Wednesday, 26 February 2020

Full Blooded & HOUND Faculty - Untamed (2001)

Thank God for the internet, otherwise I probably wouldn't have discovered this one ever having existed. Full Blooded's Memorial Day of 1998 made a big impression on me. It didn't quite sound like any other album released by No Limit, or even any other rap album for that matter - not trying to suggest Full Blooded was ever the rap equivalent of Farmer's Manual or whoever, but it very much had its own sound and its own mood. Unfortunately, Memorial Day doesn't seem particularly well remembered and didn't get much of a push, subsequently sinking to the level of one of those other No Limit releases alongside the Gambino Family, Sons of Funk and the rest. This probably didn't quite count as a crime on the scale of failing to keep Fiend in the stable - although admittedly I'm not actually sure what happened there with regards to jumper and pushee - but Full Blooded is a fucking great rapper and it seems bizarre that No Limit never got around to issuing a follow up album, or even the promised debut from his group, Hounds of Gert Town.

Never mind because there's this, as I've discovered nearly two decades later - independently released, probably sold six copies, but nevertheless doing every bit of whatever business you might need it to do. Untamed actually makes Memorial Day sound kind of expensive with its relatively lavish production from Beats by the Pound, with this one being maybe a bit more bedroom in terms of scale, and with more than a hint of someone's Casio keyboard; but it plays to its strengths, underpinning everything with a bass that just won't take no for an answer, and emphasising Full Blooded's blues heritage with soulful, occasionally even mournful electric piano - and it all pulls together with such feeling that you cease to hear the budget.

Full Blooded occupies approximately the same part of the rap table of elements as Fiend, maybe a few squares along from Mystikal or even ODB, but lacking the need for throat lozenges. He sounds punch drunk, verbally dancing around the beats like he's in the boxing ring, lines dropped as though he's hurling them at the song. So it's imprecise, nothing to set your watch by, and the form mirrors the subject. Untamed really is modern blues straight from a Louisiana porch with the paint flaking off, no flossing here just grinding poverty, and doing what you have to do, and maybe not feeling too great about it. It took a couple of plays, but this one really gets its hooks into you and makes for essential cathartic listening on a shitty day; which is pretty good going for such a terminally underpublicised album. I don't even know if this guy is still alive, but if he is, I hope he gets a kick out of someone still spinning this shit two decades later. He really should've been a contender.

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