Pitch Control Mixtape Volume II
Label: REL Entertainment
Author: Justin 'Tha Shiznute' Chandler
Pitch Control began as a television series that ran from 1997-2000. When REL Entertainment released Pitch Control Volume I last year it focused it's attention on some of the Cash Money camp, G-Unit and a few smaller names from the South. This time around, Pitch Control Mixtape Vol. II focuses on the artists of the south that have mastered the art of "screwed & chopped" music by regionalizing their effort to Texas. The DVD disc is 90 minutes of a video/mixtape formula that showcases the likes of Trae, Z-Ro, Lil' Flip, Bun B and more...but the million dollar question is if it worth your hard earned bucks?
After the previews, one of which being for this product, the viewer is faced with the introductory segment that plays out like a commercial with all of the artists looking straight into the camera and giving their endorsement by saying "Pitch Control" repetitively. The limitations of the disc are immediately brought to light as the neon menu only offers to play or to skip to chapters. The disc is bare bones besides what is offered in the 90 minute play time.
Luckily, the first song that plays out is Trae's sublime "Swang". If you have not heard the single "Swang" it is recommended you go nab it up via MP3 or grab a copy of one of the nicer down south albums from the past year in Trae's "Restless". The problem in the video "mixtape" of this video is that it is really just shots of the artists flossing their jewels and cars. The simplicity of the video aspect of this DVD is glaring and, if anything, it makes you dislike the artists behind the music because one would expect more of a thought process in the product they are slanging. Z-Ro and Trae can both be fairly introspective, especially in relation to most Southern rappers, but this makes them look like run of the mill hustlers.
The next few chapters of the disc really glamorize old school Cadillac Devilles and though it is obviously a part of Southern rap culture, it is not as impressive as perhaps Ariel Santschi (Director/Editor) thinks it is. Nonetheless, the candy apple rides are shown over and over again and the instant replay function is put to full use.
The video for "Draped Up" is more of the same, but it does manage to look more professional by clearly utilizing better camera equipment than much of the rest of the disc's material. It is unfortunate that this song never caught on as much as it could have with the right marketing push--the remix with Jay could have gone even bigger yet.
REL Entertainment relentlessly promotes their products in the middle of disc, which once again draws the viewer out of any kind of continuity that may be found in the mish mash of a disc. The featured emcees also talk about their albums at the beginning or ending of a given chapter. Every once in awhile the promotion brings about a milk carton rapper like JT Money of "Who Dat" fame that is good for a laugh or two in recollecting the past when this form of rap was not as prominent in the mainstream scene. A proper analogy would be to say that the Pitch Control series is to rap as the "Girls Gone Wild" series is to objectification of women.
Z-Ro probably gets the most shine on this release. There is a portion of an outdoors concert, likely done in the hood of Houston, Texas, that shows Z-Ro performing snippets of songs from "Let the Truth Be Told" and "Life and Times of Joseph McVey". Both albums are great and the live footage are serviceable versions, but don't add to the songs in any way. "II Many Niggaz" is still an undeniable classic. More impressive than the concert footage is Z-Ro and Trae's freestyle over the "Big Pimpin'" beat off the top of the dome, as you rarely hear him using his ability to spit quickly on his official tracks.
Save for the homage to DJ Screw, Fat Pat and Hawk, some fallen soldiers of the rap game, the end really starts to drag as it feels like the same thing has been done from a visual standpoint especially.
If you are considering picking up "Pitch Control Mixtape Volume II" it would be recommended to you to think about what you are listening to rap music for. Honestly, most southern rap is made to ride to and only a small percentage of prospective buyers have a DVD player in their car to enjoy the music on the road. The most important thing is that there needs to be more depth to this "Screwed & Chopped" culture than what is offered here with Cadillacs and glossy jewelry. The music that is offered is often far more thoughtful than what is portrayed visually. Simply put, Pitch Control's roots as a TV show is self-evident with the quality of this product and annoying commercialization. There is a complete omission of interviews, commentary, a packed in CD, or anything that would make this worthy of your hard earned dough. One would be better off just copping the hotter releases from some of the featured artists as a lot of Z-Ro and Trae's material comes highly recommended
despite the limitations of this DVD.
Content: 4 of 10
Layout: 2 of 10
TOTAL Vibes: 3 of 10
Originally posted: May 8, 2007