APACHE, RIP


Apache: Gangsta Bitch
From Apache Ain’t Shit (Tommy Boy, 1992)

This one bums me out.

Apache may not have been a major rapper – his career came and went within a few short years in the early/mid-90s – but if he’s destined to be known as a one-hit wonder, I’d argue that “Gangsta Bitch” was one of the more influential of its era. Lyrically, the song roiled many, not the least of which was putting the word “bitch” out so prominently and, if I recall, it fed into concerns (read: paranoia) about girl violence in that era; Apache was accused of encouraging female delinquency and violence, blah blah blah. From what I can remember, while there were certainly female rappers boasting about their bad ass-ness (B.O.S.S. anyone?), Apache was one of the first male rappers I could remember, besides perhaps Ice Cube, to pen an anthem to hip-hop’s gangstresses. Biggie hadn’t come out with “Me and My Bitch” yet, let alone the Lox’s Ride or Die Bitch” or any of the subsequent songs you can think of. So there’s that.

But for me, Apache’s verses weren’t nearly as memorable as the beat – put together by Q-TIp in one of the first non-Tribe tracks I ever remember Tip’s credit appearing on (this was before he gave tracks to Mobb Deep or Nas) and it was a beauty – total classic of its era. The drums come from Lonnie Smith’s excellent soul-jazz-organ-puffer “Spinning Wheel” and four bars in, Tip hits you with a loop lifted from Monty Alexander’s “Love and Happiness.”

Butter.

This track stays as one of my all time favorites and that’s kept Apache alive in my memory for all these years. I suppose it’s what will continue to even after his death.

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