Whether it's the best of both worlds or the best of both hoods, it seems like every month or so two artists from different parts of the hip-hop world are promising their fans they're going to do a whole collaborative album together. Few of them ever happen.
But neither Ali (the founding member of the St. Lunatics
, the platinum selling group that put St. Louis on the map) or Gipp (who's best known as a founding member of the Dungeon Family
and a member of the much imitated, never duplicated Southern hip-hop group Goodie MOB
) are the type to make false promises. "Gipp and I clicked instantly because we're both leaders of our respective collectives and because neither of us likes to talk too much," says Ali. "So when we say we gonna do a record together, we actually do a record together." The result is Ali & Gipp
's CD Kinfolk
, through multi-platinum superstar rapper Nelly
's record label Derrty ENT., an imprint of Universal Motown Records.
A group born out of such diverging territories may be a surprise to some. One MC has defined the sound of Atlanta and the other helped define the sound of St. Louis - the artists seem to be a natural fit, and the album Kinfolk proves just how good the chemistry is between Ali & Gipp. "We got along from the jump," says Ali. "I went to college in Atlanta, and I'd see the Goodie MOB perform. Years later we'd meet through industry travels. Then in 2003 I was in LA recording the Sweat and Suit album with Nelly, and Gipp was there for some movie business. I called him and said, 'Come holler at us.' We did a song together called "Butterfly Doors" [included on Kinfolk] and we loved it, everybody loved it, so from that point on we were just like, let's do a whole album together."
Kinfolk is the product of that unpredictable, once-in-a-lifetime magic, a complete hip hop tour de force that bangs from start to finish with a sound that's a little bit Atlanta, a little bit St. Louis, but ultimately revolutionary in its entirety. Given their individual reputations and formidable relationships with other artists, Ali & Gipp easily called on some of hip-hop's greatest talent, extending their collaboration to many of the leading stars of the South and Midwest alike. Nelly makes three stunning appearances on the album, Murphy Lee and Derrty ENT. newcomers Chocolate Thai and Avery Storm also lend a hand, with Three 6 Mafia
, David Banner
, Bun B
all making guest appearances, as well as Gipp's old Goodie MOB partner (and Gnarls Barkley
. Ali & Gipp even reached out to Dungeon Family cult favorite Big Rube for one of his signature spoken word introductions. Beats are also provided from some of the most forward-thinking producers in both the Dirty and Derrty camps, including the Trak Starz, Dallas Austin and Jay E.
Before the completion of Kinfolk
, Ali & Gipp joined Nelly and Paul Wall
on the #1 hit single "Grillz." After the success of "Grillz", the duo fired up with "Go Head" for their own debut, featuring Chocolate Thai and produced by Trife - an updated classic club song. The single grabbed the #1 most added spot at the rhythm crossover radio format.
The song "Hood," featuring Houston legend Pimp C and Nelly is a super-engaging, near-menacing track for the Cadillac and Chevy riders, built on a screwed down UGK sample. Gipp's Goodie MOB partner Cee-Lo serves up a hook on "I Told Ya," along with UGK legend Bun B putting down a mind-blowing verse of Texas tough talk.
Super producer and Atlanta native Dallas Austin helmed the song, "No God But You," a moving exploration of the flip side of life in the South and Midwest-- on which Ali and Gipp speak about spirituality, faith, and other trials and tribulations. The remainder of the album flows with spirited club anthems and trademark rider music.
With multiple successful groups and solo albums under their belts (Ali released Heavy Starch
in 2002 and Gipp released Mutant Mindframe
in 2003), the two stars have infused Kinfolk
with a renewed vigor that separates it from many of the same-sounding hip hop fare. "We've always believed hip-hop was an innovative culture," Gipp says. "A culture where, instead of doing what people around you are doing, you take it to another level every time."
Listen to Hard N Da Paint
featuring Nelly: Windows Media
| Real Audio
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