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Published on January 15th, 1998 | by Gerry Galipault

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5th Ward Boyz and the ‘Usual Suspects’

It’s easy to get lost in the crowded rap field. The 5th Ward Boyz, the gangsta poets of Houston, hope to find their way out.

The trio’s fourth album, “Usual Suspects,” was released in November (on Noo Trybe/Virgin), and despite a spirited duet with Mr. Scarface on the first single, “I Know” (which sampled Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine” and Marvin Gaye’s “Trouble Man”), the album didn’t fare well. Now, Noo Trybe is giving it a new push, banking on the follow-up track, “Somethin’ To Ride Too.”

“It is hard to get noticed; everybody can’t be heard,” said E-Rock, who teamed with 007 and Lo Life in 1992. “It’s who you know and how you do it and when to do it, being in the right place at the right time. You gotta make noise; you gotta kick up dust and do whatever it takes to get all eyes on you.”

The main thing, Lo Life said recently, is getting people to think of them beyond their namesake, the Fifth Ward, one of the nation’s most violent neighborhoods.

“We want people to know the 5th Ward Boyz are worldwide,” Lo Life said. “We just don’t want to be considered that the 5th Ward Boyz represent only the 5th Ward. We get out all over the world. We have fans in Japan and Germany.”

“A lot of people hear the words and the vibe and they think we’re something else,” 007 said, “but on our album, we talk about lots of different things, not just the 5th Ward. We talk about real issues, what’s really happening and some things that rappers don’t really talk about, things that need to be said, a lot of songs that need to be heard in these times.”

“Usual Suspects” is streetwise, a product of the 5th Ward Boyz’s environment.

“Nothing has changed in the Fifth Ward,” E-Rock said. “There’s hookers, pimps and players. We’ve got positive people in the ‘hood, but no matter where you go, you’re going to see problems. We’re hoping for a lot of things, not just in the ‘hood, other places around, that things will turn for the better.”

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Gerry Galipault debuted Pause & Play online in October 1997. Since then, it has become the definitive place for CD-release dates — with a worldwide audience.



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