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Geto Boys Declare "War"

Reunited rappers are sick of party anthems

October 22, 2004 12:00 AM ET
Bushwick Bill returned to notorious hardcore rap crew the Geto Boys after seven years for one reason: timing. "Everything that's out there now is not dealing with social issues," he says. "Party anthems and party things aren't what people need when they're the most oppressed."

Due out November 9th, War and Peace furthers the Geto Boys' legacy of telling uncomfortable truths in the starkest of terms. "We're still dealing with social issues, tough social circumstances and how it affects us as individuals. We still want you to have a good time listening to our music, but we still believe putting the message in the music."

That message has been reaching ears and turning heads since the Boys' 1990 self-titled debut. In particular, the track "Mind of a Lunatic" became the focus of controversy when the Parents Music Resource Center protested the song's graphically violent content and leaned on Time Warner not to distribute the album.

Though War and Peace often tackles tough big-picture issues, "I Tried" keeps a tight focus on the day-to-day difficulties of living. "The hook goes, 'I tried, I tried to do the best I could/Sometimes I guess my best ain't good,'" says Bushwick. "The song is dealing with your kids, your parents and the people who ever believed in you, and explaining to them you're trying to do the best you could."

As for his group mates, Bushwick says that there are no tensions between him and Scarface and Willie D. "My discrepancy was strictly with the structure of the paperwork of the Geto Boys," he says. "It had nothing to do with individuals. We gelled pretty fully together -- it didn't seem like we'd been away from each other for seven years."

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Song Stories

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Mickey Newbury | 1969

A country-folk song of epic proportions, "San Francisco Mabel Joy" tells the tale of a poor Georgia farmboy who wound up in prison after a move to the Bay Area found love turning into tragedy. First released by Mickey Newbury in 1969, it might be more familiar through covers by Waylon Jennings, Joan Baez and Kenny Rogers. "It was a five-minute song written in a two-minute world," Newbury said. "I was told it would never be cut by any artist ... I was told you could not use the term 'redneck' in a song and get it recorded."

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