DB Tha General-I Should’ve Been Signed review
It makes sense to get the negative stuff out of the way first when dealing with a mixtape like I Should’ve Been Signed. If its master of ceremonies DB Tha General was getting paid per B word and N word this project would be very lucrative. Sometimes the giddy overabundance of these terms weights the project down. You will gain nothing personally or philosophically from the song P#$%^ N#&&@s. Second point, no mixtape has ever needed to be twenty five tracks long. It’s a massive tape but that’s kind of its point.
Before you think I’m launching into a think piece about this tape, look up the cover. Its DB’s head photo shopped onto the Incredible Hulk(yes made green) with a raiders hat on top. While the mixtape is overstuffed with content, a lot of which could be edited out, a bay area release should be judged not by what it didn’t do but how much it accomplished. The bay is known for deep tracklists with a dizzying array of guests. For every track you would have cut out you will find DB spitting his feverishly hyphy B-Real toned delivery over something you can’t live without. Red Cups is the height of that finger snap sound; I think I listened to Heart of The Streets three times in a row yesterday.
DB approaches these tracks so enthusiastically he makes Cousin Fik seem calm. I guarantee you part way through his first verse on the tracks opener, David Banner, you will think he’s a bit cartoonish. By the reverberating autotuned chorus of Believe Me you’ll begin to understand. Not one track on I Should’ve Been Signed feels like something to fill out the track listing. He charges forward through every verse and never loses your attention. Same Ol’ Sh#t is classic west coast riding music and City of Game is big, silly and fantastic.
When asked about the Hulk cover DB said “Everybody keeps asking, Why the Hulk? The Hulk is a metaphor for whatever don’t kill you, makes you stronger. Because he can’t die, he just gets madder and the madder he gets the bigger and stronger he gets.” None of the tracks die either. Even though Ghetto Boy centers around that same sample going all the way back to the Chronic he turns it into the tapes emotional centerpiece “Let me tell you how it started broken home a broken heart, can’t see the light trapped in the dark. Mama sold him for a nickel bag no shoes no clothes…” In the world of DB Ghetto Boy feels just as important as the snapping and slapping paranoia of The Gang. He’s smart enough to understand that tempo switching diversifies the listening experience, which is why songs like Ghetto Boy and Play hold critical spots on the tape.
I’m not sure who produced it but the production does a great job of bouncing in an eerie way while DB mixes his brags and threats in a well constructed East Oakland stew. The guests (Shmop Life, Lefty, Husalah, Ace, Kurt Diggler, Beeda Weeda and many more silly bay area names) do a great job(especially Lefty) but who wouldn’t on a DB Tha General track? Every beat is muscular and his flow is as engaged and excited as a college crowd with painted faces at a sweet sixteen game. Between I Should’ve Been Signed and Iamsu/Problems Million Dollar Afro 2013 has already been a great year for silly bay area slap…and E-40 hasn’t even dropped yet. If you see my head bobbing and my facial expression is ridiculous, you can assume this DB Tha General tape is what I’m listening too.
Stream or download I Should’ve Been Signed below: