Gangsters & Pranksters III, Part 1

Year: 2021
Original Format: mp3

The third installment of anything is usually the mistake. Godfather III, Alien 3, whatever that third Matrix movie was… and don’t get me started on Return of the Jedi.

It is with full knowledge of this that I’m plowing ahead with a third round of Gangsters & Pranksters. In the 17 years since the last one a lot of good material has piled up, including older stuff I didn’t know about or didn’t properly appreciate at the time. I like the way this one sounds; see if you agree.

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Gangsters & Pranksters II, Part 4

“Imagine a person, tall, lean and feline, high-shouldered, with a brow like Shakespeare and a face like Satan… one giant intellect, with all the resources of science past and present…. Imagine that awful being, and you have a mental picture of Dr. Fu-Manchu.” —The Insidious Dr. Fu-Manchu

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Gangsters & Pranksters II, Part 3

Year: 2004
Original Format: CD

In this episode: Burroughs calls the law. Our hero does some time, is released, discovers that his woman has been sleeping with his best friend, and takes revenge; takes some time to reevaluate his priorities; and re-emerges with a new mission: to teach all the fakers and perpetrators a lesson they won’t soon forget.

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Gangsters & Pranksters II, Part 1

Year: 2004
Original Format: CD

As usually happens, as soon as I finished the original Gangsters & Pranksters, I started coming across more songs that fit the theme. A sequel was inevitable, and finally materialized in 2004 in the form of two jam-packed CDs.

When I switched from cassettes to CDs I continued my policy of using every bit of available bandwidth — which makes sound economic sense. But it is obvious now that 80 minutes of music at a time is just too much. So I am dividing the two discs of G&PII into four installments of ~40 minutes each, which is a little more reasonable.

Having decided that the first edition was light on hip-hop, I leaned into the gangsta rap on this one. Maybe a little too much; the n-word appears on it much more than on anything else I’ve ever made, and the b-word too, for that matter. But that’s what can happen when you keep it real.

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Gangsters & Pranksters, Side B

Year: 1996
Original Format: cassette

This one has some trace of a narrative arc: Our hero tries to go straight, but is betrayed and pulled back into the criminal life; some scores are made and adventures had; but in the end the outlaw must die — because how else will we learn our lesson?

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Gangsters & Pranksters, Side A

Year: 1996
Original Format: cassette

These were the days of elaborate mixtape packaging. For this one I went so far as to commission custom artwork for the cover (which meant I asked my friend James to do a painting — isn’t it great?). The liner notes were folded up and slid into a little envelope glued to the inside cover, and looked like this:

I suppose some of that time could have been used to, like, start a career or something. But on the whole, no regrets.

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