Join Riverfront Times Press Club. Because No News is Bad News.

Geto Boys 

The Foundation (Rap-A-Lot)

Behind the Geto Boys' corpse-fucking, race-baiting cartoon cannibalism lurk rap's most compelling storytellers. Scarface, a diagnosed manic-depressive with suicidal tendencies, alternates street-life stories with disturbing diary entries. Willie D, a slow-drawling brawler, hides straight-razor social commentary in rotten-apple rhymes. And Bushwick Bill, a dwarf who lost an eye during a suicide attempt, is the genre's truest tragicomic figure, flipping between clever quips ("Lifting weights will make you bigger/Lift me, you'll be a dead-ass nigga") and vivid snapshots of his darkest hours. The Geto Boys make reality records. Even their most outlandish songs resound with emotional authenticity.

On 1996's The Resurrection, the Houston vets cleaned up the stage-blood splatter and targeted Rwanda, black-on-black sniping and Bob Dole with the most aggressive, intelligent rhymes since Public Enemy's prime. The Foundation, the first original-lineup studio release since that flag-burning turning point, turns the group's anger inward. The Boys take turns chanting "I tried to do the best I could/I guess my best ain't good enough" in weary tones. Bushwick unsmilingly addresses his stature for the first time, and though he disdainfully spits, "This ain't no poor-little-me song," his hurt resonates. Beatwise, the tracks generate warmth from sharp soul samples, and Mr. Mixx's sped-up vocals give the brilliant bio cut "Leanin' on You" a killer hook. But these Boys still aren't unfailingly mature men, and all three lyricists save space for brutal threats, most of which are directed at crooked cops, studio gangstas and "dirty bitches." Many MCs can dish out punishment, but only the Geto Boys seem brave enough to welcome friendly fire.

Riverfront Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of St. Louis and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep St. Louis' true free press free.

More by Andrew Miller

Read the Digital Print Issue

May 27, 2020

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In St. Louis

© 2020 Riverfront Times

Website powered by Foundation