Rigormortiz, the debut album from DetriMental Ganxsta– DMG was released at a time when solid albums seemed to be dropping routinely every other week. Rigormortiz was one of those tapes that I remember seeing sat proudly in a lot of peoples collections but was rarely talked about. It just kinda seemed to get lost in the noise of other big industry releases that same year, including label mates Geto Boys “Till Death Do Us Part”. In terms of sales it managed to reach a respectable #40 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. This was in spite of the album having the usual poor promotion that Rap-A-Lot has become known for. 1993 was also a time when the hysteria of west coast gangster rap was in full swing, with Snoop, Spice 1, Ice Cube to name a few all dropping phenomenal albums. Over on the east coast Wu Tang fever was taking effect and would soon change the rap game completely. Add to all this the fact DMG sounds similar to his mentor Scarface and it’s a miracle Rigormortiz got the chance to shine at all. 21 years on and the album has become somewhat of an enigma mostly due to the scarcity of this now long “out of print” Rap-A-Lot classic.
Like so many Rap-A-Lot artists from the early 90’s, there isn’t a lot of background info on DMG. I once heard that he was the younger brother of Scarface, but I think this rumor was born out of the fact that DMG as already mentioned above, sounds similar to his mentor Brad Jordan aka Mr Scarface. I still occasionally come across Scarface fans who have not heard the Rigormortiz album and are completely unaware that the track “You Don’t Hear Me Doe”, first used on Face’s “The World Is Yours” album was actually performed by DMG. Generally speaking, two rappers sounding so similar would be enough to kill the deal for me, but to be honest after a couple of listens the differences in voice and style become more and more obvious to the point that you wonder how you were ever fooled in the first place. “Rigormortiz” is a raw and potent product cooked up by the Rap-A-Lot camp at a time when it was at it’s glorious best and DMG fits right in with the hardcore gangster element that has made the label what it is…….was.
Listening to “Rigormortiz” you would think every element came straight out of Houston Texas, as many people erroneously assume DMG is a Houston native when he actually hails from St. Paul, Minnesota. However, the production is mostly handled by Texas mainstay, N.O. Joe, the man behind many of the classic U.G.K tracks. what you get is pure bass loaded gangsta funk. Lyrically, Rigormortiz is full of guns, murder, and all the usual gangster type shit that you would expect from a Rap-A-Lot artist of the era. “Prelude To A Murdah,” Feat; Cozy-K, uses the same sample used on “Gangsta’s Paradise,” (Stevie Wonder’s-Pastime Paradise) 2 years before Coolio had the smash hit. “One in tha Chamba” has a reggae inspired beat with a hook that is reminiscent of Spice 1 when he sometimes rhymes in a Jamaican patois style in parts of his tracks. Former Geto Boys member Big Mike lends a verse on “Rest In Peace,” a deep and powerful tribute to some of the fallen homies from the block. Then Mike reappears for the biggest collab on the album “Buck Em Down,” along with Scarface, 5th Ward Boyz, 2 Low and and fellow Convicts partner Mr. 3-2. Perhaps my favourite track on the album apart from the excellent and hard hitting opener “You Don’t Hear Me Doe”, is the mellow flow and silky smooth production found on “I ain’t Bullshitting”. Scarface fans who haven’t heard the album will be familiar with the beat as it’s the same one used on the intro to scarface’s “The World Is Yours – Face II Face” album.
Since the album dropped all those years ago output for DMG has been very scarce. Apart from his Facemob appearances, the only other albums to his name are a 2003 Rap-A-Lot release called Black Roulette and a 2007 album Chek. “Rigormortiz” is long out of print and sells for ridiculous prices on Ebay and discogs. For the hardcore Geto Boys and Rap-A-Lot fans I highly recommend the album as it’s actually one of my favourites out of the many I own. If you can get it for a reasonable price then dive on it quick. It’s a very well-done album that still holds its weight even after all these years. The production is excellent and among the finest of this era of Rap-A-Lot albums, with tons of slow rolling bass, woozy synths, and funky instrumentals.
[dropshadowbox align=”none” effect=”lifted-both” width=”100%” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]INTERESTING FACT: Next time you watch the movie Jasons Lyric, keep an eye out for the DMG – Rigormortiz poster featured on the bedroom wall in one of the scenes. [/dropshadowbox]