This week, we’re showing love to the West Coast with killer, somewhat underrated Afro Puffs, the 1994 single from The Lady of Rage.
To establish something from the get-go, we’re not talking about the *weak* mix that you’d find in the music video for this banger — lack of bass, lack of funk, lack of good. Fortunately, you’ll find the LP version to just as rough and stuff as you could hope for. Between the slamming drums, booming low-end and wailing drone, you’d be hard-pressed to find another song as quintessentially G-Funk as this one, with Dre’s production having an influx of grimy sheen left over from the impeccable-sounding Doggystyle, which came out only a few months prior. Building on top of the menacing groove that keeps everything grounded, Dre also saw it fit to add a variety of cartoon “boOOOOOp”s and clanging percussion in the background, like you’re stuck in an episode of Compton Looney Tunes.
Over this, you’re likely to be ruthlessly battered by The Lady of Rage, an MC who, despite not having the strongest overall discography, is known to have one of the illest flows in the West Coast of the time. Much like Snoop Doggy Dogg, who makes a couple of obligatory appearances throughout, her flowing is smooth and immaculate, in stark contrast to her hardcore, punchy delivery and gritty lyricism. Over three verses, it’s just showstopping quotable after another (The tongue that has outdone anyone from the rising to the setting of the sun, anyone?), as Rage backs up her braggadocio with lyrics that you just can’t argue with. Despite the vast underestimating of female MCs at the time (even Queen Latifah couldn’t smack the fellas out of that one), everything about Afro Puffs demands respect, while The Lady of Rage, on this track especially, remains one of the most authorative MCs comparable to Ice Cube and Chuck D.