Whenever I’ve asked Huntsville rappers about their local and regional influences, P.O.P.E.’s name inevitably came up, sometimes even alongside legends like Pimp C. Keep that in mind as you listen to Giraffo’s excellent mix and read the accompanying write-up.
Surpassing Big P.O.P.E. would be exceedingly difficult. In addition to being the Pope, the man also goes by the Supa King and the Prince of Pushing Everything. No less. For a long time P.O.P.E. was also known as the secret weapon of Slow Motion Soundz. Ever since he first emerged on the Huntsville scene as one half of the duo South P.A.W., P.O.P.E. was the go-to guy for genius hooks and scene-stealing verses. His sneering delivery and undulating flow could tackle tough guy boasting, comical excursions and intimate confessions alike. Just a few years ago I would have given him the tip as Huntsville’s first potential breakout artist. A wild man with a sense of humor and a boatload of integrity, P.O.P.E. had it.
But just as the scene seemed to be on the verge of popping off with Jackie Chain’s Rollin becoming a minor hit, a huge feature on The PRGz in TheFADER and some national attention, P.O.P.E. had to go to jail. When he disappeared, It was as if the center gave way and everything sort of disintegrated. The PRGz went to Atlanta, Mali Boi stopped rapping (and singing!), and G-Side went left, rebuilding the SMS brand almost from the ground up. Whenever P.O.P.E. got out of jail, however briefly, he would pop up on some great song, forcefully reminding one of the secret dialectic between the earthy and countrified on the one hand and the spaced out and transcendent on the other that had always defined the Huntsville sound. But unfortunately P.O.P.E. went back into jail fast, and he has stayed there for a long time now. It is P.O.P.E. who sings “I got a jones in my bones for the streets” on G-Side’s “Jones” off Cohesive, and P.O.P.E. always knows what he’s talking about.
A few weeks ago, however, word got to us that Big P.O.P.E. is finally a free man again. We’re expecting great things for the future and celebrate his release with this collection of Huntsville classics, all blessed by the P.O.P.E. May his reign be long!
01 – Bama Gettin’ Money feat. Kristmas & Mali Boi
02 – Suffocation feat. Mr. Big Boi Talk
03 – Keep Up feat. Mr. Cooley
04 – Dirty Dub feat. Mic Strange & Sabastian Cayne
05 – Dope House feat. Sabastian Cayne
06 – Gz Up Remix feat. G-Side & Mr. Marcellus
07 – Pray feat. ST 2 Lettaz & Mali Boi
08 – Bubble or Box feat. Chico, Dawgy Baggz, Technique, Jhi-Ali & B. Dewitt
09 – Still Smokin’ ft. Mali Boi & Dawgy Baggz
10 – All I Know
11 – Doin My Dirt feat. G-Side & CP
12 – Big Bodies Big Wheels feat. Mata & Jhi-Ali
13 – Yean Movin Dat Shit feat. Mata & Gunt
14 – Money Hogg feat. J-Sib, Mali Boi & Sabastian Cayne
15 – Realism
Big P.O.P.E. – Blessed by the P.O.P.E Vol. 1 – Mixed by Giraffo by Giraffo