On this day in music history: July 9, 1991 – “We Can’t Be Stopped” the third album by Geto Boys is released. Produced by Bushwick Bill, James Smith, John Bido, Johnny C., Roland, Scarface, Simon and Willie D, it is recorded at Rap-A-Lot Studio in Houston, TX in Mid 1991. Having sparked a virtual firestorm of controversy over their self-titled 1990 album, The Geto Boys’ label Rap-A-Lot Records returns to being an independently distributed entity. The group return to the studio, quickly writing and recording a new album in just a few short weeks. After it’s completed, founding member DJ Ready Red leaves the group. The DJ departs the Geto Boys, amidst tension with the other group members as well as feeling uncomfortable with the graphic and misogynistic nature of their music. Before the completed album is released, one of the other members nearly meets his maker. Stuggling with alcohol and substance abuse as well as depression, rapper Bushwick Bill asks his girlfriend to kill him with his own gun. Extremely inebriated on the potent liquor Everclear, orders her to take his life. Refusing to do so, Bill’s girlfriend attempts to take the gun away from him. In the tussle to get the weapon away from him, the gun goes off, hitting the rapper in his right eye. Rushed to the hospital, the injury from the gun shot wound makes it necessary for his eye to be removed. The bullet is lodged in his brain and cannot be removed, in order to avoid further injury or death. Scarface, Willie D. and their management team, rush to the hospital to see about Bill. Their managers take Bill out of his hospital room on a gurney, and ask the other two take a picture with him. Having him remove his eyepatch and intravenous drip from his injured eye, results in the graphic cover shots used for the Geto Boys new album. The group later express regret over the pictures, feeling it was exploiting a tragic event in order to sell records. However, album proves to be strong enough on its own merits. The first single “Mind Playing Tricks On Me” (#10 R&B, #23 Pop, #1 Rap) becomes an instant classic. Featuring a sample of Isaac Hayes’ “Hung Up On My Baby” (from the “Tough Guys” soundtrack), the song represents a major departure from the Geto Boys previous work. The song was originally intended for Scarface’s first solo album, but is kept for the group instead. The lyrics mediate on images of fear and paranoia, in part being inspired by Scarface’s own struggles with mental illness, and wanting to escape the streets. The single is accompanied by a music video that also propels it up the charts. Receiving major play on MTV, “Mind Playing Tricks On Me” earn the group crossover radio play, and give them their biggest hit. Regarded as one of the best singles of the 90’s, “Mind” propels “We Can’t Be Stopped” pass the Platinum mark in sales in the US, with the single itself selling nearly a million copies. The song is later featured on the video game “Grand Theft Auto V”, and on the Netflix series “Maniac”. The album spins off one further single with “I Ain’t With Being Broke” in early 1992. “We Can’t Be Stopped” peaks at number five on the Billboard R&B album chart, number twenty four on the Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
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