Ice-T should really consider doing an updated version of his classic track, “Colors,” to school the new generation on the days when the dye in your clothing was more than just a fad. While I don’t wish to revert to the time when gangbanging was at its tragic height, I can definitely understand how many fans and outsiders can be turned off by Hip-Hop’s current obsession over colors. Whether it be the purple stuff in your cup, the purple piff in the air, the gloss of your white tee, or the pink everywhere, it seems the fascination with colors (and flamboyant ones at that) has reached an all-time high. Personally, I’m still waiting for the crayon box’s more neglected colors, such as fuchsia, to make an appearance before I declare a full state of emergency. Obviously, Purple City Productions is yet another camp who has staked claim to a color. From the name you would think this might be Big Moe’s latest project, but instead of dipping their hand in the thick syrup of the south, these boys deal with a different type of sticky substance. That’s right, it seems Killa Cam’s “Purple Haze” supplier has finally hit it mainstream and decided to forego the trafficking of the potent piff for the $5 dollar-a-hit business of slangin’ tracks. Made up of Sheist Bub, Un Kasa, and producer Agallah, Purple City has already built a large following among mixtape fans and have collected their “best-of” for their first official release.

Purple City’s strength and the only thing that sets them apart from any other mixtape crew is producer Agallah. Without him, Shiest Bub and Un Kasa would just be two regular street rappers spitting street tales. Shiest Bub likens himself to Master P, and it might be the first time a rapper’s flamboyant claims have held true as Bub’s confidence and flair as the leader of Purple City do rival Master P’s status as the No Limit general. Bub’s resemblance to P also takes form in his lyrics, as Bub never gets past the “I got money, I got guns” mentality. Sadly, Bub lacks his own “ughhhhh” to at least give him more personality. Un Kasa is equally thuggish never saying anything with too much substance. At times the production is good enough and their verses catchy enough to actually make a song that sounds good. On “Piff Iz Da Answer” they provide a moving tribute to the marijuana that has gotten them so far in the rap game. Their best known song, “Purple City Byrdgang” is another example of a track where Bub and Kasa’s generic lyrics produce a hit mostly because of the production. Other efforts though fail completely. “Roll It Up, Light It Up” is a failed attempt at a crunk track/smokers anthem as I doubt those who do partake in the habit ever get very crunk about the process of rolling a blunt. “Gun Go” is also a generic effort and a boring anthem about the fact that guns go “bang” when you pull the trigger.

As I said before, without Agallah’s production, Purple City may have been a very hard listen to most. On the single “Purple City Byrdgang” the string arrangement along with Agallah’s sinister bass line make for one of the year’s best production efforts. The track works perfect for the gangsta lyrics spit on it, but it doesn’t sound like any other gangsta rap you ever heard. Agallah actually has crafted his own gangsta-soul style that works perfectly for Purple City. “Piff iz da Answer” and “Winning” both feature stellar soulful production from Agallah. The phat guitar licks on “It Ain’t Easy” along with the thunder in the back ground give the track an epic feel. Unknown’s “Broadway” actually does a good song blending into the album as does “Will Not Lose” by Amadeus, both continue the trend of soulful samples blended with smooth instrumentation. Agallah returns for more solid production on “A Part of History” and “America Show” with more majestic instruments accompanied by an occasional melodic voice sample. As with any album or producer this CD includes a few misses. Teflon’s attempt at club music with “Copz Iz Coming” falls short of making anybody move. Agallah’s own attempts on “Me & U” and “Real *%#@!$” sound like filler material that would have best been left off the album.

Much like the process of males wearing purple, “Road to Riches” is a hit or miss affair that depends mostly on the eye or, in this case, the ear of the beholder. For those looking for unadulterated gangsta music, it doesn’t get much better than this as lyrically Purple City matches every other thug out there and musically they blow everyone out the water with Agallah. If you’re looking for great production and can look past Bub and Kasa’s average gangsta lyrics then this would be your perfect weekend outfit. If you can’t stand gangsta lyrics at all, then Purple City is best kept in the closet. But for those inclined to store this outfit, be advised that though the flamboyant style of Purple City may not be your ideal, the occasional indulgence may be worth it for Agallah’s production alone.

Purple City :: Road to the Riches: The Best of the Purple City Mixtapes
6.5Overall Score