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The 100 Best L.A. Rap Songs

16. Above The Law "Murder Rap" (1990)

Album: Livin' Like Hustlers
Label: Ruthless
Producer: Above The Law, Dr. Dre, Laylaw


Of all the works of aural architecture overseen by Dr. Dre, Above the Law's “Murder Rap” might well be his most underrated building. Released in the creative crosscurrent that existed in the space between Straight Outta Compton and The Chronic, “Murder Rap” is a monstrous piece of work, clearly inspired by the density of Ice Cube's collaboration with the Bomb Squad on Amerikka's Most Wanted.

Beginning with a snippet of Eazy talking about meeting President Bush, the song goes on to layer no less than six different samples. The hellacious opening assault contains of a collision of drums (borrowed from James Brown and Eddie Bo), bass (from Public Enemy) and a sample of Quincy Jones' theme from the cop show Ironsides (it could be a police siren; it could be a hissing asp).

Had Dr. Dre not soon invented G-funk, “Murder Rap” suggests an alternate path that L.A. gangsta rap might have taken: a bombastic, tribally heavy sound that's closer to heavy metal than Blaxploitation funk.

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