You know the story: hallowed artist/group (see Biggie, Nas, Jay-Z, OutKast) drops ambitious double LP that could've been pared down to a hiphop classic. Enter legendary Texan duo UGK, who follow this plot on their sixth studio album. Hard-truth narratives on pimpin', slangin' and hustlin' sprawl across 26 tracks on two discs.
While most of Underground Kingz submerges Bun B and Pimp C's honesty and wit in gorgeous, blues-inflected production, there's some excess in tracks like Grind Hard (we know, you hustle) and Candy (we get it, your car was expensive) that seems reductive coming from the 20-year vets. But those are mere needles in a haystack of fire.
Too $hort rolls up for the remake of Life Is 2009 (hearing it, you'll actually think you're two years in the future). Among scenes on Underground Kingz' highlight reel, fellow vets Big Daddy Kane and Kool G Rap appear to rock masterfully with their contemporaries over the sample from Tha Alkaholiks' Hip Hop Drunkies.
And in alternatingly pissed-off, proud and insecure tones, UGK spit at rap purists and Internet critics to Quit Hatin' The South, a cathartic Southern hiphop defence anthem that's years past due.