West Coast Bad Boyz: High Fo XMas

West Coast Bad Boyz: High Fo XMas

No Limit Records, 1994

Founded in 1990 by Master P, No Limit Records has made a name for itself in the rap game with a very distinctive style of Southern rap that is very typical of New Orleans with occasional West Coast G-Funk influences. In the early 90’s, No Limit was a small independent label based in the San Francisco Bay Area in Richmond before moving to New Orleans in 1995, where its founder Master P was born. When the label moved to New Orleans, success appeared, especially thanks to the distribution partnership signed with Priority Records, it became a subsidiary of the latter, even if Master P remained the owner of the No Limit masters with his freedom in the artistic direction.

No Limit Records was able to create its own universe, it’s not Atlanta rap, it’s not Bay Area rap, it’s not Houston rap, it’s New Orleans rap, typical of this city with its own sounds. Even if the critics could be a little tough with the releases of the label, the success is growing with albums that will sell millions of copies for some. The label would become a monument to Southern rap.

The roster included both native Louisiana artists like Master P himself, Mia X, Silkk The Shocker, C-Murder or Mystical and artists from the Bay Area who followed him when he relocated, like Big Ed. In 1997, Master P signed Snoop Dogg following his departure from Death Row, a move that was highly criticized but that will be beneficial for the label with multi-platinum albums. Even if Snoop Dogg is not the only artist of the house to release multi-platinum albums, Master P or Mystical also had successful achievements, the signing of Snoop will manage to give a much wider visibility to the label.

The presentations are done. Now, let’s go back in time a bit. 1994, before the relocation of the label, No Limit released a “Christmas” compilation, West Coast Bad Boyz: High fo Xmas. To tell the truth, you don’t really expect this kind of achievement from this label, but in reality they are a small family and so a Christmas album can make sense, a special Christmas though. At the time the label is still based in the Bay Area, and this compilation will actually be very G-Funk.

Produced mostly by E-A-Ski, the compilation is a little condensed of G-Funk halfway between the Bay Area and Los Angeles G-Funk. To tell the truth, I do not know exactly who composes the West Coast Bad Boyz, it is probably the members of No Limit. The productions are sunny with little Christmas tunes incorporated at times like the chorus of Christmas in Da Ghetto performed by Master P and C-Murder with very wild lyrics. Christmas in the ghetto doesn’t seem to be the same as in other families, which finally makes it a holiday that is not as welcome as elsewhere.

Christmas in the ghetto just ain’t worth shit
Tell Santa Claus he can suck my dick
I guess I get the same fuckin’ thing I got last year
Sittin’ in a bird dog drinkin beer

We’re in a gangsta’s house in the middle of the Ghetto at night. You can’t expect Christmas songs for children with all the magic that we usually get for this holiday. Here, it’s more like an unusual Christmas with a falsely warm atmosphere. I don’t know who could really listen to this compilation for Christmas Eve with the kids waiting for Santa Claus to come. On the face of it, the lyrics would probably scare Santa himself.

The album introduces with the eponymous track, which puts directly in the mood of a smoky Christmas with Silkk The Shocker, San Quinn, GLP and Master P. A very effective little G-Funk, well smoked on a smoking ego-trip for Christmas. Jackin Fo Da Holidays features productions of several West Coast rap classics such as Warren G’s Regulate, Snoop Dogg’s Gz & Hustlerz, Ice Cube’s It Was a Good Day and others that follow in a row. Master P and his mates have fun with sexually suggested ego-trips and hustlers stories.

With 11 tracks, including 4 interludes, the compilation is short but finally terribly effective with very good quality productions and interpretations that generally hold the road. To be honest, I didn’t expect much when I listened to this compilation, maybe something fun at best. But in reality, it’s a very good G-Funk compilation that parodies Christmas and turns it into a nightmarish holiday. They don’t seem to really like Christmas, maybe rightly so in their situation. And they’re going to have a Christmas of their own. On the final track, No Limit Party, there seems to be more guns and alcohol than presents at their party.

Christmas songs? In a way we can answer yes, they are talking about the Christmas but in their own way, if you want to get completely high for this party, just listen to High Fo XMas and it will be fine. Personally, I won’t play this album during Christmas, but it’s a very good G-Funk album, just a bit too violent for a traditional Christmas.

By Grégoire Zasa

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