Big Tone and B-Dawg reviewed @

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Dec 6, 2002
Yessir, we focus on English reviews right now. Here's the "The Code Of Silence" by Big Tone reviewed for you by yours truly:

One of the most significant players in the northern California Latin rap market is undoubtedly Big Tone - young, talented Antioch and 925 area code representative. The rapper started off with East Co. Co. Records, under Woodie's wings (he debuted with a solo track on "Northern Expozure 5") and then founded his own company Sav-It-Out Records, already managed to release 3 solos, a compilation and solo projects by affiliated artists (B-Dawg, Davina). You can clearly see that he kind of continues Woodie's legacy, as he successfully and continually records more high quality material that is to some extent similar to the one created by East Co. Co. The year of 2009 brings the 4th Tone's solo and it only confirms that he doesn't plan to either take hiatus or lower the level.

Well, is you haven't had an opportunity to get familiar with rapper's endeavors yet, then you're missing a deal of great music. You should also know that despite gang related lyrics in-between the lines, this particular album will most probably appeal to fans of non-Latin, typical west coast vibes, because Norte representing is present in at most a sentence per track. Even when Big Tone talks about the streets, he focuses more on the role he plays, on the loyalty, trust and silence. Yes, the silence - the opening and at the same time title song is pretty hard and dark. It tells of the code, of restraining from talking to police, basically keeping your mouth shut; to stand your ground and demand respect. On one hand nothing new, but on the other it's been cooked in a really fresh as well as - which is more important - polished way. The host always perfectly flows to the rhythm, lacing you with yet another dose of nice rhymes and even singing a bit, which ultimately makes him stand out from the crowd of other artists, as you cannot call it simply "talking to the beat". However as far as style is concerned the majority of cuts sound different. From "Part Of The Game" until "It Ain't Over" inclusive you'll hear solely calm, smooth melodies, far from being labeled as "hard" or "vicious". Well, there is a glimpse of darkness lurking in the background - mainly due to lyrics - but the overall music consists of rather slow tempos and nice vibes with a delicate note of melancholy. Certainly there are exceptions like hard-hitting "Yoc Town Gangsta", "Mobsta" or "A Hustlas Addiction" and faster "Straight G'z" as well as "Go Get It" (which doesn't necessarily math the overall album's concept). In terms of lyrical content, you'd better get ready for diversified aspects of street life, in the broad sense. What is more, you'll receive a song dealing with infatuation ("She's In Love") and another one about pointless riding around the town, simply to enjoy the moment ("Cruzin"). "The Code Of Silence" is a perfect example of professional mastering, quality and rich variety of samples continuously played in the background. Major props go to Kev Knocks, who's affiliated with the Sav-It-Out camp for many years, since the very beginning. Some fans claim that the production he makes starts getting repetitive, yet I cannot agree with such statements, because I can clearly hear that each cut presents something entirely fresh. I even thought that "Yoc Life Got Me Like This" was done by Woodie himself, thanks to characteristic sounds. Only two tracks were produced by Unkontrolable and Sidewayz. This solo resembles "Rootz Of All Evil" a lot; it is not as dark as "Merceless" was and at the same time not as dominated with female singing as "Sly Slick-N-Wicked", however all current Big Tone fans will definitely be pleased. The artist has again proven that he is among the top northern Cali players and he is not planning to record anything that wouldn't be at least very good.

Taken from

01. Intro (skit)
02. The Code Of Silence f. B-Dawg
03. Part Of The Game
04. Hustla f. Messy Marv & Jacka
05. Yoc Life Got Me Like This
06. Young Hoodstar
07. Suppose To Be f. Jacka & Lexx
08. It Aint Over
09. Yoc Town Gangsta f. Laced
10. She's In Love f. Mad Dog & Lil Raider
11. Mobsta
12. A Hustlas Addiction f. Lil Raider
13. (skit)
14. Cruzin f. Laced
15. Straight G'z
16. Go Get It f. Lexx
17. R.I.P. Woodie f. Lil Dee, B-Dawg, Lil Los, Shadow, A-Wax, Davina & Megan
Dec 6, 2002
And another one by B-Dawg. Better later than never.

B-Dawg should already be known to the fans of northern California Latin rap. He accompanied Woodie almost from the start and you could hear him on the majority of projects by the East Co. Co Records label. His debut appearance was featured on the first part of the "Northern Expozure" compilation series. On the second part he showcased a solo song titled "Ghetto Sicknezz". He has also recorded such tracks as "The Un4given", "On The Block" or "Sharkz -N- The Water". After Woodie's death he was the first to join the newly founded Sav-It-Out Records led by Big Tone, where he released the currently reviewed, full-length solo "Scarz N Stripez".

This Antioch representative successfully continues what has been started by the "Northern Expozure" compilations, which were feared to die together with their father Woodie. Fortunately Big Tone and his label have a very professional attitude towards every single project they are responsible for, so they especially cared for crystal clear and polished music on this one. Once again it was handled by the long time associated producer Kev Knocks; only one track was composed by Woodie. Beats on "Scarz N Stripez" are indeed brilliant and other record companies can learn how things ought to be done, what the debut project should look and sound like. The composer proved he's a versatile craftsman and presented diversified vibes throughout the album. That is why you'll receive music typical for Big Tone's hitherto endeavors, meaning smooth, melodious, thought-provoking songs like "Make It Right", "Because I Have To", "Tell Me" or "It Won't Be Long" that usually refer to more serious subjects. Other than that you'll get a bit harder material that features slow tempo with little more dark, grimy, street-type of style. What is more, you'll also hear those faster and more vicious cuts that include for instance "Cali Livin", "Push It To The Limit" as well as "Should Of Known". I was afraid that B-Dawg won't be able to handle the whole solo project on his own, that his high-pitched voice and uniform, almost emotionless style will bore in the long run. I turned out to be wrong, as there are 17 full-length tracks, almost half of which are solos and there's completely no impression of monotony. The artist skillfully flows over each beat, over various paces, leaving behind nice, mesmerizing verses. B-Dawg mostly focuses on various aspects of street life, serving a solid dose of boasting, threats and advices for the younger ones; but you'll also find mature thoughts in-between the lines, so don't expect only pure, reckless gangsterism. Homeboy rap fans should also note that even though you may see the host holding red bandanna on the back cover, there are no explicit gang related lyrics on this project. One of the greatest cuts is the final one, lasting for over 8 minutes, "R.I.P. Woodie" performed by the most prominent 925 area code residents. Sav-It-Out record label has once again proven that its endeavors are nothing but top quality. I'm glad that Big Tone decided to promote the artists previously affiliated with the East Co. Co. Records. And it's not over, since I'm writing this review in 2010 and it is already known that there's a debut solo by Shadow coming up soon. Due to previous albums, fans - including me - have high expectations; and hope that they will indeed be met.

Taken from

01. Intro (skit)
02. Blame It On The Game f. Lil Dee
03. Hood Nigga (Scarz N Stripez)
04. Can't Knock My Hustle f. Shadow & Davina
05. Never Change
06. It Won't Be Long f. Big Tone
07. Keep Your Game Tough f. Lil Dee
08. Make It Right
09. Cali Livin f. Big Tone
10. Push It To The Limit f. Big Tone
11. Because I Have To
12. She's A Gangsta
13. Portraits Of The Streets f. Big Tone
14. Should Of Known f. Tito B & Lil Raider
15. Tell Me
16. Stick N Move
17. Recognize
18. R.I.P. Woodie f. Big Tone, Lil Dee, Lil Los, Shadow, A-Wax, Davina & Megan