Paypa Boiz :: Street Newz Vol. 1 :: Select-O-Hits
as reviewed by Justin 'Tha Shiznute' Chandler

The trickle down effect is an economic theory implemented by Ronald Reagan during his presidential terms. The gist of it was to give the richest of the rich more money since they, in theory, spend the most, thus spinning the wheels of capitalism right down to the little man. The idea does not work for everyone though, and those that benefit the most are those already empowered. So, why the history lesson? Well, because the same general philosophy is used within the hip hop industry. Every group seems to come out of nowhere, already aligned with another more notable, or publicly recognized collective. The problem is that there is almost certainly a drop off with each stepping stone. The ridiculously misspelled Paypa Boiz are Detroit grown protégés of The Outlawz, who are, in turn, protégés of the late, great Tupac Shakur. Maybe the Motown duo of Big Isz and Arcane would be better served rapping on their own merit and leaving associations aside, which is what the effort "Street Newz Vol.1" intends to do, so that they do not pale in the shadows of their associates.  

For the most part, The Paypa Boiz, are a throwback to the mid-90's rap feel, consisting of a straight forward flow and gangsta braggadocios; however, they do vary their music enough to keep the listener interested. The second track, "Lay U Down," for instance, offers funky synthesizers that will make one think of George Clinton and Parliament, which has more of a silky West coast feel. Here Arcane drops this opening verse, which is representative of much of the material on "Street News":  

"I'm bad for your health
When there's beef I resort to the ski masks and grab the guns off the shelf
Keep guns on the waist for niggas that talk
The four fifth was made to leave a bitch nigga in chalk
I'm America's nightmare feeling it black
The new version of Ice Cube nigga with an attitude
Funny niggas get money they wanna be hard
Get shot, they treat you like a star worshipping God
It ain't hard if the streets talk deal you a snitch
And if we can't kill your ho ass we killin' your bitch
We respecting the street code, and you can tell the difference
from a gangsta by the way he walks and how his heat blows
We keep dough, old schools and current whips
Got guns, 9 millis, AK's, banana clips
Talk shit; leave your ass stiff face full of slugs
Welcome to Detroit, home of the haters with no love"

Arcane vocalizes this strong verse with a gruffy voice that mixes the lyrically referenced Ice Cube and the aforementioned Tupac. However, a comparison to such profound artists in the genre is quite hasty of him. Big Isz follows with some respectable bars of his own as he unveils his more nasally voice and relaxed style.  

Songs like "Lay U Down" might gain them some credibility in the streets amongst rap enthusiasts, but won't get much rotation, as they truly do not add anything new or creative to the picture. But "Get Away" is a classic R&B/rap crossover type of joint that could make the airwaves. It is their lead single and has been steadily increasing their popularity in the streets. The song is a story of thug romanticism, refreshingly sweet and caring of the woman's best interests, which is far too rare in our music. "Can't Live Without U" later tries to reinvigorate the magic, but is marred by a lackadaisical beat and less poignant words. Then, again with Pt. II, which is too similar to not be a bonus track reprise.  

Further, the Paypa Boiz journey into other types of songs from self-appreciative romps ("I Keeps My 9"; "I Smoke Like No Other") to club attempts ("Gimme Whut U Got"; "Ain't No Party (Remix)." They succeed most when they do not try to stray too far from their straightforward style, but the changes in pace are needed nonetheless as the later portion of the disc grows tiresome at times, drawing particular irony to the title of the ho-hum track, "Same Shit."  

As the guest spots build up, you realize the strong relationship the two had with the late, great, MC Breed (also from Michigan). He might as well have been an honorary member of the Paypa Boiz, as he appears on six cuts, adding to the 90's vibe. Mastamind (of Natas) drops by for the particularly venomous "Hate All U Want." Meanwhile, Elzhi, who released this year's fantastic "The Preface" shows up on "Ain't No Party (Remix)" but his style clashes with the featured artists over the old school handclap production. Finally, their mentor Young Noble (of Outlawz), makes an adequate appearance on the culminating track, which is one of the two bonuses on the LP. So, with there are very mixed results with the collaborations, as there is with the material on "Street Newz" itself.  

The Paypa Boiz closely tie themselves to the Outlawz for a good enough reason, as the Outlawz are an established name, especially within the hip hop community. There are times that they feel like they are really hitting their groove, but the Paypa Boiz are too hit and miss on "Street Newz" and still cannot effectively step out of the shadows of their larger counterparts. They're not necessarily the epitome of rap Reaganomics (see: Tony Yayo) but they need to fine tune in order to transcend.

Music Vibes: 6 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 6.5 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 6 of 10

Originally posted: December 9, 2008