Esham – Dead Flowerz (1996)

Dead Flowerz is probably my second favourite release behind Closed Casket (a close tie with KKKill The Fetus), which deals less with fantasy realms and rapping about the devil and focuses on the life of an inner city black man in the 90s, played up entirely with the excesses and absurdity of E’s “wicket shit” acid rap style. Drugs, guns and XXX girls is the order of the day, and whilst that might sound somewhat tedious, Esham’s flow, whilst not the most inventive, is positively infectious, matching the cheap 90s analogue vibes perfectly. If Poot Carr from The Wire recorded a rap record, I would expect it to sound like Dead Flowerz.

Boasting a stunning production, which is a bit cleaner than previous records but still has that stank-ass bass and the distorted kicks. Stand out dimes include the opener “What”, which follows perfectly into the legendary “You Better Ask Somebody”. “Kill Or Be Killed”, “Foodstamp”, “Fried Chicken” and “Trick Wit Me” are all further examples of Esham’s porno-drenched murdah style (maybe not as OTT as Necro’s The Sexorcist but it is easy to make comparisons here). “Charlie Manson” is probably my favourite track, with the bass synth being one of the most stinking things I’ve ever come across in my entire life.

It wasn’t until a recent re-listen that I caught the bit about him smoking “dead flowers” that I realized what the title could mean. Very clever, Mr. Esham.

PS – Try the LIW / Esham Dead Flowerz drinking game: every time he mentions or rhymes the phrase “drug related” you better take a swig.