Damn It Feels Good to Be a Gangsta

Album: Uncut Dope (1992)
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Songfacts®:

  • In this song, Geto Boys explain what means to be a true gangsta. Unlike the wannabes who are always talking themselves up and showing off their cash and jewelry, real gangstas keep it low-key and do very little talking, according to their handbook.

    Geto Boys are from the Fifth Ward of Houston, a poor and crime-ridden area where they learned their street smarts. But unlike acts like N.W.A. and Tupac, which were always making big boasts about their exploits, Geto Boys had a laid-back style that was very dark - more resignation than anger. Instead of trying to fight the power, they lived with it, but made sure they got theirs.

    "Damn It Feels Good To Be A Gangsta" comes from this unique perspective. Released around the same time Dr. Dre dropped The Chronic in 1992, it didn't go mainstream like many other gangsta rap songs, but it holds up as a classic of the genre. If Dr. Dre was Avon Barksdale in The Wire, Geto Boys were Omar Little, hidden from sight except when they decided to rob.
  • This song makes the case that gangstas come in all shapes and colors, and the biggest gangsta of them all is President George H. W. Bush, who took office earlier in 1992. In the last verse, James Prince, head of Geto Boys' label Rap-A-Lot, drops a verse in character as Bush, explaining how he's channeling drugs to poor communities and sending troops off to war in Iraq to settle a beef - now that's gangsta.
  • After releasing their second album in 1989, Geto Boys signed to Rick Rubin's Def American Recordings, distributed by Geffen. When they delivered their first album on the label, The Geto Boys, Geffen wouldn't release it, concerned because of the violent and sometimes sadistic lyrics. They ended up going back to their original label, Rap-A-Lot. Buoyed by the controversy, their next album, We Can't Be Stopped in 1991, went Platinum. "Damn It Feels Good To Be A Gangsta" was one of two new songs on their 1992 compilation Uncut Dope.
  • This was featured in the 1999 movie Office Space, used in a scene where the main character Peter (Ron Livingston) willfully and flagrantly breaches office etiquette by parking in the boss' spot, putting fish guts on this TPS reports, and dismantling his cubicle. The movie grew a cult following that introduced many new listeners to this song, which was released as a promotional single with various mixes to coincide with the film.
  • Writing credits on this song go to group member Scarface, label boss James Prince, and producer John Bido. The track samples the drums from "A Funky Song" by Ripple (1973), but the rest of it is original. Scarface does the first and third verses, with Bushwick Bill taking verse two. Bill, who had dwarfism, died in 2019 at 52.
  • The white country singer Carter Falco covered this song in 2006, substituting "player" for "ni--a."

Comments: 2

  • Security 22 from HoustonName and what happened to pretty black model in the song damm, it feels good to be a gangster movie?
  • Astrodome80 from Houston AreaOne of my favorite jams back in high school. Still one of my all time favorites almost 30 years later.
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