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Review: Nino – Nino

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The Nino – Nino album was one of the best San Antonio rap albums of 1995 next to Lil Sin – Frustrated By Death. The Nino – Nino is one of the best gangsta rap albums from San Antonio next to Lil Sin – Frustrated By Death, Mr. Joshay – 21 Crunk St., Mr. Joshay – Gangster Pimpin, L-Dog – The Sad Truth, L-Dog – Street Therapy, Down And Dirty Click – Only Gangsta, C Stud Vill – Payback, and Suthern Merchandise – Suthern Stress.

You have your smooth laid back cuts such as True II Life Playa, Slow Ride, and Big Ole Pimp. You also have your gangsta cuts such as No Way Out, Neighborhood Dumpsta, Texas Streetz, Afta Midnite, Ashes II Ashes, Ask Somebody, Pallbearer, and Be True. Kottonmouth appears on the songs Texas Streetz and Big Ole Pimp. DJ Snake makes an appearance on Ashes II Ashes by rapping a portion of the chorus.

You have production from DJ Snake and Ricé (pronounced as ree-say). DJ Snake with his boomin’ bass. Ricé with his signature sound of double bass, double guitars, and quadruple layers of instrumentation. Now DJ Snake did a bulk of the production for Nino’s debut album while Ricé produced only one song. That is because DJ Snake was the in-house producer for Youngsta Records at that time. Ricé worked for Youngsta Records but he had his hands in producing for other artists such as Lil Sin, Mr. Joshay, Dyce, Lil Black, and other artists. Ricé was also the in-house producer for BLVD Records during this time which is why he only produced one song for Nino’s debut album.

No track is worth skipping as each song is fire. This album should have at least went gold. However the album did chart at #85 on the Billboard Independent Charts selling 125,000 copies total. Youngsta Records was in their prime stage as a label.

He changed his name from Pony J to Nino by 1995. Pony J changed his name to Nino after he saw New Jack City and was inspired by the character Nino Brown (played by Wesley Snipes). You can tell he was obviously inspired by the movie New Jack City when recording this album.

Nino explains how and why the game of pimping is not easy on the album’s opener Pimpin Ain’t Eazy. The whole song revolves around the subject of pimping. Somebody has to do it. DJ Snake produced Pimpin Ain’t Eazy. He produced the bass on Pimpin Ain’t Eazy.

The album’s opener, Pimpin Ain’t Eazy, begins with an extremely loud THX opening sample you would hear if you heard a movie that used THX technology. The heavy male voice tells, “There’s a Nino in every city. This is just one tale. Introducing Nino.” The beats kick in first, the second, and then the bass.

Pimping ain’t easy but somebody has got to do it. Nino is going to give some of that Southern fried Southwest Texas shit. Just listen as Nino takes you (and us) one of his missions.

Youngsta Mafia is his set. Youngsta Records is (was) selling tapes, CDs, and cassettes underground at a different location on daily basis. Youngsta Records moved their headquarters to Irving, Texas (suburb of Dallas, Texas) a year prior in 1994. Believe Nino when he tells you crime pays him. Their cassettes and CDs are selling like kilograms of cocaine. But Nino needs the triple beam just for the yayo. Mathematics can put that shit together.

However pimping is better. The pimping gets better. On the other hand, bitches are acting shady. Never treat a hoe or a bitch like a lady. That is mistake if you treat a hoe or a bitch like a lady. Don’t go broke. Nino represents the real as he flexes his skills. It’s all about the pimping where Nino comes. San Antonio, Texas is all about that pimping.

It’s all about the dividends (making money). Even with your family and friends. Because we all in. Nino puts the twists in the game like a lemon squeeze. Nino went to pimping bitches and stopped selling kilograms of cocaine and dope. Now he is rolling heavy. Just flossing. You can tell that Nino changed his style. He gets his hustle on fast and in a hurry.

Money makes his dick get hard. Like this young ass trick who needed a pimp because her man was a simp. She like the way Nino walks his walk and the way he limps. That’s the way that story goes.

Nino explains the trouble, danger, and crime that lurks around after midnight on Afta Midnite. The bass and beats are tight.

It’s 12:15 AM in the morning. Niggaz start trippin. So Nino sprays them with lead bullets. Then he dips to escape out the back door to avoid being seen by any witnesses. He reloaded hollow point lead bullets up into the chamber of his gun. Now he is ready for the danger. So he releases his anger. SAPD apprehend Nino and he is up in custody at City of San Antonio Detention Center. However Nino refuses to confess to this murder, aggravated assault, and possession of a controlled substance. So there was no confession. The homicide squad was alerted. G’s (gangsters) are putting in work coast to coast and from state to state. Geekers are steadily getting stepped on in the alley way. The body count gets deeper as the clips get empty.

Nino is let go due to not confessing. So he hit the block to commit another crime. He finds a spot to hide his gun. However he must have been smoking too much indo (marijuana) because he did not even see the witness laying low up in the window. The witness was a smoker. He approached the witness with a fat ounce. Now there is no more case or DA (District Attorney) in Nino’s face. All because this happened after midnight.

It was a hot summer night in the month of July. Nino was rolling around his city of San Antonio. His pockets are flat broke. He is tweaking like a motherfucker off that water (PCP). This buster and bitch pull up at Whataburger. Nino and little homie were down for the hoo ride. They definitely were down for committing the crime. So they committed the homicide. Now Nino is all fucked up as he lost his mind. He’s laying low in his leather seats as he reclines.

People say that Nino likes to glamorize the way gangsters are living. But ain’t nobody giving. So fuck the bullshitting. Don’t get caught slipping if Nino is in jack mode after midnight. People catch AIDS fucking all the hoes after midnight.

Big Ole Pimp is another one of slick laid back pimp rap songs which is laced with super heavy bass by DJ Snake and a funky guitar. Big Ole Pimp is a Nino and Kottonmouth duo song. Nino explains how and why he is referred to as a big ole pimp which is “Ashes II ashes, dust II dust”.

Ashes II Ashes is one of the darker gangsta rap tracks by Nino. Ashes II Ashes explains how Nino kills people who obstruct his ways of getting money and how if you try to cross his clique then your ass is fucked. Nino sounds like Scarface on this track. Ashes II Ashes and True II Life Playa are some of the best songs on the album. This is San Antonio rap at its finest. DJ Snake makes an appearance by rapping a portion of the chorus.

Thou shalt not kill or steal but they made Nino. If you try to cross his clique then your ass is fucked.

Nino is up at 7 AM in the morning as soon as the sky turns a different color. The early bird catches the worm. He grabs his joint off his nightstand before he takes a shower. A hot beer is in his right hand. He is staring at himself in the mirror thinking of a mission for today. It’s clearer. Her walks his walk to his closet. He puts on that Hilfiger. Can’t forget that Hilfiger. He retrieves money from his safe.

Now it’s time to ride to the East Side of town. Nino is looking for some nigga that fucked him out of his money. Nino is drinking brew and smoking fry. Then he snorted himself a line of cocaine through his nose. Now he is hella high. Now some nigga is fixing to die. These niggaz be gangster walking up in these Texas Street. He puts up a tech under that nigga’s neck and let the bullets do the talking. It was a 211 (robbery) and 187 (murder) at the same time.

You see these killers in Nino’s clique are not afraid to die. Nino is mobbing 15 deep (with 15 people). The strap is up in his lap. That’s how real players creep. So don’t try to cross his clique. Nino will take your life before you take his life. He is a real OG (original gangster) who does not fake or front. Or fake the funk. Nino is ballin’ with the Youngsta Mafia. That is his family and has been his family since 1986. Nothing but game is all they handed him.

The song starts off with a chorus which contains these lyrics,

Thou shalt not kill but they made me
They say, nigga don’t steal, but it pays me
And if you try to cross my clique then your ass is fucked
(Tell em, Snake)
Thou shalt not kill but they made me
They say, nigga don’t steal, but it pays me
And if you try to cross my clique then your ass is fucked

The first 65 seconds of the song start off with these lyrics,

[Chorus]
Thou shalt not kill but they made me
They say, nigga don’t steal, but it pays me
And if you try to cross my clique then your ass is fucked
(Tell em, Snake)
Thou shalt not kill but they made me
They say, nigga don’t steal, but it pays me
And if you try to cross my clique then your ass is fucked

[Verse 1]
I’m up at 7 o’clock as soon as the sky turns
A different color because early bird catch the worm
I grab a joint off my nightstand before I take a shower
Plus a hot beer is in my right hand
I’m staring at myself in the mirror
Thinking of a mission for today and it’s clearer
I walks my walk to my closet, nigga
And pulls out that Hilfiger

No Way Out is one of the hardest most gangsta songs on the album. The song explains why Nino cannot leave the Youngsta Mafia to live a safer life as there is no way out for him to leave the gang. He can’t leave the gang because once you’re in the gang, you’re in for life. Life or death, there is no way out. The song also explains how Nino is down for life as he is part of the Youngsta Mafia. He cannot leave the criminal lifestyle behind him either. That is another reason why he cannot leave the Youngsta Mafia. The song explains the mafia lifestyle.

He contemplates about leaving the gang life behind him throughout the song. The other half of him wants a sudden change (to suddenly change) and the other half of him wants to stay in the gang. This creates an internal conflict with him mentally.

The song was inspired by how the Sicilian Mafia from Italy operated. The song was also inspired by movies such as Goodfellas, Scarface II, and New Jack City. But a majority of the song for the most part was inspired by the movie Goodfellas.

Nino tells us there is no way out of a gang at the very beginning. Nino is married to the Youngsta Mafia clique with a brand new life. He realizes if he turns his back on the mafia (gang) and betrays them that they will take his wife and children away from him. They took Nino in which is why he put his gang over his family.

The boss cut his hand. A deal was made at a gang ceremony of theirs. This nigga was trippin’ at the gang ceremony. Nino walked up to him, kissed him on his cheek, and flipped him. Nino looked at the boss. The boss looked at Nino and smiled. Nino knew from that point he would be down for life. Death before dishonesty. So he gave the boss a kiss of death. Everybody in the room watched Nino put that ass to rest. He wanted to quit the family. So he should have kept that quiet. Yet he fucked up and broke the code of silence. That fucking rat head snitched out on the whole Youngsta Mafia. He swore to this mafia that he took an oath to never depart. All vows got broke ever since the fucking start. Life or death. There is no way out.

Nino is the second big boss of this whole mafia which is Youngsta Mafia. Nino has got some power. So don’t be coming up in his face with no hoe shit or horse shit. Now that Nino has the riches, it’s time to put the ends to work. He has a nationwide clientele. Crazy how money works.

Nino wants to quit the gang sometimes. Don’t we all sometimes? That’s how he thinks when he is in his 10-room house as he unwinds. But first he pours out some liquor for his niggaz that aren’t here. The one’s that are deceased or locked up in the penitentiary for years. He felt their pain and can relate to their experiences as he was in their shoes at one point. Nino can feel what is real. That is a fact which does not need to be disputed.

Nino keeps on looking back on every step he takes forward. Which is because Nino is a young nigga’s head with an old nigga’s mind. That is what the lyrics, “Every step I take forward, I keep on looking back/A young nigga’s head with an old nigga’s mind” The lyrics that stick with me and other people the most are “A young nigga’s head with an old nigga’s mind”.

He does this all the time. He keeps on looking back at every step he takes forward. Every step he takes forward, he keeps on looking back at that step. And if you shoot one of his niggaz from the Youngsta Mafia, he’ll kill a few of yours. His niggaz made it but yours are in the morgue. Nino has a thousand (1,000) in line with AK’s, grenades, napalm, and some motherfuckin’ 9’s. The respect he demands for Youngsta Mafia is real. Nino is a half a million dollar nigga in a half a million dollar house. He is eating steak every and can afford private school for his children. We all in because there’s no way out.

Nino got word that his operation is moving lovely. Things in the operation are running smoothly. It’s like a new beginning but sometimes Nino thinks the end coming. There’s no way out. Nino is getting deep up in this game. One half of Nino is in the organized crime and the Youngsta Mafia while the other half of him wants a sudden change. He wants to suddenly change as he contemplates about leaving the gang life behind him. This creates an internal conflict with him mentally.

But you know that nigga Nino is true to this shit with profits. You know how money makes his dick get professional. He has the feds (federal police/IRS/US Government) on his dick under surveillance in different places with Youngsta Mafia. They are mobbin’ everyday. Laws are closing in on him and Youngsta Mafia. It’s doesn’t matter as Nino is down with Youngsta Mafia for life.

True II Life Playa is one of those slick smooth laid back player type of songs due to the bass and beats. Nino explains how much of a true to life player he really is in True II Life Playa. He explains in details exactly he is down. Listen to Nino’s skillful flow. Nino sounds like Scarface on this track. This is San Antonio gangsta rap at its finest.

True II Life Playa uses vocal samples from The Notorious B.I.G. – Big Poppa which gives the song some East Coast flavor. True II Life Playa was produced by DJ Snake. The bass was played and performed by Greg “Funky Fangazz” London. So you can expect to hear that smooth G-Funk quality nonetheless.

Nino explains how he is a true to life player throughout the song. Here are some examples. You ask how Nino maintains his role as a true to life player. He stays sucker free. You know his motto, “I can’t stay low key. They already know me.” It was like that in the 94 and the 95 nonetheless. So he sticks with his motto for life. He puts all the bullshit behind him.

He saw this person coming up to him at the club who he thought or perceived to be a law enforcement official (LEO/5-0) such as a police officer or an undercover agent. Nino asks the person coming up to meet him outside at the back of his car. Nino is married to his clique. Fuck a wife. Nino has to be more careful about who he calls on his cellular phone now. Going in and out of Bexar County Jail ain’t shit to him. He is paying off these court cases. He smoked the best chronic that money can buy.

Neighborhood Dumpsta is one of the darker dark tracks on the album which is explained all the crimes Nino committed and shit. DJ Snake produced the dark bells and those beats you hear.

Nino was a psychopathic lunatic that was raised up in the Rigsby Courts. He has bad to the bone ever since birth. He lived his life so crazy from all the shit he did. He sold dope, smoked niggas with his gun, robbed banks for cash, and choked hoes. Nino does his dirt on the down low. He never lets people know about the details because he is the “Neighborhood Dumpsta”. Plus he is a hustler. He is filling up bodies with lead.

Texas Streetz is a Nino and Kottonmouth duo. Nino and Kottonmouth explain how things go down in these Texas streets. Nino explains several different events which happen in cities of Texas. Those hard ass beats were produced by DJ Snake as DJ Snake produced Texas Streetz.

Niggz from Texas don’t give a fuck. People say niggaz from Texas are crazy. OGs and young bucks are putting work. You know, doing dirt. All on a 24/7 basis. That’s the way it goes. From city to city in the great state of Texas. Niggaz on the corner making dollars by the thousands.

Nino is on the run like OJ Simpson with a little assistance from his partner Mr. Joshay. Joshay is on the run because SAPD (San Antonio Police Department) raided his residence. Nino was fishing in Port Arthur on his yacht. Now he is back on land selling dope. His real partners watch his back for punk ass busters.

Ask Somebody has a slow yet mid tempo vibe at the same time. Probably due to the way DJ Snake produced the beats and synthesizers. He did a real good job on producing the synthesizers. If you don’t know, you better ask somebody.

Slow Ride is one of those smooth laid back tracks with a pimp flow. The song uses a slow mellow groove similar to My Brothas Keepa and True II Life Playa. Ricé produced Slow Ride. Notice the signature sound of double bass, double guitars, and quadruple layers of instrumentation.

Nino is up at 7 AM in the morning as soon as the sky turns a different color. The early bird catches the worm. He grabs his joint off his nightstand before he takes a shower. A hot beer is in his right hand. He is staring at himself in the mirror thinking of a mission for today. It’s clearer. Her walks his walk to his closet. He puts on that Hilfiger. Can’t forget that Hilfiger. He retrieves money from his safe.

Now it’s time to ride to the East Side of town. The 9 is by his side. He skips breakfast and will eat a hamburger later. He fucked around for 2 more hours. Then K-Sam hit Nino on his pager. K-Sam said he had this hook up with this lick they can both hit. They both hit a lick and obtain jewelry. Now crime pays Nino. Nino got the Redbull. K-Sam got the bud. Him and his niggaz gonna slow ride. They are headed for the liquor store.

Slow Ride uses some the lyrics from Ashes II Ashes. Take a look.

[Verse 1]
I’m up at 7 o’clock as soon as the sky turns
A different color because early bird catch the worm
I grab a joint off my nightstand before I take a shower
Plus a hot beer is in my right hand
I’m staring at myself in the mirror
Thinking of a mission for today and it’s clearer
I walks my walk to my closet, nigga
And pulls out that Hilfiger

Nino plays the role of a pallbearer after someone killed one of his homies on Da Pallbearer. This is another one of those dark eerie songs on the album.

It’s time for Nino to take someone’s life as someone killed one of his homies. A life was taken. They will die by the trigger of a gun. A funeral was held at a church for his homie. Now Nino is a pallbearer for his homie. Nino is standing over the coffin thinking about revenge. Looking at the face of his longtime friend. Cash and rags were thrown into the coffin.

Nino leavers to take a breather. It’s going to be on tonight. He marked down the date of July 4th. The person who killed Nino’s homie has got the Youngsta Mafia going insane. His name was tagged on the wall. Nino has to catch that person off guard (slippin’). Nino squeezes the trigger of his Mac-10 and screams, “Die bitch!” What Nino did was plant some dope into that person’s pocket to make the murder look drug related. That person he killed was a player hater.

Be True is about being true to yourself and staying true to the game. Not faking or fronting. Or faking the funk. You have to be true to every thing you. DJ Snake produced Be True.

You have to be true to every thing you. Because if you don’t all of your fuck ups and mistakes will come back to you. Those mistakes will come back and hurt you. You have to be true when you gang bang. Never let another motherfucker slang drugs where you slang or sell drugs. You have to be true putting these bitches in check while being a pimp. Be true to this shit like John Gotti.

If you don’t believe Nino, then you better ask somebody. You have to be true even when you’re smoking weed. Drop the Zig Zags and grab a Swisher Sweet. Fuck the gin and juice. It’s about the Courvoisier. That’s the high way. You have to be true when committing a murder. You have to be true when in jack mode. So don’t get caught slippin’. True is the way to be.

My Brothas Keepa is the mellow smooth settling but mysterious laid back closer for the album. Those eerie G-Funk synths and dark ethereal pads give the closer that mysterious laid back sound and vibe. These a sense of dark gloominess yet at the same time there is a ray of hope and brightness. There is a balance of darkness and brightness in terms of sound and style. The sense of mellowness helps this song stand out. DJ Snake produced My Brothas Keepa.

I rate this album 5/5*****!!

About Post Author

mixerrreviewsatxn

Content curator, narrator, and writer for Bout Dat Online. Mixerr Reviews is a news blog from Austin, Texas, US which examines news, nature, business, history, and music. #MixerrReviews #MixerrReviewsBlogspotATXN
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