The Geto Boys are among the most important acts to emerge out of the South. At a time when so much of hip-hop’s national visibility centered New York and L.A., the Dirty South started gaining more notoriety with the rise of the seminal group. Hailing from Houston, the group was originally comprised of founding members Raheem, The Sire Jukebox, and Sir Rap-A-Lot, but Raheem and Sir Rap-A-Lot would leave the group and be replaced by DJ Ready Red, Prince Johnny C, and Little Billy (who would eventually become known as Bushwick Bill) before releasing the debut album, Making Trouble, in 1988.
After the album failed to live up to expectations, that incarnation of the Geto Boys would break up and Willie D and Scarface would join the fold in time for their seminal 1989 release, Grip It! On That Other Level. That sophomore effort would be followed by a eponymous album in 1990, which was met with controversy after Geffen refused to distribute the album, citing its violent and obscene lyrics as reasons for the decision. While the album was a success, it fueled the creative process and sentiment behind their third studio album, We Can’t Be Stopped, which was released in July of 1991.
The album was the first released after the departure of DJ Ready Red, who left during the recording of the album, but the album sacrificed nothing in terms of quality, with it being hailed as their most cohesive album, as well as it becoming their most successful, reaching platinum status by early 1992. In addition to the music, We Can’t Be Stopped is also known for its iconic album cover, which was taken after Bushwick Bill was shot in the eye during a tussle over a gun with his girlfriend, and remains an indelible image in the minds of rap fans.
In celebration of the 25th anniversary of this classic, we highlighted the five best songs from We Can’t Be Stopped.
“I’m Not a Gentleman”
The Geto Boys take umbrage with Queen Latifah’s single, “Ladies First,” which promotes equality for women, and respond on “I’m Not A Gentleman,” which sees the crew denouncing all acts of chivalry. Rhyming “bitches act like they handicapped/ Want me to open up doors, pull up chairs and all that,” Scarface gives it to the women raw and is unapologetic on this scathing number.
“Yo fame, I give a fuck about a goddamn Grammy, but them motherfucker hoes won’t hand me one,” barks Willie D on “Trophy,” one of the more refined selections on We Can’t Be Stopped. Featuring samples of “The Grunt Pts. 1 & 2″ by Fred Wesley & The JBs and “Soul Makossa” by Manu Dibango, the track is one of the more lively affairs you’ll come across on this LP and will prompt you to get your feet tapping before song’s end.
“Gota Let Your Nuts Hang”
We Can’t Be Stopped gets infused with a little hardcore on the rugged “Gota Let Your Nuts Hang,” which sees the Houston trio delivering some of the more potent displays of lyricism on the album. Touching on crooked police and the drug trade, Scarface references the scandal surrounding Marion Barry, the mayor of Washington D.C. at the time, while critiquing the War on Drugs that the nation was embroiled in at the time. From out of town trips and importing cocaine from remote islands, the Geto Boys deliver a tune catered to those willing to go to the brink to make a profit in the dope game.
One of the more enticing offerings on We Can’t Be Stopped is “Quickie,” which sees Scarface, Willie D, and Bushwick Bill pining for a little tender love and care, albeit without the affection. Powered by a sample of “Oh Honey” by The Delegation, “Quickie” wins with its storytelling and humorous vibe, making it an entertaining listen that stands heads and above much of the material featured on the LP.
“Mind Playin Tricks On Me”
For most casual fans, “Mind Playing Tricks On Me” is by far the most memorable song by the Geto Boys and is considered an undisputed rap classic. Employing an eerie beat, built from a sample of “Hung Up On My Baby” by Isaac Hayes, the trio reveal their darkest thoughts on what was the lead-single released from We Can’t Be Stopped, and with the track peaking at No. 23 on the Hot 100, scored the biggest hit of their career for their efforts. A staple during Halloween, “Mind Playing Tricks On Me” remains one of the greatest songs in hip-hop history and ensure the Geto Boys’ immortality in the annals of rap lore.