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how the bronx was won

February 10, 2011


The traditional whitebread Western is antithetical to hip-hop, but the spaghetti Western intersects in a bunch of ways--the general badassery, stone-cold antiheroes, grimy rough operas, strict codes of honor, a heartless, lawless landscape, and of course Italian guys pretending to be Mexicans vs. Black guys pretending to be Italians.

And of course the gunplay.  Always the gun clappin'. Spaghetti Westerns, like most hip-hop, are pretty much about guys shooting each other over money or disses.

If the action in spaghetti Westerns is the lyrics, Ennio Morricone's operatic, mournful scores are the beats--counterpoint and juxtaposed to the cowboy/b-boy attitude. Think about Mobb Deep's beats; underneath the nihilistic braggadocio is the same sadness.

They're both stylized forms loaded down with rich imagery and violent, iconic signifiers, like Noh plays, because they don't play.  If you think about it, all's the same with hip-hop's other richly tapped vein, kung-fu flicks.

On the other hand, when hip-hop tries to make actual Westerns, it turns out like Posse, or this, or God help us, this.

So saddle up, motherfuckers.  It's the spaghetti Western mixtape.

The Good, The Bad & The Intro / Draw - EPMD / Hang 'Em High - Sadat X / Black Tequila - Ghostface Killah (feat. Cappadona & Trife) / Tequila Sunrise - Cypress Hill / 1-2, Here's What We Gonna Do - KRS-One & True Master (feat. The RZA) / For A Few Dollars More - Morricone, Material / Chamber of Fear - The RZA (feat. Rev. William Burke) / Some Crazy Flamenco Shit - DJ Shadow & Cut Chemist / Dump The Clip - Army of the Pharoahs (Planetary, Esoteric & Celph Titled) / Apache - Incredible Bongo Band (cuts by Grandmaster Flash) / How The Bronx Was Won - B.D.P. vs. Santa Esmeralda / The Ecstasy Of One Mic (DJ Erb Mix) - Nas / Land of the Gun - Immortal Technique & Breez Evahflowin / Raw Is War - Jedi Mind Tricks / The End Intro - Alien Army / Bodyguard - Scotty Hard / Front Page - Compton's Most Wanted / Cry Freedom - General Steele (feat. dead prez) / Beneath The Surface (Inna Blends mix) - GZA / Joany Loves Stringy - Animal Crackers / There It Is - Just-Ice & KRS-One / Blue Leaves Showdown - EarDrumz / Wild Wild West - Kool Moe Dee