Gangsta Pat - Deadly Verses LP (Power Records, 1995)
This is the limited-edition SIC Records reissue from 2020.
"If his name didn’t already let you know, Gangsta Pat was sure to tell you in his lyrics: there are three tracks on #1 Suspect and four tracks on 1992’s All About Comin’ Up that include the word “gangsta” in the title. But by the middle of the decade, gangsta rap was played out as a selling point and fading as a subgenre, so Pat pivoted to something more recognizably Memphis: Satanic rap.
On 1995’s Deadly Verses, Pat completely rebooted himself as an artist, adopting the tongue-twisting flow popularized by Lord Infamous and Bone Thugs-n-Harmony. The change in sound is so extreme that it’s almost like his music was literally possessed by a demon. This is classic horrorcore pastiche: multiple interpolations of John Carpenter’s “Halloween” theme, the constant utterance of the word “Redrum,” depraved tales of gory murder and blunts dipped in blood. It’s clearly a style that he didn’t originate, and it occasionally tips into counterfeit territory, like on “Tear Da Club Up,” which borrows Three 6’s “Tear Da Club Up” for a shout-out track, but it also suits Pat’s voice much more than his earlier West Coast affectations. His biggest hit, “I Wanna Smoke,” is an effortless slice of stoner rap, with Pat extolling the pleasures of cannabis over a low-key guitar riff and wiry G-funk synth line. It’s the closest thing to a classic record Pat ever produced—a cult favorite that would be sampled years later by Raider Klan member Key Nyata on his track “Get Fucked Up.” Deadly Verses also represents the absolute worst of that era in hip-hop: Pat tries his hand at the kind of scary stories to tell in the dark that Lord Infamous perfected on Deadly Verses’s “O.J. Murder Story,” featuring a melody that sounds quite a lot like “Anyone Out There” and lyrics as uncomfortable (and indefensible) as anything Three 6 ever said on their underground tapes.
But adopting Three 6’s mystic style didn’t revive Pat’s career, and his albums kept failing to connect. Soon bad blood would develop between Pat and the group, resulting in a very different flip of “Tear Da Club Up”: the diss track “Tear Yo Club Down (3 Six Diss).” In a skit on the 1999 album of the same name, Pat explained his musical philosophy: “Fuck how many times it gets played on the radio, it’s all about how many times a motherfucker goes in the store and buys your shit.” Listening to early Three 6 Mafia is like hearing a direct transmission from the underworld, but Pat only saw music as a product, perhaps explaining why his work never haunted listeners in the same way. Deadly Verses might be more of a sonic follower than a leader, but it’s still a fascinating footnote from a transitional era, when the South was still finding its flow." - Nathan Smith (Bandcamp)