my favorite verse on the goddamn song.
Deshawn also is no slouch, but he easily gets lost when standing amongst the D.I.T.C. His verse is interesting, though: it has a "Kid Hood on A Tribe Called Quest's 'Scenario (Remix)', but he didn't get murdered shortly afterward"-quality to it that rap nerds will appreciate. And, skipping ahead to Andre the Giant's long-ass contribution, on which he gets meta about his own catalog and boasts about being "pro-Black" by choosing to marry Oprah Winfrey instead of fucking with the White devil, which is an increasingly-dated attitude to stand behind (the White devil thing, not Oprah), but thankfully, he doesn't spend all that much time on the topic, choosing instead to talk his shit.
Speaking of shit-talking, Lord motherfucking Finesse, the funk soul brother, contributes my favorite verse of the track, chock full of punchlines and swagger that most hip hop heads keep forgetting that he excels at. Lines such as "Talking about fucking n----s up when you can barely beat your dick right" and "Stevie Wonder [would] probably see me before half you rappers can" are just fucking funny, and Finesse delivers the lines effortlessly, as though he spends all of his time coming up with comebacks on the spot, which he probably did back in the early 1990s. Seriously, his verse is the tits. Is it better than Big L's? Come on, you two, you know I don't compare that way. But I do like Finesse's shit better on here. That's not a knock on anyone else present on the track, but it is what it is.
Anyway, Showbiz and A.G. delivered a mixtape-friendly hype beast of a track that boasts chemistry that most rap crews today not named the Wu-Tang Clan would love to show off. If you're unfamiliar with their work, start with "Represent". Just fucking do it already.
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