February 12, 2018

J-Zone and Celph Titled are... The Bo$$ Hog Barbarian$ - Every Hog Has Its Day (March 14, 2006)

Today marks the eleven-year anniversary of the blog. I've missed a couple of these during my lengthy hiatus, so I wanted to make sure I acknowledged it this time around. Okay, that's over with, let's move on.

These days, producer-slash-sometimes rapper J-Zone is best known for successfully reinventing himself within not just our chosen genre, but transcending them, as well, having used his early experiences in the rap game, releasing critically-acclaimed but low-selling independent albums on his own label (Old Maid Entertainment) and touring with them to no avail, as inspiration for his autobiography, Root for the Villain: Rap, Bullshit, and a Celebration of Failure (released in 2011), which generated renewed interest in his music. Since then, he’s released two additional rap albums, but for the most part has moved on to other ventures, teaching himself to play the drums (he performed the drum work live on his last two albums), which has led to his current role as the drummer in his funk duo, The Du-Rites, alongside Pablo Martin of the Tom Tom Club.

Today’s post does not touch on the current J-Zone, however. There are no live drums or reflections on his past, aside from general complaints that his output doesn’t sound like his earlier work, something all rappers have dealt with at some point in their careers. No, the subject of today’s post is an album entitled Every Hog Has Its Day, and it’s a satirical take on the ignorant rap music that Zone and his partner-in-rhyme-for-this-one-project-only, underground stalwart Celph Titled, enjoy unironically.

Every Hog Has Its Day is a celebration of the type of hip hop that would normally get you kicked out of the cypher immediately: bars about pimping, treating women as sperm receptacles, and generally acting like morons abound. But for the most part, every track is performed as a gag, with Zone and Celph seemingly daring one another to see who could be more extreme, so none of the following songs should be taken literally, as they would all be problematic if you think too much about them.

For this project, Zone and Celph opted to try to distance it from the rest of their respective catalogs by forming the duo the Bo$$ Hog Barbarian$, firmly calling themselves out as pigs. Taking it a step further, Zone refers to himself as Kenny Hoggin$ on this album (which is fucking hilarious), while Celph Titled runs with Wade Hogg$ as his pseudonym, but I’m just going to call them J-Zone and Celph Titled throughout this review, if that’s okay with you.

Zone and Celph trade off on production duties, with the ball falling into Zone’s court more often than not, which I believe he prefers anyway. He also defers to his partner when it comes to the bars, which is fine, since Celph is much more bombastic as a rapper, even though I’m a J-Zone fan. They also keep this fun all to themselves with the nonexistent guest list, save for a couple of exceptions you’ll see below that don’t really count anyway.

The Bo$$ Hog Barbarian$ didn’t exist long past the release of Every Hog Has Its Day. I remember ordering this disc off of the now-defunct HipHopSite.com online store and receiving a second disc as an exclusive bonus, The Hogs Sing The Hits: Pig Parodies, which purported to be five tracks of Zone and Celph fucking around in the studio making fun of what was popular on the radio at that time. Weirdly, I’ve never actually listened to that disc, so I have no idea what it sounds like. But shortly afterward, the duo disbanded and went back to their day jobs, although they still apparently hang out, as Celph appeared on Zone’s comeback album, 2013’s Peter Pan Syndrome.

But hey, there’s still this.

During the first minute-plus of this opening track, J-Zone immediately shoots down your self-imposed high expectations by confirming for the audience that Every Hog Has Its Day will in no way be mistaken for Pimps Don't Pay Taxes 2: The Secret of the Ooze. He literally says most of that last sentence. Celph's instrumental cements this idea, as it comes across as much funkier than anything Zone would have produced for himself up to this point. It's actually a pretty good beat, too: not only does Celph sound at home doing the Bartman over it, I would actually want to hear it used by other artists, specifically Tha Dogg Pound, who, had they been invited, might have provided a welcome contrast to the pimping exploits of our disguised hosts. Zone sounds okay on the mic, not entirely comfortable with all of the blatant misogyny (even though this was intended to be all in good fun), but decent regardless, and both funny and informative during the intro, which now foreshadows just how natural a writer the man would later become.

While I could have done without the distorted vocals that give the song its title, everything else on here worked for me. Celph and Zone each claim half of the track, delivering bars chock-full of jokes, threats, and vitamin C over an elastic Zone instrumental that grows on the listener. Celph Titled gets all of the best lines, as he tends to do, and, to his credit, Zone lets him, as he hardly considers himself a formidable rapper anyway, although he does well for himself, what with his taunting of music critics (today we would just call them “trolls”) and his obsession with ridiculous, outdated hip hop dances (specifically the Steve Martin). Fun.

That title doesn't make much sense, as this song is essentially about convincing a woman to cook for you right before you sleep with them, but it features a riff on the theme song from The Jeffersons during the hook alongside some outright silly and juvenile double-entendres that drive the point home with all of the subtlety of a sock willed with quarters. Zone and Celph are clearly enjoying themselves, but their energy doesn't translate as well for the home audience as the goofy singing does, which garners “Bitch, That Ain't Luv!” an instant “skip” in my book. Moving on...

Given that title, it's far too easy to assume that “Cocksucka” is a track dedicated to the ladies (and only ladies, because Zone and Celph are certified straight, as established multiple times throughout the project) who live to serve men whilst on their knees, but it's really just a two-minute venting session, one in which the titular act is only touched upon by J-Zone for a brief moment. Both of our hosts spend the duration of the track dismissing critics while trying to sell the listener on the fact that they truly do not give a fuck what people think about them. If that were true, then why write a song about it? Seriously. It wasn't bad, though, and Zone's beat sounds very much like something he would have rocked over on one of his solo projects, which helps.

Celph Titled's instrumental is pretty catchy, to be fair, but in no way was it mind-blowingly awesome enough to inspire an extended monologue from J-Zone about it toward the end of “You Got Mail”. The rest of the track is typical ignorant pimp shit, even though neither of our hosts ever goes so far over the misogyny line that they lose sight of it entirely: they mainly like to bone, which technically isn't even all that offensive. The hook shoehorns the titular phrase onto the track, even though the song itself has fuck-all to do with the postal service or America Online, which means I'm probably missing something.  Not bad.

Zone and Celph describe the perfect woman to be with a Bo$$ Hogg Barbarian, and although this results on a predictably silly riff on LL Cool J's “Around The Way Girl”, that doesn't make it any less entertaining or engaging. Zone's descriptions, specifically, are goofy as shit, as he describes the type of woman most men would cross the street to avoid: Celph Titled follows a similar blueprint, but doesn't seem to have his tongue as firmly planted into his cheek as his co-host. This is the first song on Every Hog Has Its Day that sounds as though it had been lifted straight from one of J-Zone's earlier projects, which is intended as the highest of compliments.

An uncharacteristically mean-spirited skit performed (mostly) by J-Zone. It wasn't even funny, which is really the kiss of death for a Zone interlude. Since it's just a skit, I was going to recommend you just skip over it anyway, but maybe you should skip this shit with a vengeance or something.

Celph Titled tackles a solo track with enough force to wish that he would release an entire project produced by J-Zone, because even with the silly concept (one which you can probably guess at just by reading the song title), he sounds fucking nice. Zone's beat also knocks, which is always helpful, but the star here is most certainly Celph, whose three verses command your attention, even his finale, on which he adopts a speed-rap flow in response to the fact that, technically, he's a Southern artist because he's from Tampa. Not that you'll give a shit, because you'll be too entertaining to care about a back story.

A commercial break that both pays homage to those old St. Ides commercials where rappers spit their praises about their alcoholic nectar of choice (remember that shit? It was always either St. Ides or Sprite, for some reason) and foreshadows a future J-Zone project (his alter ego Chief Chinchilla's Live @ The Liqua Sto). Zone and Celph pimp their fake malted poison to the masses and are obviously having fun with the silly-as-shit premise, as their actual bars (yes, they do rap on here) are enjoyable as hell. Ultimately a trifle, but a funny one.

If Celph gets a solo song, it's only fair for Zone to get his turn in the spotlight, but unfortunately, “Dog Show Pageant” isn't worthy of the listener's time. The beat, handled by Celph, is okay enough, but Zone revisits themes and topics that he has continuously brought up since the beginning of Every Hog Has Its Day, and at this point his recycling makes it seem like he really doesn't have anything new to say. His boasts and threats are a far cry from the self-deprecating producer-slash-rapper that released A Bottle of Whup Ass. It's cool for an artist to grow, and the rest of his work on Every Hog Has Its Day is stellar, but this song just doesn't do a fucking thing for me. It is what it is.

Each of our hosts provide a single verse chock-full of punchlines and vague threats, but though both sound pretty goddamn good, the reason this track works so fucking well is because of J-Zone's instrumental, which is fairly awesome, walking the fine line between funky and street with the aid of a pimp cane.  The beat is so good that I wish Zone had left it running and invited, at minimum, eight additional guests to chime in to a badass posse cut.  (I'm sure Al-Shid was available, maybe?)  The title is an eye-roller, and the hook isn't all that great (even though Zone praises it at the very end), but this was cool nonetheless.

Given that this song is called “The Weight Debate”, it's obvious that Zone and Celph will be battling over the preferred size of their respective chicks, but what isn't expected is that our hosts are fighting over the same girl: Zone is turned off by his lady love, who has added the pounds over the years, but those very pounds are the reason Celph feels confident enough to tell Zone that he finds her attractive. Every sarcastic remark Zone throws at the audience is countered effectively by Celph's argument, and Celph sounds sincere enough to diffuse what quickly could have become a flat-out mean song. It isn't great, but kudos for trying something slightly different, I guess?

After Zone's hilarious description of his own beat, which I won't spoil here because I actually want you two to listen to this, Celph launches into his second solo effort, a one-verse wonder that dominates the instrumental with his powerful delivery, one that he probably utilizes all the fucking time, even when ordering a sandwich or trading in his DVR box at Comcast. I know I certainly would. Celph Titled demands the audience's attention so effectively that I'm a little shocked that his rap career doesn't already incorporate the occasional mainstream cameo appearance mixed in with the rest of his underground lifestyle. This shit was nice, and that title was so obvious that I can’t believe he’s never used it before.

14.  HELL NO, HO!
Like every artist in any medium ever, J-Zone has to field questions and complaints regarding how and why his later work doesn't resemble his older stuff. He does sound especially bitter regarding the status of his former crew, the Old Maid Billionaires, though. His book, which is fucking great, doesn't really touch on his falling out with Huggy Bear, so I suppose it's a private matter, but I still wonder just what happened, because I enjoyed their work together. Anywho, “Hell No, Ho!”, the only song on Every Hog Has Its Day produced by a third party (Da Beatminerz, of all people!), is a keeper that features a single verse from both Zone and Celph, each man doing their best to deflect bullshit questions while doing what they do best, with Celph taking the trophy, as expected.

J-Zone fills the void of deejay tracks missing from modern-day hip hop albums with a quickie built entirely from scratches and samples. This was essentially an interlude, but you'll probably let it play out in full.

16.  BO$$ HOGGIN'
Vintage Barbarian$, from Zone's dope (and slightly unnerving) instrumental all the way to the verses from both of our hosts. There is no new ground broken here: the shit-talking on this song is interchangeable with ever other track on Every Hog Has Its Day. But when it's performed this well, one tends to not give much of a damn.

An outro, on which our hosts refuse to thank anybody for their assistance, because they created Every Hog Has Its Day all by their goddamned selves. Not an original idea, but given the participants, entirely expected. The Celph Titled beat bangs, though. And with that, here are my final thoughts.

FINAL THOUGHTS: As I mentioned above, don’t come into Every Hog Has Its Day if you’re looking for the newly-reinvigorated J-Zone, the guy who plays his own drums and has mentally evolved past the music industry and sees everything for what it is, choosing to perform only what appeals to him. This collaboration with Celph Titled was probably fun for him to record, but the J-Zone on here is still the same guy from A Job Ain’t Nuthin’ But Work, which is to say, a little uninspired behind the mic. Having Celph in the studio with him helps him focus on the ignorant task at hand, as Celph’s bars are delivered with the cockiness and swagger of ten Celph’s, but this is still more of a Zone album than a Celph project, so your mileage may vary. For the most part, I enjoyed revisiting Every Hog Has Its Day, even if my eyes rolled back into my head due to a lot of the ridiculously, comically misogynistic lyrics on here: it is a little much at times, and there’s no way these guys would ever drop this album in today’s climate, regardless of how much they dig ignorant rap tropes. But for what it is, it’s not bad. If only I could be bothered to listen to that bonus disc, though.

BUY OR BURN? If you’ve enjoyed every other J-Zone project so far, you most likely already have Every Hog Has Its Day in your collection, but if this one somehow slipped past you, pick it up, as you’ll like it, and it’ll sound new to you. As for everyone else, this album isn’t an entryway into the catalogs of either J-Zone or Celph Titled, so maybe give it a stream on Zone’s Bandcamp page and decide whether you want to throw some money at him or not.

BEST TRACKS: “Celph Destruction”; “Givea Hog A Bone”; “Rev. Getright”; “Bo$$ Hoggin’”


Not much in the way of Celph Titled, I’m afraid, but there’s plenty more to read about J-Zone here.


  1. Great review as always, Max! On a unrelated topic, have you heard of The Wascals' album Greatest Hits? That album is bananas and it's a shame that it took thirteen long years for that album to finally be released. The album was supposed to released in 1994, but it got sheleved and wasn't released until 2007. The best part of that album is that the second disc contains all of the instrumentals. Some of my favorite songs include F.U.N., Bootie Rap, Class Clown, and Hard Rhymes.

    1. I've honestly never even heard of this, but now I need to track it down. Thanks for that.

  2. I was introduced to Celph Titled on that Fort Minor mixtape called We Major, which also introduced me to Lupe Fiasco and Ghostface Killah’s rhymes. Because, you see, my first exposure to GFK was the first two Def Jam wrestling games.

    1. Unpopular opinion time: Fort Minor wasn't bad. Once they scored that radio hit with the artist currently known as Skylar Grey, though, I think most heads wrote Mike Shinoda off as pop music at best, and as a cultural appropriator at worst. Maybe I'll get around to talking about Fort Minor someday.

    2. Mike is a talented producer and a surprisingly tight rapper. His subject matter is pretty hit and miss though. I LOVE when it hits though. Too bad that lyrical side of him has pretty much sailed.

  3. the buckwild and celph collab is also pretty damn good by the way i just wish zone was more willing to produce for other artists these days

    1. yeah ninety ninety now is dope

    2. My favorite project from BOTH Celph Titled & Buckwild. So many things went right with that particular album.

    3. I still bump the demigodz cut 'swashbuckling' quite often today