There’s a small chance you haven’t heard of this 21st century large and in charge MC; but even if you have don’t mistake him for Big Pun or Buffy. Instead, picture a Dirty South style Nelly rapper with the same penchant for melodic crooning in his raps, and you’re getting close. Mix in a little bit of slow beats (R.I.P. DJ Screw) and a lot of “Purple Stuff” (whether dank or drank) and you’ve arrived at Big Moe’s destination: “Purple World.”
Up until recently, this CD might have been relegated to a niche market that was located on the Gulf of Mexico: Texas, Louisiana, Florida, et cetera. The sound that the late great DJ Screw popularized is spreading across the country though and artists who made a name contributing to Screw tapes and the like have caught the wave too. In fact, this album is in some ways a who’s who of the scene: H.A.W.K., Lil’ Keke, D-Gotti, Lil’ Flip, and Big Pokey among others. If you’re scratching your head at this point, it’s a 50/50 proposition at best whether this is the album for you. Those who know these names can expect trademark Southern syrup, but even for those who know this is still a style different from the same ol’ same ol’.
Topics vary throughout the album, but never stray too far from the traditions of hedonistic pleasures. The lead single “Purple Stuff” is almost “Sippin’ On Some Syrup” part two, but arranged in a way that’s somewhat more tasteful and radio friendly. In fact that’s typical of this album; if not for the occasional cursing and what-not nearly any song could fit into a smooth Urban Contemporary mix. The bouncy interpolation of “Just the Two of Us” in “S.U.C.” is a case in point, as is the slicked out “Confidential Playa.” Synth bass and melody powers the laid back vocals and uptempo beat of “When I”, while the closest thing to hardcore can be found on the pounding “Cash” featuring Pimp C of U.G.K. and D-Reck. All of these songs except “Purple Stuff” were produced by the obliquely named Blue, the other being handled by Salih Williams. The two of them handle 90% of the duties on this CD; T-Gray and Noke D handle the random exceptions to this rule such as the title track and “We Won’t Stop” respectively.
One has to suspect if Big Moe hadn’t been brought up on the Dirty South hip-hop scene, he might be providing hooks for songs a la Nate Dogg. He continues to chop it up with his musical flow on groove tunes like “Dime Piece” and “The Letter.” If there’s such a thing as crunk for the quiet storm, Big Moe would be the big king of the genre. Even when he breaks out with something a little harder on “Mashin’ For Mine” he keeps right on with the musical flow by singing an interpolation of “Summer in the City.” Only when the guest MC’s totally dominate a track, as do the four Southern MC’s representing on “Thug Thang” do things get straight rowdy. Even then it doesn’t last, as the song is immediately followed by the surefire crossover smooth of “Parlay.”
The album is rounded out with a “Purple Stuff (Remix)” whose guest vocals by Project Pat really DO convert it to a “Syrup” sequel; but Big Pokey and D-Gotti get a piece of the rap action too. For the most part Big Moe is about one thing – blessing the track with his dirty drawl syrup stung singing over beats that strictly serve to relax you out. If you thought all Southern rap was hard, fast, bounce, or thug, this album may help to change your perceptions. It won’t go down as the greatest thing since sliced bread, but it will Houston, TX proud as well as the spirit of Screw from up on high.