A.G. - I’m A Beast (Fat Beats, 2011)
While everyone focuses on Roc Marciano, Marcberg, and whatever Roc intends to release as the follow up to that brilliant debut, A.G. is silently making moves just as interesting and entertaining on the low. A.G., known by many as the D.I.T.C. spitter who spent most of his career riding with producer Showbiz, is a true veteran in this game, having spent more than a good twenty years in this game; he’s been rapping longer than most of us have been alive. You’d never believe that from the hunger in his voice though; you’d never guess this old cat has been scraping at the bottom of the barrel in hip-hop for so long yet there’s no resentment to be found in his verses.
Everything’s Berri is a terribly underrated concept album in the same vein as Roc Marciano’s Marcberg, a companion piece both conceptually and chronologically considering there’s a song called Marcberri on the album which is nothing more than Roc (A.G. excluded from his own album) rocking over one of the excellent Ray West beats to the same effect and impact that was found on his own debut. Despite being recorded at essentially the same time (it’s hard to really say whether A.G. was inspired by Marcberg or if he both he and Roc were giving imput to one another on their own individual projects since both play so seamlessly together) as Marcberg, A.G. didn’t find the same Pitchfork reviews and critical acclaim that Roc did; in fact, a lot of heads didn’t even seem to understand what was going on in Everything’s Berri, an album that’s admittedly weird especially if you grew up with A.G. (something I certainly didn’t). A.G. is still rapping like he’s a young man, just in a different time; this is still the same rugged cat that used to fuck around in the Bronx with dirty broads, glocks, and selling crack rocks. Even if he’s an old man, A.G. channels the energy of a thirsty young hustler who has everything to prove on Everything’s Berri.
Berri TV is his next album, scheduled for release in the early half on 2011. I’m A Beast is its first single; on this track, AG brings up a number of popular rappers (Drake, Nicki, Hov, Dipset), and mentions where he was when they were still in the early stages of their development, providing an OG’s view while never criticizing any of them or taking any shots. It’s so refreshing to hear a rapper of A.G.’s age and status namecheck his successors without the usual bitter this ain’t real hip-hop! banter. Mike The Martyr’s production is just as excellent as the production Ray West provided on Everything’s Berri; a throwback to the golden age of hip-hop with a modern flair. Never once does this attempt to be something it’s not; it might sound right at home next to The Infamous or Cuban Links, but it’s assuredly 2011.
That’s A.G.’s greatest assett; he may not be the best rapper from a technical aspect, he may not have the dopest flow, but he’s an old cat, doing what he loves, and doing it well; and he has something to say, something these other fourty year old cats don’t. It may not be positive, but he’s still kicking knowledge. Now if only Ghostface could get ahold of these producers..