Section 1 -- One
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HardC.O.R.E. Vol. 2, Issue 2 12/10/93
The electronic magazine of hip-hop music and culture
Brought to you as a service of the Committee of Rap Excellence
Table of Contents
Section Contents Author
---- -------- ------
001 The introduction
A Da 411 - table of contents
B Da 411 - HardC.O.R.E.
002 What's Up in Hip-Hop
A Review - Snoop Doggy Dogg email@example.com
B Article - Hip-Hop Down Under firstname.lastname@example.org
C Article - The Atlanta Scene email@example.com
D Article - Souls/Tribe/De La firstname.lastname@example.org
E Article - ..tha Old School email@example.com
F Article - G. Melle Mel firstname.lastname@example.org
G Da 411 - N.J.H.H.A. part 1 email@example.com
H Da 411 - N.J.H.H.A. part 2 firstname.lastname@example.org
I Article - Dr. Dre email@example.com
J Article - pH Rate It! firstname.lastname@example.org
K Review - A.T.C.Q. email@example.com
003 Live for You pHunky Reviews
A Article - HardCORE pH scale firstname.lastname@example.org
B Review - Pudgee, Shaquille U14864@uicvm.uic.edu
C Review - Wu-Tang Clan email@example.com
D Review - Ice Cube firstname.lastname@example.org
E Review - Havoc & Prodeje email@example.com
F Review - Patra firstname.lastname@example.org
G Review - SnoMan email@example.com
H Review - S.S.w.L. firstname.lastname@example.org
I Review - Lyrical Prophets email@example.com
Lyrical Prophets firstname.lastname@example.org
J Review - New Kingdom email@example.com
K Review - Das EFX firstname.lastname@example.org
The C.O.R.E. creed
We at C.O.R.E. support underground hip-hop (none of that crossover
bullshucks). That means we also support the 1st Amendment and the
right to uncensored music.
The C.O.R.E. anthems
We In There (remix) Boogie Down Productions
Feel the Vibe, Feel the Beat Boogie Down Productions
True to the Game Ice Cube
Straighten It Out Pete Rock and CL Smooth
It's Not a Game Pete Rock and CL Smooth
Brothers Gotta Work It Out Public Enemy
Hardcore Tim Dog
In the Trunk Too $hort
Remember Where You Came From Whodini
"We'll be in the cornfield, killing your bitch ass" - Joe Synyster
"I got more rhymes than Madonna gets dick" - KRS-One
Asalaam alaikum from Flash
Section 2 -- Two
Charles L Isbell
So, I guess the *question* is: is this _The Chronic II_ or was _The
Chronic_ actually _Doggy Style 0_?
This time: _Doggy Style_ by Snoop Doggy Dog
Next time: _Black Business_ by Poor Righteous Teachers
_Tricks of The Shade_ by The Goats (will it happen?)
Catch Ups: _Be Bop or Be Dead_ by Umar Bin Hassan
Distinctiveness: Snoop has a very Snoop style of delivery but
we've heard at least some of the muzak (and the
subject matter) before.
Dopeness Rating: Depends on whether you got caught up in the hype or
not. If you did, you're going to find this pretty
weak, at least for a while. If you didn't and
avoided too much of _The Chronic_ then you'll find it
pretty Phat. I'm going to call it uneven and split
it down the middle.
As an isolated effort: half the time it's Phat, the
other half is more or less around Phat-.
In a Chronic Context: *Mostly* unoriginal. Phat-.
Rap Part: StyleOfSpeakPhat+. That's solid and I can't take it
away from him. Lyrically? Uneven, but still Phat.
Sounds: Nice but dammit, I didn't even buy Dre's CD and I've
already heard a lot of these sounds. That's annoying.
I'd've given it a solid Phat if it had preceeded _TC_.
But it didn't. Dre's a slammin' producer, but it's
time to move on to something new and grow a bit, I
Chronic Context: Unorginal. Phat-.
Predictions: No major damage done. His phans will still be
there and he'll get some singles out of it and some
MTV play. The Underground HipHop Nation will demand
a new direction for the next album, I suspect. I
know I will.
Of course, a lot of this depends on his current
legal troubles. If it goes the wrong way, all bets
Rotation Weight: Take _The Chronic_ weight and subtract a little less
Tracks: 19 @54:59
Label: Death Row
Producers: Dr Dre
Profanity: From beginning to end. B*tches, hos, motherf*ckers
and niggas abound. And I mean abound. B*tch,
b*tch, b*tch, hoe, beeeeeitch, nigga, b*tch.
Snoop's in a bind: he's been overhyped. _Doggy Style_ has been
delayed for about 23 years now and he's been featured in every Dr Dre
single released off _The Chronic_. Worse, he's got commercials
proclaiming his new album the most anticipated thing in rap history.
Stuff like that always does two things:
1) it sets up such ridiculously high expectations that *no* *one*
could live up to them. I mean, maybe _It Takes A Nation of Millions
To Hold Us Back_ could have stood up, but that's about it.
2) it pisses off the Underground. Sounds too commercial. Too... pop.
That's a big lose.
Anwyay, for those that can't even act like they know, Snoop made his
big-time debut on the single "Deep Cover" with Dr. Dre. He was so
hype, it was embarrassing. And Dre, being no fool, featured him all
over the place on *his* first post-N.W.A release _The Chronic_. With
Dre's PFunk producing style and Snoops LaidBackSingSongHighVoice
Delivery System(tm), Snoop managed to, uh, "help" Dre to a
He was famous. And everyone liked him.
But *then* his bodyguard shot someone and he was accused of involvment
in the alleged murder. Now he's on the cover of magazines like
Newsweek with cover blurbs like "When Is Rap Too Violent?". *And*
after he'd been hyped as the greatest thing to hit the world since PE
cereal, his promised album was getting later and later and later.
When the first single dropped, people started to complain that it
sounded just like "Dre Day" and "Nothing But A G Thang" and, well,
every other single on Dre's album. Phrases like "weak," "booty" and
"R&B singin' sh*t" were being used in the same sentences with his
So he's still famous. But does anyone still like him?
More importantly, is his CD any good?
We open with "Bathtub." This is roughly a two-minute introductory skit.
"Man, you want to get out the game?
Come on man...
You can... smoke a pound of bud every day...
Got a big screen TV
Man, you wanna give all this up?
You got the dopest sh*t out on the streets...
Nigga, you crazy?
That's the America Dream, nigga.
Well, ain't it?
Fool, you better come on in...."
Too good for one intro track, Snoop gives us "G Funk Intro."
"Yeah! This is another story about dogs
A dog that don't pee on trees is a b*tch
So says Snoop Dog
So get your pooper scooper 'cause the niggas talkin' sh*t"
It's got some lyrics and actually some really promising stuff from the
lady Rage kickin' her gangsta stuff. But the stuff lasts barely two
and a half minutes, and Snoop isn't even really a guest star.
"I rock rough and stuff
With my afro-puffs
Handcuffed as I bust
'Bout to tear sh*t up"
Hmmmm. Even though I'm beginning to think it ought to be against the
law for Dre to shamelessly lift this *particular* sample wholesale, it
still sounds good. And Rage comes off pretty well.
Anyway, "Gin and Juice" comes next. The first verse doesn't quite
sound right, but then Snoop gets his flow in stride and does a pretty
"As I breeze thru 2 in the mornin'
And the party's still jumpin'
'Cause my momma ain't home"
I got me some seagram's gin
Everybody got they cups
But they ain't chipped in
Now this type of sh*t
happens all the time
You gotta get yours
But fool I gotta get mine"
As the man says, the muzak is laid back. You end up noddin' along
with the beat whether you want to or not.
"80 degrees when I tell that b*tch please
Raise up off those n-u-tees
'Cause you get none of these"
"Don't get upset girl
That's just how it goes
I don't love you hoes
I'm out the do'"
Dammit, I'm singing along with the chorus....
"...with my mind on my money and my money on my mind..."
We get distracted by "W Balls," one incredibly silly and utterly
"If you're lickin', it's WBALLS"
Let's move on.
We're saved by "Tha Shiznit." It's just a bit too relaxed, but that's
"Yeah, I lay back, stay back in the cut
Niggas try to play the d-o-g like a mutt
I got a little message:
Don't try and see Snoop,
I'm finta f*ck a b*tch
What's her name? It's Luke
You tried to see me on the TV
You's a beegee
Yes, I'm an OG
You can't see my homie Dr Dre
So what the f*ck a nigga like you gotta say?"
This is plain and straightforward. No gimmicks. Just Snoop, some
lyrics, Dr Dre and some muzak. This is solid.
At this point, I must interrupt this review to point out something.
There are tracks here that get no mention on the songs list (and a
song on the list that has no track). It'd be okay, but it's
inconsistently done and that really annoys me. Furthermore, sometimes
guests are credited and sometimes they aren't. There is apparently no
rhyme or reason to this. Makes me think the whole thing was rushed.
That annoys me even more.
So after a half-minute untitled track, we get to Snoop's remake of
that utterly classic "La Di Da Di." Slick Rick was all that, y'all
and ya know that. Can't sleep on this one. Snoop decides to take the
chance and does a remake with slight updates here and there. And
amazingly, it works pretty damn well. I was amazed anyway.
"Gotta say what's up to my nigga, Slick Rick!"
"Now I'm fresh, dressed like a million bucks
Threw on my white socks with my all-blue Chucks
Stepped out the house, stopped short, 'Oh No!'
I went back in, I forgot my indo"
Nancy Fletcher sings better than Slick Rick, by the way.
"I tried to break it up
I said, 'Stop it! Just leave her!'
She said, 'If I can't smoke none,
she can't either'
She grabbed me closely by my socks
So I broke the hell out
And I grabbed my sack of rocks"
I dunno. "La Di Da Di" was always one of my favorite old-school jams.
It's nice to hear it again. Say, this isn't a first, is it? Surely
some rapper has covered some other rapper on record? This can't be
the first remake....
[email@example.com (Jason Black) has since notified me of an MC
Lyte remake of Spoonie G's "Take It Off!"]
After "Lodo Dodi," we're treated to some nice beats with "Murder Was
the Case (DeathAfterVisualizingEternity)." This track features Dat
Nigga Daz. Our hero is shot and makes a deal with, uh, *somebody* to
make it back to life.
"Bring your lifestyle to me, I'll make it better
(How long will I live?)
Eternal life and forever
(And will I be the G that I was?)
I'll make your life better than you can imagine or even dreamed of
So relax your soul, let me take control
Close your eyes my son
(My eyes are closed)"
Okay, so it actually sounds good. I like it.
"Just remember who changed your mind
'Cause when you start set trippin'
That ass is mine"
On the other hand, I'm not quite sure I get all of it. Like this
whole transition from living large to not doesn't quite make sense to
"Late night I hear toothbrushes scrappin' on the floor
Niggas gettin' they shanks just in case the war
Pop's off 'cause you can tell what's next
My little homey Baby Boo took a pencil in his neck
And he probably won't make it to see twenty two
I put that on my momma
Imma ride for you Baby Boo"
Whatever. It sounds nice anyway.
So that brings us to "Serial Killa," one of those posse cuts full of
second stringers I usually hate. This one features, or so it says,
D.O.C., RBX and The Dogg Pound.
"Ain't no clue on why the f*ck we do what we do
Leave you in a state of paranoia
Don't make a move for your gat so soon
'Cause I drops bombs like Platoon"
This one actually manages to sound pretty good. It's one of the
harder things on the album and is a pretty different offering, the
intro whine notwithstanding. One of the guests even manages to sound
like Ice Cube.
That brings us to the first release off the _Doggy Style_ album: "Who
Am I (What's My Name)?" Hmmmmm, it actually does flow better with the
"Went solo on that ass
But it's still the same"
Look, Ma, it's *irony*.
"It's the bow to the wow
Creepin' and crawlin'
Yiggy yes Y'allin'
Snoop Doggy Dogg in
The motherf*ckin' house
Like every day
Droppin' sh*t with my nigga
Mister Dr. Dre"
There's a lot of singin' in this one and a lot more of his sing-songy
style... a bit more than average for the album.
"Roll up the dank
Roll up the dank And pour this drink
And watch your stank
(Why?) 'Cause Doggy's on the gank
My bank grows on swole
My sh*t's on hit legit
Now I'm on parole
With the Dogg Pound right behind me
And up in your b*tch is where you might find me"
Hmmmmm. I actually like this single except for that minute of singing
at the end. Nice flow. Nice, if uninspired, muzak.
With no pause we move into "For All My Niggaz & B*tches" (editing
mine). This is another one of those posse cuts. I don't particularly
like this one, though.
"You're headin' my way
Nigga you'd best to hit a u-turn quick
So what's happenin'?
I'm cappin' sh*t up like a western flick"
The flow just doesn't seem to jibe with the beat somehow. I can't
quite put my finger on it....
"That's why I can kick it so tough
'Cause when time gets rough, my
(Real niggas don't give a f*ck)
The clique that I'm with don't give a sh*t
You know why?
(Real niggas don't give a f*ck)"
Maybe I'll figure it out later. Anyway, we are reintroduced to WBALLS
with an incredibly silly and utterly unfunny R&B-ish intro to "Aint No
Fun (If The Homies Cant Have None)." Ugh.
"Well, if Corrupt gave a f*ck about a b*tch
I'd always be broke
I'd never have no motherf*ckin' indo to smoke"
So, really, what's the *point*?
And, to top it all off, the muzak doesn't slam (it had some promise
but gets wasted early on) and the lyrics don't flow. If you're going
to be foul and weak, the least you can do is *sound* half-way decent.
Anyway, there's a short untitled track between this one and "Doggy Dog
World." It's also pretty stupid.
"Doggy Dogg World" features the Dogg Pound (again) and the Dramatics.
Snoop's bit sounds pretty nice, but the rest is just kinda okay.
"You know some of these niggas is so deceptive
Usin' my styles like a contraceptive
I hope ya get burnt
Seems ya haven't learnt
It's the knick-knack patty whack
I still got the biggest sack
So put your gun away, runaway"
This is followed by another untitled track. It's kinda cute, this one.
"GZ And Hustlas" is a very nice change of pace. It sounds really good
and Snoop's stuff is on.
"Swing it back, bring it back
Just like this
And if ya with my sh*t
Then blaze up another spliff"
"If ya want some get some
Bad enough take some
But watch the gun by my side
Because it represents me
And the motherf*ckin' East Side"
Now, here we get another short track. Although we might conclude that
it's "Pump Pump" from the songs list, we'd probably be wrong. We'll
come back to this.
Anyway, "GZ Up, Hoes Down" follows. It's actually pretty short, too,
but at least it's a music track.
"You know how we do the undercover
I'm Snoop Doggy Dog,
Not your average motherf*cker"
So now we come to the last track. We're told it's "Tha Next Episode,"
featuring Dr. Dre. Nope. Consensus seems to be that it's really
"Pump Pump" even though it was supposed to be *before* "GZ Up, Hoes
"If it ain't one thing
It's a motherf*ckin' 'nother
Word to my granny
And my daddy and my mother"
This actually sounds pretty good. And the musak is at least
"I'm shakin' up the party
Like Lodi Dodi
Is he the dopest?
You'd better ask somebody"
Actually, it really *does* sound pretty good.
So, what of "Tha Next Episode" featuring Dr Dre? Best guess is that
it's a teaser for the next Dre album.
So that ends it.
Look. The scoop runs this way. Half of it is weak. The other half
is phat. It all sounds very familar, productionally. Still, the
style of speak is always flowin'. The lyrics usually work well. In
short, it's a bit uneven but when it's on, it's on.
Basically, if you can deal with the subject matter--which gets as
tasteless and juvenile as the cartoon insert--and you like that
laid-back Dre-style music flavor and that equally laid-back
Snoop-speak, you'll like most of this album. If you're tired of _The
Chronic_ and don't want _The Chronic Part II_ but with even *more*
Snoop, then punt. It's that simple.
Well, actually, it's not *that* simple. It's got a nice remake of "La
Di Da Di". That's worth almost half the price anyway. And most of
the stuff really is pretty good, especially the first half. And Snoop
does have naturally slammin' flow. And even if you can't tell from
the first few seconds which album you're on, the muzak is still
Those of you who are tired of the hype might just want to give it
another week or two. Rest. Buy other stuff. Make certain you're not
just recoiling from the hype. Then get a dub off someone in your
posse and give it a good listen again.
That's the best I can do for ya. Whoot. There it is.
But that's just one Black man's opinion--what's yours?
(c) Copyright 1993, Charles L Isbell, Jr.
HIP HOP DOWN UNDER
A Look at Rap Music in Australia
When most people think of music from Australia, they tend to
think of that old Men At Work song "Down Under," or maybe INXS or
Midnight Oil if they know who they are. Images of hip hop groups in
Australia will probably bring up horrid images of Crocodile Dundee
grabbing a mic and going out like M.C. Cowseller from those beer
If this is what you're expecting, prepare to be disappointed.
I got a chance to listen to some new rap groups from Down Under, and
from the sounds I heard, I could see a lot of the funk was not lost on
these artists. Here's a sample (didn't clear it, didn't care) of some
DEF WISH CAST - This is probably the hardest group of the ones
I heard. They consist of Die-C, Sir-Rek and D.J. Vame and Def Wish,
who does that quick ragamuffin chatting that would give Chip Fu, Tung
Twista and Daddy Freddy a run for their money. You can hear the
influence of Public Enemy in their tracks, with a lot of Bomb Squad-
like background noise and a lot of hard, pounding beats.
Unfortunately, you can't really decode just what Def Wish is
saying half of the time, which has been the beef with a lot of speed
rap artists, but that hasn't deterred Australian rap fans from buying
DWC's first EP, "Mad As A Hatter," which hit #1 on the Australian
charts. Their new album, "Knights of the Underground Table," dropped
late in September.
INTENSE QUALITY - They don't quite live up to their name, but
credit is due -- these guys aren't bad. Their production is very
straight forward (a loop, a beat, maybe a horn break here or there),
but it rarely misses the mark.
As for their voices, well ... they're Australian. Maybe too
Australian. Their accents are very pronounced over their rhymes,
almost as a reminder to where they come from for those who don't know.
The flow isn't too bad, though, and for a song like "Buckwild & Jerky"
you could imagine them doing the same on stage. Very solid material.
MAMA'S FUNK - This group is my favorite. They remind me off
some of that ol jazzy JBeez funk. Chief Funkstikool's lyrics are not
perfect, but still very smooth, and his voice is perfect for the
music, which is very jazzy and very well produced. One listen to
"Funkstikool's Theory" will have you snapping your fingers. Listening
to the B-Side Remix, "Not Just Funk's Theory," will have you bobbing
your head. It uses a familiar breakbeat that you might have heard on
KRS-One's "Mad Crew" and Masta Ace's "A Walk Through The Valley."
What made it reminiscient of the Jungle Brothers, though, is
the cut "Rosetta's Got A Friend," which is a story about Funkstikool
seeing a girl that he's just gotta meet. Yet though it's reminiscient
of tracks like "I'm Gonna Do You" and "Jimbrowski," Mama's Funk
injects their own smoothness into the cut, giving it its own unique
sound. If their lyrics improve any more (and they're already pretty
good), Mama's Funk could blow up Stateside before ya know it.
(Thanks to Tommy Boy, that just might happen -- Mama's Funk is
headlining a compilation album of international rap groups, which will
feature groups from 12 different countries around the globe. Watch
SOUND UNLIMITED - Where Mama's Funk had me bobbin' my head,
this crew had me shakin' it. This may be the biggest crew in
Australia, thanks to their deal with Columbia Records, but their sound
just had me wondering where they were headed -- a combination of Brand
New Heavies, Charlie Brown and Hammer, just without the funk.
Don't get me wrong. This group has its positives -- female
lead T-Na's singing voice is excellent, DJ Vlad could rock with the
best ("Vlad's Groove" is as good as or better than any DJ cut I've
ever heard), and all the M.C.'s have the tools to rhyme effectively,
but they just don't convert it, and it ends up sounding like hip pop
that at times grates on your ears. The fact that Flavor Flav had a
sound bite here ("That's right, boy, Sound Unlimited Posse in
effect") is certainly telling of their popularity, but their style
just didn't work. I wonder just how much their record deal had to do
with that, though.
FUNKY SEE FUNKY DOO - I only heard one song from this group,
but Van Damme, what a song!
Tom Servo would say of "Mind The Gap," the single I heard,
"You know, this is kind of like P.M. Dawn only it's ... not bad."
It's got that dark sort of European sound to it that marked another of
my favorite cuts, "Wishing On A Star" by Fresh 4, and the M.C. has
that low voice that sounds like Prince Be without the breathlessness,
but comparison's to that 300-pound gasbag end there. The bassline on
this jam is PHAT!!!! Add on a basic drumbeat and a dark organ or two,
and that makes it even better. Not to mention that when the female
vocalist steps in with her lyrics ("You know I can't get it out of my
head..."), it's over.
Yeah, this one may lean to the club side a little, but that
doesn't make it any less the jam. I know I'd get up and dance to it
if they played it. That bassline just might be jacked if they're not
It's been a little quiet around here lately. I think everybody
wants to just hibernate for the Holidays and just come back in January.
However, the show must go on.
Parental Advisory just dropped their debut album recently (their
current single is "Maniac" and they debuted with "Lifeline" from CB4) I
just saw it and I haven't heard the rest of it yet but I'm expecting good
stuff. Another recent LP from Atlanta is "View To A Kill" by Shadz of
Lingo. A lot of production is done by Erick Sermon among others
(Diamond, Dallas Austin, and more) I really don't like their first song
except for the Erick Sermon part, which is strange 'cuz I really don't
like Erick Sermon on the mic (or the mix for that matter), so I'll have to
see how this one goes. It has gotten good reviews from some people
(Havelock Nelson at Billboard in particular). Laface is gonna drop a
"real" Hip-Hop group called OutKast. Shanti from LaFace was supposed to
drop me some stuff on them so I could give them a shout here, but it
hasn't come yet so maybe next time. Their first single though is "Player's
Ball" and it's pretty good, I think that it could really make some noise
with West Coast fans.
Last week WRAS 88.5 FM had a special show on for the Hip-Hop heads.
It was hosted by Talib of "Tha Bomb" and "Rhythm and Vibes" (Hip-Hop radio
shows) and it was a tribute to Atlanta's local scene. Featured guests were
Old timers like MC Shy D ("Rap will Never Die" and "Shake it") and Raheem
the Dream ("Raheem the Dream" and "You ain't Know") as well as some of the
next school in Atlanta -- me, Martay and my man B-Right from Tribal
Science. East Coast Tribe was in full effect for the tribute. So I gotta
give thanks to Talib for havin' us on there and to everybody in Atlanta
that keeps our scene alive. Peace!
Speakin' of Talib Shabazz (above), his old partner from Tuff Ass
Team (way back) is now one of the rappers in Triflin' Pack. I saw the video
and thought it was kinda good. Yo! Bassheads beware! There are new albums
from MC Shy D, Kilo, and Raheem the Dream coming soon, if not already by
the time you read this.
The Treacherous Three are working on a reunion album here in
Atlanta. Easy Lee Productions is puttin' it together (Easy Lee is, of
course, Kool Moe Dee's old DJ) So what you know about Old School? You
might get a history lesson. However, I know that there are some problems
already with the project as not group members but posse members of group
members are doin' some damage (not on the mic) in local studios. I'll keep
Well that's about it for now. Told ya' its been slow. But I'll
probably have some good stuff by next issue, so don't sleep!
Article: Souls/De La/Tribe
Well, as some of y'all already know, I managed to catch this tour
Wednesday night in Lincoln, NE. Let me start out by saying that the show
was well worth the $17, but let me also add that it doesn't mean the show
First of all, the show was in a SMALL club named Rockin Robin's...
you could tell it was not a hip-hop nightspot. When the announcer said
"Are you all ready to rock and roll?", I yelled back, "FUCK NO! I'm ready
to B-Boy!!" but the rest of the crowd was cheering regardless. I must say
the crowd was well mixed -- it was about a 50-50 split for black and white,
and there were some FINE ladies in the house. Despite the fact that we were
tightly packed (it was without a doubt standing room only), people were
chillin. I only saw one or two fights, and nothing really got hurt except
some feelings -- just pushing and shoving.
We were all mad hyped to see Souls of Mischief, but they brought
out a local Lincoln crew named Basement Society. Despite 20 minutes of
mic checks the sound was still fucked up (this was a recurring problem
throughout the evening). They adjusted the sound during the set, and
eventually fixed the problem. The first track was something like "Boo-Yaa,
That's the Biscuit", and I had to laugh at the silly chorus. One guy in
the crew has some mad freestyle skills, but the rest of 'em were a waste
of time. Then this large but slightly slimmer than Heavy D brother comes
out and says, "This one is for all the blunt smokers in the house", and
proceeds to light up and smoke a big fat philly. Mad amounts of brothers
around me lit their joints and started passin it around, and I was startin
to feel a lil dizzy from all the indo smoke. This big guy stage starts
rappin, and he was pretty good, had some nice metaphors about being high
as an airplane and shit. Turns out he is also a member of the Basement
Society. Perhaps this crew might make noise if they got signed to a
Anyway, they rolled off the stage and we all gave em a round of
applause. Meanwhile, they proceed to do more mic checks (some of us in the
crowd really started hounding the guy, cause he stood there mumbling 'mic
check' for what seemed like forever). Domino, the DJ for Souls, was
having problems with the turntables, and it took another 20 minutes to fix
that. After about 45 minutes, they proceeded out on stage, with the usual,
"Are y'all ready to give it up?" shit. The crowd was a little pissed about
having to wait so long and the first response was lacking. So then one of
the members said "Y'all better give it up we came all the way from East
Oakland for this motherfucker." The crowd gave it up, but this pissed me
off. I'll give it up when you show and prove, I don't care if you came
from Planet 9. Prove you got skills live and then we'll see.
Unfortunately, they didn't show and prove a damn thing. Instead of
picking some of the best songs from the LP "Live and Let Live", "Tell Me
Who Profits", etc. they did some of my least faves "Never No More", etc.
They did come off nice on "Disseshowedo", and "93 Til Infinity", but the
one song that should have been the hypest was mad weak. "That's When Ya
Lost" was going way too slow, the MCs could not carry the flow with a
forklift, and it was straight up booty. When Souls left I was almost
pleased. Sorry guys, I like the LP, but your live performance is WEAK,
Now we had to endure another 40 minute wait, while they fucked
around with the sound system again. They left Salt N Pepa's "Blacks
Magic" boomin' on the sound system, and after a half hour I was getting mad
sick of it. Maseo saved the day though. He gets on the DJ mic and says,
"Yo, who the fuck is playing this shit?" and proceeded to mix it up LIVE!!
First he put on Jeru the Damaja's "Come Clean", then he diced it up
straight into Audio Two's "Top Billin" and from there into The Pharcyde's
"Passin Me By". It was DOPE!
Then he threw on the Intro to Buhloone Mindstate and Plugs 1 and 2
hit the stage. Posdunos and Trugoy were mad hyped and got the crowd
motivated like crazy. They had the dopest mix of the night, doing songs
like "Plug Tunin", "Potholes in My Lawn", and "Me Myself and I" from the
first LP, "Saturdays", "Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey)", and "Oodles of O's"
from the 2nd, and "En Focus", "Breakadawn", and "In the Woods" from the
third. They kept it live, switching back and forth between LPs, having
the crowd do a 'true hip-hop fans' battle, and just completely tearing the
roof off the motherfucker. The sound system was working great, and the
highlight of the set was for me seeing Shortie No Mas rip the shit out of
her stuff from "In The Woods." DAMN! that girl got SKILLS! For me the De
La Soul set made the whole evening an A+.
I assumed there would be another 40 minute delay between sets, so I
went to get a drink of water. WRONG! Tribe came out after onlt two
minutes and jumped right into "Steve Biko", which I ended up missing half
of (goddam club). Worse still, the sound system was fucked up, and NOBODY
I MEAN NOBODY could hear Phife Dawg... the poor guy was shouting and
yelling into the mic, but it did no good. By the time they got his mic
turned up, he was hoarse from all the shouting, and it kinda fucked up his
flow. Q-Tip was mellow, relaxed and sooth throughout their performance, and
kicked it lovely. Their set was way too short though (40 minutes versus the
hour plus of De La), and the mix of music was not too great... they could
have played better cuts from the 2nd LP, more from the 1st, and less from
the 3rd. They also spent too much time reminding us that "our new album is
Midnight Marauders". WE KNOW THAT! WHY DO YOU THINK WE ARE HERE? But their
set was far above and beyond the weak performance from Souls of Mischief.
So that's the show in a nutshell. It would have been better if the
crowd wasn't so packed and the sound system so fucker, but I still think
it was worth the $17 and the three hour drive. If they are coming to your
town, I recommend that you check it out.
Peace from Flash
Back to tha Old School
It was suggested that I peep some Grandmaster Flash for this
month's column. I figured that would definately be ah-ite, so I picked out
my good old "Rapmasters 8: The Best of the Street" -- the first side has
three songs, all of them by Grandmaster Flash.
For those of you who are new to hip-hop and have only heard Ice
Cube's "Check Yo' Self" remix, the beat came from Grandmaster Flash & the
Furious 5's "The Message". This was one of the first rap songs to deal so
bluntly with the harsh realities of ghetto life. It's addictive beat and
serious lyrics turned many heads and gave inner-city rap fans a song to
call their anthem:
My son said, "Daddy, I don't want to go to school,
'Cause the teacher's a jerk, he must think I'm a fool,
And all the kids smoke reefer, I think it'd be cheaper,
If I just got a job, learned to be a street sweeper".
"Wheels of Steel" leads in with an addictive disco-style beat and
Grandmaster Flash shows his skills on the tables. There's not much else
to say besides the fact that there's no way in the world you can avoid
bobbing your whole body to this track. Though the scratches weren't
exactly DJ Miz, they're definately up there for the time the track was
"White Lines (Don't Do It)" paired Grandmaster Flash with Melle
Mel. This smoothed out song mixed rap with singing vocals. And more
importantly, it was a "say no to drugs" message dealing specifically with
cocaine in a serious way, but with a smooth beat and some real sweet
There's no doubt that Grandmaster Flash was one of the original
old-schoolers to make a good use of rap and take it beyond the battles in
the park -- he brought the serious messages to the listeners to let them
know that there was someone else that went through the same things that
More on Grandmaster Flash/Melle Mel/Furious Five:
>It's not a mislabelling. Melle Mel and the Furious Five have released
>records together. Read that as Melle Mel and *a* Furious Five. I don't
>have time for a history lesson so I'll just leave you with a question
>which someone else may elaborate on: was Cowboy the Real McCoy?
In article <1993Oct5.firstname.lastname@example.org>, email@example.com writes:
>One record says, "We Don't Work For Free", featuring Melle Mel, Scorpio,
>One record says, "Step Off" by Grandmaster Melle Mel and the Furious Five
>I have listened to both and they do indeed seem to be Melle Mel
>I think that Hip-Hop Records in New York must have put Grandmaster Flash
>and the Furious Five down as the author by mistake, probably they saw
>"Grandmaster" and "Furious Five" and assumed it was Flash
>So what is the deal? Apparently it's not the same furious five, or is it?
The Furious Five are Grandmaster Melle Mel, Kid Creole (both brothers)
Rahiem, Mr. Ness, and Cowboy. Cowboy was a member but left for drug
reasons and was replaced by Larry-love. (la la la la larry-lovvvve!!)
Around '83, '84 or early '85 I'm not exactly sure when... Flash left
Sugarhill Rec. and Sugarhill need a Grandmaster so they changed the
group's name to Grandmaster Melle-Mel and the The Furious Five to
sell some records.
Grandmaster Melle-Mel went solo and took the title Grandmaster with
him. Back in the day the top DJ's and MC's got the title Grandmaster
and since Melle-Mel was and still is one of the BEST rappers today,
he got the title Grandmaster.
ex: Grandmaster Caz from Cold Crush Brothers.
Peace to Flash , HardC.O.R.E. POSSE
MY JERSEY AND NYC FAMILY
THE WHOLE DAMM EASTCOAST
Charles L Isbell
Rules for the Annual New Jack Hip Hop Awards (1993 version)
----- --- --- ------ --- ---- --- --- ------ ----- --------
(last updated 12/7/1993)
The Annual New Jack Hip Hop Awards is a forum for true Hip Hop
Activists to express their picks for the best and the brightest in rap
and hip hop. No more, no less. The following is an outline of the
process and rules that we will use in determining the winners of the awards.
If there are any questions or issues, please feel free to address them
to the awards moderator (see below). A copy of the rules and the
categories is always available from the awards moderator.
The awards moderator for 1993:
The awards committee for 1993:
An award year XXXX is defined to be from December 15 of the previous
calendar year to December 14 of the award year.
Except where noted, no individual or group performers are eligible for
an award unless he/she/they released material during the award year.
Except where noted, no individual or group producers are eligible for
an award unless he/she/they produced material during the award year.
Except where noted, no album/EP is eligible for an award unless it was
released during the award year or at least one *single* off the
album/EP was *released* during the award year.
Except where noted, no single is eligible for an award unless it was
released or on an album released during the award year.
The word of the committee is final, although it is hoped that it will
not come up.
Voting is confidential. All votes will be sent directly to the awards
moderator. Before any other member of the awards committee can
tabluate a vote, the identity of the voter is removed. No duplicate
votes are allowed, obviously, and it is the responsibility of the
awards moderator to enforce this rule.
Voting is open to all interested parties, but the rules and official
forms will only be posted to the following groups/places:
firstname.lastname@example.org (mailing list)
HardC.O.R.E., the e-zine of hip-hop music and culture (e-zine)
The voting is divided into two periods: the nomination period and the
The awards moderator will post the *official* nominations form once a
week after the nominations period has begun. Each voter will be able
to nominate no more than three (3) candidates in each category.
Nominations will only be accepted as valid if the nominations form is
filled out correctly. Finally, each voter will receive an
acknowledgment of his/her vote.
The nominations period will begin immediately after the award year has
ended. It will be no less than three weeks (as it crosses over a
vaction period) but no more than a month.
The awards committee will tabluate the nominations and the top four
(4) nominees in each category will be the official candidates for the
voting period. If there are less than four nominees for some
category, the candidate list will consist entirely of them. If there
are more than four top nominees due to a tie, it is up to the awards
committee to decide whether to include the extra nominees or to leave
the ones with the least votes out.
After no more than one and a half weeks after the nominations have
been closed, the awards moderator will post the offical voting form
(which will include the candidates) and the voting period will begin.
The rules and the official voting form will be reposted once a week
thereafter. Votes will only be accepted as valid if the official form
is filled out correctly. As before, each voter will receive an
acknowledgment of his/her vote.
The voting period will last no less than two weeks but no more than
The awards committee will tabluate the votes and the awards moderator
will announce them afterwards. In addition to the list of the
winners, the entire list of voters (but *not* their votes) will be
provided upon request.
The categories are available from the awards moderator in a separate
Awards Moderator, 1991-1993
Charles L Isbell
Well, my fellow hip-hop fans, this is it: The Third Annual New Jack
Hip Hop Awards.
In order to make this easier on the rest of us, I ask that you follow
the directions below exactly.
This is the Official Nominations Form(tm). You should fill it out and
send it to me, email@example.com, as soon as possible (no, really).
You can nominate only *three* people/songs/groups/whatever for each
award. You can nominate less, but, you know, try to think of three.
For USENET people using 'rn' 'gnus' and similar such programs:
To send this to me, you can probably just hit "R". This will include
everything that I've posted with ">"'s or spaces in front of each
line. This is perfectly okay. DO NOT DELETE ANYTHING BETWEEN THE
LINES THAT TELL YOU NOT TO. After each award, type in your nominees.
When you're done, send it off in whatever way you normally would.
For people on mailing lists:
To send this to me, you can probably just hit "r". This will not
include everything, so you need to figure out how to do so.
Hopefully, you know how. Once you've done that, follow the
directions for USENET people above. Note: depending upon how you
see this, you might have to edit the "To:" field so that your reply
is sent to "firstname.lastname@example.org". Also, to be nice to me, try to have
"nominations" somewhere in the "Subject:" field if you can.
For everyone else:
I have no idea, but hopefully you can figure it out if you don't
already know. Send me mail, I might be able to help.
Here's an example below. After hitting "R" (or whatever) you see:
>---> Rappers With Big Heads Awards
> Woman with biggest head
> Man with biggest head
So, then, you type:
>---> Rappers With Big Heads Awards
> Woman with biggest head
Lady Roxxane Jo Jo
Big Head In Effect
Women With Big Heads
> Man with biggest head
Kool Moe Head
LL Big Head
2 Big Heads Crew
You get the idea. Anyway, nominations are open from Wednesday, Dec
15, 1993 to Wednesday, January 12, 1994. That should give everyone
plenty of time. You can only nominate once. Oh, yeah, don't forget
that people are only eligible if they did what they did between Dec 15
1992 and Dec 14 1993. See the rules for more clarification. Invalid
nominations will be ignored and maybe returned.
One more thing, a *group* must have more than one rapper.
Example: Run DMC and Public Enemy are groups, but neither Monie
Love nor DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince are.
Peace. Happy Holidays.
------ Don't even think about deleting anything below this line -----
====----> Progressive/Jazz Rap
Groups like De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest (and in fact the whole
Native Tongue Family), as well as Souls of Mischief, Digable Planets
and the like fall into this class.
Phattest Progressive/Jazz Rap Group
Phattest Progressive/Jazz Male Rapper
Phattest Progressive/Jazz Female Rapper
Phattest Progressive/Jazz Rap Single
Phattest Progressive/Jazz Rap Album
====----> Political Hip-Hop
I think this is pretty obvious. Rap with an explicit social and/or
Phattest Political Group
Phattest Political Male Rapper
Phattest Political Female Rapper
Phattest Political Rap Single
Phattest Political Rap Album
====----> Gangsta Hip-Hop
Well, this is everyone from Ice Cube to Gheto Boyz to Ice T to Snoop
and back. Use your judgment.
Phattest Gangsta Group
Phattest Gangsta Male Rapper
Phattest Gangsta Female Rapper
Phattest Gangsta Rap Single
Phattest Gangsta Rap Album
Rappin' for your ego rappers go here. Say hi to everyone from Souls
of Mischief to Chubb Rock to Das EFX.
Phattest Braggadacio Group
Phattest Braggadacio Male Rapper
Phattest Braggadacio Female Rapper
Phattest Braggadacio Rap Single
Phattest Braggadacio Rap Album
====----> Nasty rap
Nasty to be nasty. Overlaps a bit with some gangsta rappers.
Phattest Nasty Group
Phattest Nasty Male Rapper
Phattest Nasty Female Rapper
Phattest Nasty Rap Single
Phattest Nasty Rap Album
====----> Crossover Rap
This is not to be confused with hip-pop like Vanilla Ice Cream Cone.
This is the rap that really "crosses" to other genres, be they R&B,
reggae, hard rock or even pop while actually remaining both good *and* true
to hip hop. As time goes on, some of these may spin off into their
own subawards (see Progressive/Jazz).
Phattest Crossover Group
Phattest Crossover Male Rapper
Phattest Crossover Female Rapper
Phattest Crossover Rap Single
Phattest Crossover Rap Album
====----> The Dope Thangs
Include the artist and the single.
Slammin' music is not required. Both individual rappers and groups
may apply. Include the artist and the single.
Most Slammin' Beat
Dope lyrics are not required. Both individual rappers and groups
may apply. Include the artist and the single.
It's not a lost art yet. Include the album or EP.
Include the album or EP.
====----> More Dope Thangs
Leaders of the New School
Award for the most innovative rapper/group this year. Doesn't have
to be someone new, might be an old dog learning and teaching some
new tricks. In any case, should take hip hop in a new direction.
The folks starting the new subgenres. Include album or EP.
Best fusion of Hip-Hop with non-Hip-Hop
Being the experimenters that they are, Hip-Hop artists are often
trying to merge their styles with stuff from other genres, be it
heay metal, jazz or country. Who did the best thing this year?
Include single, album or EP.
Phattest Non-USA Artist
Often, we in the USA never get exposure to the phat macks outside
the border. Those of you lucky to have done so should open our
eyes by noting the artist and his or her single, album or EP.
Provider of Phattest Samples
Everyone from James Brown to The Gap Band to Chick Corea have been
so kind as to provide hip hop with dope samples. Who's provided the
best stuff *this year*? All we require is a name, but we'll give
you extra props if you can name actual singles.
Most Innovative Use of a Sample
Award for the artist who used a sample (be it music, voice or
whatever) in the most innovative or unexpected way to great
effect. May be as simple as managing to sample the Partridge
Family and making it funky or holding album-long conversations
with Bert & Ernie. Note the artist, the single/album/EP and a
reason for the award.
====----> Dope Videos and Other Visual Stuff
Phattest Short Form Video
Award for the Phattest video. Include artist and single.
Phattest Long Form Video
Award for the Phattest long form video release. Include artist and
name of videotape.
Phattest Hip Hop Video Show
Best show, syndicated or otherwise, about Hip Hop. Include the
VeeJay(s) as well as the name of the show.
Best live performance/tour/live album
Include name of tour or performance or live album/EP.
====----> Whackness and former whackness
For the suckas that go pop. Should have been at least vaguely
hip-hop in the first place. Include album, EP, single or whatever.
The weakest, but visible, whackster of the year. Include album, EP,
single or whatever.
This is different than the biggest sellout. Sometimes old
favorites just plain fall off without even getting the money for
selling out. Who fell flat this year? Include album, EP or
On the good side, sometimes folks we had written off as dead, come
back like hard. Note that here. Include single or album or EP.
Hardest and Ugliest Dis'
Award for *the* hardest most diggum-smack dis of the year--the one
that made you screw up your face and go "damn!" Include the
artist and the single.
====----> What you've been waiting for
Most Unfairly Slept On Album
Ever year some artist comes off proper but is ignored by the
community. Here we may remedy that.
Phattest New Hip Hopster
The best New Jack to arrive on the scene this year. Include the
album or EP.
Hall of Fame
Award for that person or persons who managed to make hip hop history
and have stood the test of time. Put on your history caps for this
one. We're talking about those back in the day who helped make our
current dopeness possible.
Note: Public Enemy and Run-DMC, our 1991 and 1992 winners, are
*ineligible* this year.
Phattest Rap Single
The Phattest single to drop this year. Period.
Phattest Rap Album
The Phattest album to drop this year. Period.
====----> And that's it.
------ Don't even contemplate deleting anything above this line. -----
WHAT DR. DRE DOESN'T WANT YOU TO KNOW
I was scoping through the new promo CDs that just came into the
radio station where I work (WIUS 95.1 FM-Cable - gotta plug 'em, they've
been good to me), when I came across something that looked a little odd.
It was a promo single called "House Calls" by none other than Dr. Dre.
Now as any rap fan who hasn't been living in a cave with nothing
but "Paid In Full" and "Criminal Minded" to throw on his turntables (two
records I easily could live with if I were stuck in a cave), the battles
have been raging between Dre and the Death Row posse, Dre's former
partner in crime Eazy-E, and Miami kingpin Luther "Luke" Campbell.
Eazy-E was milking Dre's producing skills to fatten his own pockets back
in the NWA days, so Dre came back at him with the now classic battle rap
"Fuck Wit Dre Day." Meanwhile, Luke went off on NWA on a cut called
"Fakin' Like Gangstas," so Dre and Snoop Doggy Dogg threw a verse on
"Dre Day" just for him. Luke came back on him with the cut "Cowards in
Compton," which dissed Dre for changing up his styles all the time.
First he discouraged marijuana smoking, now he's all on the leaf. First
he sang love songs and such, and now he's this hardcore gangsta. And on
and on and ya don't stop...
So I took a closer look at this single, "House Calls" by Dr.
Dre. Certainly didn't see this track on "The Chronic." Then I looked
inside at the CD itself, and it said in big letters DR. DRE and in
very small print underneath "and the World Class Wreckin' Cru." Looks
like the folks that originally had Dre and friends under contract, the
SOH Distributors Network, decided to cash in on the recent battles on
wax between Dre, Luke, Eazy and the rest of 'em. Not only that, but
SOH displayed proudly that this cut came "from the SOH album World
Class Wreckin' Cru 'Gold' SOH7013."
The track itself was produced and written by Dr. Dre and Yella
(both former members of NWA) and some guy named Lonzo, whose career
probably went the way of Vanilla Lice after the Cru broke up. So I
pulled this CD single out of its sleeve and threw it in. Hey, if Dr.
Dre wasn't a gangsta all his life, what the hell was he?
Would you believe a giggolo?
"Ridin' in my car one night not doing anything," started Dre's
rhyme (he was using the two-measure style that made Tone Loc's "Wild
Thing" so big several years back), "Called the answering service, 'cause I
knew my phone would ring./Heard it ring once, so I picked it up and said,
"Hello,/It's Dr. Dre, baby, not your average giggolo."
The chorus sounded somthing like this:
I make house calls. It's Dr. Dre, the maniac.
House calls. The human aphrodesiac.
I love those house calls to the girls who are all alone.
House Calls, when your husband's not at home.
The beats are pure cheese, with a cheap drum machine and fake
bassline supplying all the music, along with a sampled orchestra hit
or voice or phone ring here and there. To Dre's credit, though, the
music was probably very good for the era. The end of the song is
scattered with answering machine messages from various women ("Hello,
Dre, this is Taleisha, do you take American Express?") and one from
another well-known hip hop giggolo, Candyman. The last message was
from some angry husband saying, "Say, fool, you left your driver's
license over here last night. Now I'mma hafta whup your a...*BEEP*"
Suffice to say, I fell out. This is what Dre did before NWA?
He was "6-foot-3 with wavy hair,/the one who comes around when your
man just doesn't care????" If I were Luke or Eazy (and thank the Lord
I'm not either), I'd diss him back on wax, too. Just hearing this
single had me rollin'. It's a far cry from, "Whatsa matter? Can't
talk with a gat in your mouth?" Dre must be sitting somewhere either
fuming or crying over this CD single.
More than anything, though, the fact that SOH re-released this
track proves that Dre really isn't at all what he says he is. That
gangsta flair with gangsta raps isn't much more than a front for Dre,
who's simply cashing in on the latest trends in hip hop. He was the
one that said in the NWA classic "Express Yourself" that he didn't
smoke marijuana because it was bad for him. Now that Cypress Hill hit
it big, he's King Chronic, taking puffs and getting high with the Dogg
Pound. Chances are that whatever hip hop trend steps the the forefront
in four or five years, Dre will be using it to make a record.
But what does this say for the other parties involved in this
war on wax? Eazy E is still down with Yella, who's name is printed on
that World Class Wreckin' Cru single almost as much as Dre. Shouldn't
he be dogging Yella as well? Or would that make it harder for Eazy to
sell his new EP? Hell, the music on that CD bites Dre's Funky Worm
style on nearly every track. And what of this man's rhymes, which
used to be written by Ice Cube? Who's writing them this time? Ren?
Yella? 187um? Suffice to say Eazy is just trying to make some more
money off a lackluster effort. He must have run out of the money he
made off of the talents of the rest of NWA.
And what of Luke? He's doing the same thing Eazy did with
NWA -- making mad G's off the talent of everyone around him. Luke
didn't even rap on "Cowards of Compton," but instead got his friends
to do it. He's chillin' like Gilligan in a Miami mansion off the
money he made from records like "Pop That Pussy" and "Me So Horny,"
two of the most forgettable rap records ever made. His whole act is
to get his friends to rhyme on stage while he tries to get head from
stage-dancing whores or, on special occasions, members of the
audience. That's a hip hop talent? Play like Troy Aikman and get
Of all the parties in this, Dre probably has the most talent
of all of 'em, but most of that is as a producer. Snoop and The D.O.C.
write his rhymes. It's enough to make you wish the Diggy Diggy Doc got
his voice back quickly, just so he could drop a bigger bomb than all
three of 'em. Overall, this may be the most overblown and overhyped
battle in hip hop's young history. The only thing worse would be
seeing Shaquille O'Neal and Chris Webber go at it on records instead
of on the basketball court. We would all do better to just toss all
of it aside and throw on "AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted."
Did you like it? pH rate it!
: Well it seems like opinions on both Digital Underground's "Body Hat
: Syndrome" and Tribe Called Quest's "Midnight Marauders" is much the same
: 1. If you like the group you will like this release (everybody)
: 2. I thought it was great! The best stuff yet (about half)
: 3. I though it sucked dilznick, it was straight up booty (about half)
: So here's a thought... the Source gives their ratings by polling all the
: reviewers for a score, and averaging them (which is why a review can say
: it's dope even when it only gets 3.5), at least as far as I know. So if
: you have heard one or both LPs, and you feel like vocalizing your opinion,
: send a HardCORE pH rating of 1 to 6 and a two line comment to
Ave rating for: A Tribe Called Quest - Midnight Marauders 5
Digital Underground - Body Hat Syndrome 3.5
Comments on Midnight Marauders:
Doesn't hit as hard as LET -- more jazzy and smoothed out.
I think people were expecting way too much from this album. The
Low End was a 6, a hip hop classic. A few of the cuts on MM sound
similar. It is cohesive but lacks the consistency of The Low End Theory.
Still a great album.
Loved it...but...although Phife has improved, I really prefer
hearing less of him and more of Tip...The music is cool...jazzy;
etc...Couple o' tracks they could've did without, but ...5.5
A slower, more loose Tribe than the one I knew on Low End Theory.
Marauders is not bad, but not as lyrically impressive as LET.
Mad fat yo...phife goes off in this one and shows that his rhymes
are milked like a cow. Q-tip on time as usual. Smooth and hard hittin.
It's a good release in the Quest vein, but it doesn't have the
genius of _Low End_. Still got good stuff all over it, tho.
Comments on Body Hat Syndrome:
Despite the "If you like the group, you'll like the album" thing
y'all been saying, I beg to differ...I *do* like D.U. but this album just
bored me...trite...noisy...I prefer Shock G...too much Humpty...and
definitely too many songs using that same tired beat...whatever happened
to the diversity of styles they had on Sex Packets? Humpty Awards was a
waste of space etc
I'd definitely give DU's BODY HAT SYNDROME a pHuncky pHive on the
I only liked a couple of tracks on this one. It seems as though
they are trying to continue p-funk when that shit is played like
handball. Too much corny shit, and not enough straight up lyrics.
It's got the funky beats that distinguish DU from the crowd,
Humpty's craaazy lyrics are all over it, and they made no concessions to
Actually, I don't think I would have been as disappointed with "The
Body Hat Syndrome" if I hadn't been down with the underground since the
early days. Taken by itself, it's an ok album, but because of their other
shit, I had MUCH higher expectations. It's really a shame, I'd put DU in
the 5-6 range for their earlier stuff.
Charles L Isbell
"We hope you will find our presentation
precise, bass-heavy and just right"
...Introducing 1) the all-new Predictions rating wherein I state the
incredibly obvious while trying to make it seem as if I have some deep
insight or something *and* 2) the all-new Rotation Weight meter
wherein I guess at how long the album will stay in your heavy-rotation
This time: _Midnight Marauders_ by A Tribe Called Quest
Next time: _Doggy Style_ by Snoop Doggy Dog
_Black Business_ by Poor Righteous Teachers
_Tricks of The Shade_ by The Goats (will it happen?)
Catch Ups: _Be Bop or Be Dead_ by Umar Bin Hassan
Distinctiveness: Sure. It's very ATCQ. And it's even distinctive
Dopeness Rating: ATCQPhat+. I don't know what the naysayers are
talking about. This is all that.
Rap Part: Phat+. They are the former and current Lyrical
Steak. Q-Tip has managed to get even funkier since
LET; I thought that was pretty much impossible.
And Phife? Even better than before. I always did
like him. Nice flow.
Predictions: This'll blow up just as much as Low End. They won't
lose many of the fans of either of their first two
albums as this kind of an average. Plus, it
really is slammin' stuff.
Rotation Weight: Heavy. It might even last you the 80 years it'll be
until their *next* album.
Message: Not really. And who cares?
Tracks: 14 tracks averaging 3 minutes & 40 seconds apiece (you
figure it out--no calculators).
Producers: A Tribe Called Quest
Profanity: Very little. Some use of the n-word.
So here's how it works.
Back in the day, I was never really able to get into A Tribe Called
Quest. In fact, I couldn't much deal with the Native Tongue family at
all. Jungle Brothers? They were okay, but I wasn't going to lay out
the duckets for 'em. Tribe? Okay "Anita Applebum" and "Can I Kick
It?" were dope, but I didn't want a whole album like that. De La
Soul? Okay, I'll make an exception for _3 Feet High and Rising_.
*That* was mad silly phat.
Even with all the net.hype over _Low End Theory_, I resisted. I gave
it a listen at gunpoint and thought, "Yeah, so?" It wasn't worth
$11.99. But then I kept hearing it and at some point, I found my head
boppin'. And it was very Jazzy. I liked Jazz, right? I gave it a
Three listens later, I realized that it was one of the best things I'd
Quest is like that. They make classic albums that just keep tapping
you on the shoulder until you turn around.
Then they smack you upside the head.
That brings us to our lesson for today: _Midnight Marauders_. I
promised to listen to it four times before I passed judgement. I'm
glad I waited.
A Tribe Called Quest is made up of Q-Tip the Abstract, Phife-Dawg, Ali
Shaeed and Jarobi. I'm still not too sure what Ali Shaheed Muhammad
and Jarobi do exactly besides some of the writing (or maybe that's
just the music?). Whatever it is, The Abstract and Dawg give Ali many
more props and mention this time than last time. Whatever. Q-Tip and
Phife continue to lay down long lyrical pipe over some bassful jazz,
so I'm happy. Whatever Ali and Jarobi do they can keep on doing.
Anyway, we open with "Midnight Marauders Tour Guide" which features
the voice of one Laurel Dann. She reappears throughout the album
presenting useful tidbits and providing a bridge between tracks.
"The average bounce meter for your
Midnight Marauder program will be
In the area of 95 b.p.m."
Phife opens up very, very nicely on "Steve Biko (Stir It Up)," setting
the stage for Q-Tip to come in with some more smoov stuff.
"Uh-huh here we go
You know that I'm the rebel
Throwin' out the wicked like God did the devil
Funky like your grandpa's drawers
Don't test me
We in like that
You dead like Presley"
There are some *dope* beats here. Nice opening jam.
"Percussion is a ness
D's wear the vest
While they're dodging bullets
You should be dodging Quest
Don't get me wrong
Violence is not our forte
I just like to rhyme
Kick the lyric skills like Pele"
"Award Tour" follows up, trying it's best to make you think it's
called "A World Tour" instead. Nice sounds. Long-piped lyrics.
"I have a quest to have a mic in my hand
Without that it's like kryptonite and Superman
So Shaheed come in with the sugar cuts
Phife Dawg's my name but on stage call me Dynomutt
When was the last time you heard the Phifer sloppy?
Lyrics anonymous, you never hear me copy
Top-notch baby, never comin' less
Sky's the limit, ya gots to believe up in Quest"
De La cousin Trugoy the Dove provides his voice for the chorus.
"Lyrically I'm Mario Andretti on the normal
Ludicrously speedy or infectious with the slow-mo"
Anyway, it was a good choice for a release. .
"8 Million Stories" starts up with a more familar-sounding musical
beat. One can't help but bob. And Phife lays down some nice ones.
This is slammin' stuff y'all....
"Steady smilin' like a mother
Yo I'm ret'ta bone
Went down on hon
She's in the red zone
Stressed out more than anyone can ever be
Forever tryin' to clear the samples for my new LP
Everybody knows I go to Georgia often
Got on the flight and I ended up in Boston
With all these trials and tribulations
Yo, I've been affected
And to top it off, Starks got ejected."
Next up is "Sucka Nigga" with another Hubbard sample.
"Musically we are the herb
So sit back and light me
Hmmmm, I thought The Coup had the last word on this.... Actually it
occurs to me that I'm not *quite* sure what Q-Tip is trying to get
across. He sounds confused somehow. Whatever. It still sounds
"You're not any less of a man if you don't pull the trigger
You're not necessarily a man if you do"
Anyway, "Midnight" follows. Bass. Thump. Bob.
"Comin' down the block, man, loud as
You would swear Redman was inside the truck
As the night scence darker
Cops is on the hunt
They interrupt your cypher
And crush your blunt
See you left your work at home
So they pat you down for nothin'
Why in the hell does 10-4 keep frontin'?"
Phat. Hmmmmm. I see a pattern forming here. Phat tracks followed by
phat tracks followed by phat tracks....
Is that *the* Bad Foot Brown & The Budions Bradford Funeral & Marching
Band sampled on "We Can Get Down"?
"I'm not your average MC with the Joe Schmoe flow
If you don't know me by now you'll never know
Steppin' on my critics beatin' on my foes
The plan is to stay focused only then I can go
Straight from the heart I represent hip-hop
I be three albums weak but I don't wanna go pop
Too many candy rappers seem to be at the top
Too much candy is no good so now I'm closin' up shop"
Phife comes with the much correctitude.
"My man where ya goin'
You can't escape"
Of course, Q-Tip is no slouch either.
"This is 93 and the sh*t is real
Black people unite and put down your steel"
The music on "Electric Relaxation" is especially good. Smooth like
ice cream and twice as good for you.
"I like 'em brown, yellow, Puerto Rican or Haitian
Name is Phife Dawg from the Zulu Nation"
"You can be my momma and I'll be your boy..."
"Not to come across as a thug or a hood
But hon you got the goods like Madeline Wood
By the way my name's Malik, the five-foot freak
Let's say we get together by the end of the week
She simply said, 'No,' labelled me a ho
I said 'how ya figure?'
'My friends tell me so'"
That was nice. I'll have to listen to that one again.....
I'm back. Nice muzak.
Anyway, "Clap Your Hands" comes next. It uses just a bit of the
chorus sample that Das EFX used in their similarly-titled track. But
other than a similar break, they're nothing alike.
"My sh*t is rock solid but it flows like fluid
Chemists get confused of my ill composition
This is the third of the new Tribe edition
MCs be swingin' but a lot of them be missin'
So shut your blood clot and listen
'Cause I'm bringin' you the ill rendition"
Absolutely nothing alike. For one thing, they make sense....
The funkiness comes hard on "Oh My God." Nice jam this one.
"One for the treble, two for the bass
You know the style Tip, it's time to flip this
I like my beats hard like two-day old sh*t
Steady eatin' booty MCs like cheese grits"
At this point, I've hope you've decided to buy this. What else do
you want from me? Geez.
We relax again with "Keep It Rollin'." Large Professor makes a
guest appearance as producer.
"Hey, yo, swing swing swing
Ta chop chop chop
Yo that's the sound when MCs get mopped
Don't come around town
Without the hip in your hop
'Cause when the sh*t hits the fan
That ass'll get dropped
MCs wanna attack me
But them punks can't cope
I'll have ya left without a job
Like Issac from the Love Boat"
Oh, he makes a guest rap appearance as well. Not a bad one either.
"Styles be phat like Jackie Gleason
The rest be Art Carney
People love the Dawg
Like the kids love Barney"
With no warning, the intro lick "The Chase Part II" intrudes on our
meditations. Well, it's just more phatness.
"(Damn Phife ya got fat)
Yeah I know it looks pathetic
Ali Shaheed Muhammad got me doin' calisthenics
Needless to say, boy, I'm bad to the bone
Makin' love to my mic like Jarobi on the phone"
They speed up the tempo on this one to good effect.
"Bob Power, you there?
(Yeah) Adjust the bass and treble
Make my sh*t sound clear"
Only two more tracks to go. The penultimate one being "Lyrics To Go."
Damn, this beginning-to-end phatness is getting repetitious. Kinda
makes me wish they'd fall off just so I'd have something to talk
about. Maybe I'll just trash this track on GP.
"Capitatin' fools, yo, as if my name was Jason"
"Talk a lot of trash
But no one could seem to beat it
Pull out the microphone
And watch the Phifer make you eat it"
"Always wanted this 'cause it surely beats the scramblin'
I'm Jordan with the mic...
Hunh, wanna gamble?"
The muzak and the lyrics are only Phat and.... sigh. Never mind.
"Please proceed with caution
'Cause the lyrics is fatal
I could kick your little
Monkey ass like Kato
Formulate your rhymes
Like a child forms play-do
Calm and serene
Like the study was Tao
Poetry machine with correct mechanisms
Immune to disease, I defeat organisms"
So we come to the end. "God Lives Through" wraps it all. Yes, it's
phat. Yes, the lyrics are intense and the muzak is all *that*. Yes,
"There's a millon MCs who claim they want some
But see, I create sounds that make your ears go numb"
I swear this album ends too quickly.
Bottom line? Buy the damn thing. Don't worry if you feel unsure the
first time through. It's like sex. It gets better with practice.
Some stretching exercises might help, too. Listen to it five times.
Trip out when you realize the phatness. Then go back and buy _Low End
Theory_ if you've been *that* kinda weak punk. Repeat the above
When you've caught up, feel free to bop your head in public.
But that's just one Black man's opinion--what's yours?
(c) Copyright 1993, Charles L Isbell, Jr.
Section 3 -- Three
HardCORE's pH ratings:
6 - pHat. EE-Yow! A Hip Hop Classic
5 - pHunky. Great album, go get it.
4 - pHine. Solid. Few weaknesses here.
3 - pHair. Some potential, but it's not quite realized.
2 - pHlat. Falls well short of a quality product.
1 - pHukkit. Get this Vanilla Lice shit outta here!
Artist: Pudgee Tha Phat Bastard
Album: Give 'em The Finger
Rating: pHine 
I heard so much about this man. His reputation has been buzzing
around college radio stations and hip hop magazines across the country.
The word is that Pudgee tha Phat Bastard is an underground phenom,
dropping more freestyle rhymes than pigeons drop shit.
Well, his reputation as the next best thing since sliced bread
comes to a head with the release of Pudgee's debut album, "Give 'Em The
Finger." I must admit that there was a bit too much hype surrounding
Pudgee's skills. He does represent well, but there aren't enough real
lyrical gems on this product for my taste.
The TrackMasterz handle the majority of the production work, and
their skills shine throughout much of the album. Track-wise, you can give
that fast-forward button a nice vacation. Lyrically, Pudgee ain't no
joke. The pre-release hype of this album made me think that he was the
second-coming of Kool G Rap. Although he's not on par with G Rap, he
does go for self with mad skills. Given time, he will be posing a
serious threat to many an MC.
The only real complaint about Pudgee's skills is that he doesn't
really demonstrate any unique rhyme styles or punch-lines. He just flows
straight forward, and on cuts like "Doin' MC's Sum'N Terrible" and "How You
Feel About That", he's taking heads along the way. He pays a tribute to
his mom without getting sappy in "Lady of My Life", and 2 tracks later, he
flips the script with "Mommie Dearest", a sex tale worthy of MC Ren. One
of the standouts is "This Is How We Do", which features Kool G Rap. Here,
G Rap gets psycho, and it's much better than his appearance on Fat Joe's
On the whole, Pudgee has dropped a solid album. There's no reason
to use that fast-forward button, and if there are those who think that
this product is weak, then make like Pudgee and "Give 'Em The Finger."
Artist: Shaquille O'Neal
Album: Shaq Diesel
Rating: pHair 
The number-1 draft pick in the NBA. Rookie of the Year, 1992.
First Rookie since Jordan to make the starting line of the All-Star team.
More endorsements and recognition than most of his colleagues. AND the
heir-apparent to Jordan's reign as THE MAN. What more could you want?
Well, if your name is Shaquille O'Neal, you'd want to be recognized as a
rap artist as well. And, thanks to Jive and a variety of veteran
producers, you get your wish with "Shaq Diesel", Shaquille O'Neal's
The production work is split between Def Jef, Erick Sermon and
K-Cut (of the Main Source), with Ali Shaheed (ATCQ) and Dr "?" also
contributing. Lyrically, I wasn't too impressed with the monotone delivery
of Shaquille's "(I Know I Got) Skills", but his delivery improves as the
album progresses. Obviously, there are mad references to basketball
(with titles like "Shoot, Pass, Slam" and "Boom!" and the intro), so
don't be surprised. One of Erick's contributions, "I'm Outstanding", is
surprisingly predictable (you can guess which song gets sampled for the
hook), but he brings the funk back with "Boom", where he also guests on
the mic. K-Cut's work stands out in "Are You A Roughneck", which
features the manic Fu-Schnickens. Ali Shaheed drops the bomb in the
form of "Where Ya At", which features Phife from the Tribe. Def Jef
makes up for the mediocrity of "Skills" with the decent "I Hate To Brag."
Lyrically, Shaq's rhymes can be compared to his game... limited.
He does have a minimal amount of skill, but as a rookie, he's not too big
on exploring different rhyme styles. His rhymes won't be winning any "New
Jack" awards, but he does have the right idea. And surrounding himself
with seasoned pros didn't hurt either. It's the pros that keep Shaq from
Wu-Tang Clan Album Review
Wu-Tang Clan: Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)
Shaolin Sword Side:
Bring Da Ruckus
Shame on a Nigga
Clan in Da Front
Wu-Tang: 7th Chamber
Can It Be All So Simple
Wu-Tang Sword Side:
Da Mystery of Chessboxin'
Wu-Tang Clan Ain't Nuthing Ta F' Wit
Protect Ya Neck
Wu-Tang: 7th Chamber - Part II
pH rating: 5....pHunky!
"Shaolin Shadow Boxing, and the Wu-Tang Sword Style. If what
you say is true, the Shaolin and the Wu-Tang could be dangerous...Do
you think your Wu-Tang Sword can defeat me?"
And that's how this epic album begins, with a sample from some
obscure Kung-Fu movie about some obscure Kung-Fu terms about fighting
weapons and styles. Wu-Tang Clan is: Prince Rakeem "The RZA," The
Method Man, U-God, Rebel INS, Shallah Raekwon, Ghost Gace Killer, Ol'
Dirty Bastard, & the Genius "The GZA." These are all rough
lyricists, with Prince Rakeem doing the underground raw production,
excepting two tracks. Most of the lyricists get theirs on the mic in
each cut, The Genius and Method Man being the most prominent of the
Shaolin Sword Side:
Bring Da Ruckus (4:10)
The first cut off this album has got a rough, raw, pointed
beat with some strange keyboard organ sound that's roaming the track
beneath the beat. Wu-Tang get off on how hard they are with some
slick metaphorical phrases and comparisons. The trading off of the
mic at off-beat spots and messed up beats throw a lead pipe to the
listener as the group kick the Wu-Tang 36 styles of danger.
Shame on a Nigga (2:57)
Ol' Dirty Bastard starts this one off with his lyrical style
that rolls off the driven upbeat horn sample, mixed with a descending
piano riff over another rugged beat. Rakeem's production style is a
refreshing change from the Diggin in the Crates, Beatnuts, Pete Rock,
DJ Muggs, all those styles that are cool and all, but may be
referenced to too much by the up and coming producers.
"Shame on a Nigga
who tried to run game on a nigga
who's buck wild on the trigga"
"When you see me on a reel
formin' like Voltron
remember I get deep like a Navy Seal"
Clan in Da Front (4:33)
Wu-Tang Clan makes their first comparison of themselves to a
swarm of killer bees at this point, which becomes a familiar theme
throughout the album as the buzz gets louder at the start of this
cut. After the song's intro, it breaks into a simple piano loop
that'll make your head nod. This isn't one of the most outstanding
songs on this album, but it sticks and keeps your hand away from the
fast-forward button on your playback machine.
Wu-Tang: 7th Chamber (6:05)
Another lengthy intro from the start of this song, which
explains the 6 minute time. But when the beat kicks in, it's more
than worth it. The theme's familiar: how rough and insane the
Wu-Tang is, but the variations of this current, with the acrobatics
of the GZA, Method Man, and others keep you listening. Scattered
throughout the track is samples from the obscure movies with sounds
of sword-fights, and mutters of "Wu-Tang Style." The rhymes are
disjointed, on and off the beat, sometimes they don't even rhyme, but
it all works with the random production of Prince Rakeem.
Can it Be All So Simple (6:53)
I'll just ignore the intro to this one as the group recollects
about years past when music was the way they liked it. This track
starts of so smooth with Gladys Knight singing "Can it be all so simple
then..." with a mellow bass, and a faint whine to add a rough edge to
it as Wu-Tang reminisce about back in the day.
"Dedicated to the winners and the losers
Dedicated to all jeeps and land cruisers
Dedicated to the 850i's
Dedicated to niggaz who do drive by's
Dedicated to the Lexus in the aves
Dedicated to MPV Phat!"
And then the bass/organ changes key, but quickly drops back.
I wish I could write more of the lyrics, but the scan buttons on the
CD player here is broken, so I'm doing the best I can. Definately
try to listen to this one. But there's more of the album to
hear...this is the halfway point. The intermission is basically an
interview with the group, talking about the album, other rappers,
their goals as serious musicians, introducing all the members and
describing them and their styles. The Ol' Dirty Bastard is called
that cause there ain't no father to his style.
Da Mystery of Chessboxin' (4:48)
"The game of chess is like a sword fight. You must think first
before you move."
"Wu-Tang style is immensely strong and immune to nearly any
weapon. When it is properly used, it is almost invincible."
More obscure quotes set the stage for the Wu-Tang Sword Side
of the album. This first track is produced by the Ol' Dirty Bastard
and has got a phucked up refrain about killer bees and all sorts of
stuff. Ol' Dirty Bastard displays his influence from Busta Rhymes on
this one with the rough-voiced, mad singing style. The stuttering
beat kicks in every now and then, the whole track is held together by
an eerie harpsichord sample.
Wu-Tang Clan Ain't Nuthing Ta F' Wit (3:36)
This is definately one of the roughest, best tracks off the
album. Method Man hooked up a mad style for the instrumental, with
some strange chorus singing in the back, the beat has wind, snaps,
and an almost mechanic bass line. Then, the song switches to a movie
sample, then cuts back to the song. It's just a wild track,
unpredictable. The content, as usual, is about how unsafe the world
is now that the Wu-Tang Clan are out there.
"Cash Rules Everything Around Me"
Reminiscing about how it used to be requires another smooth
70's soul influenced track that was good enough for the Source to put
in their Singles File phat tape for December. Put your head in a
brace if you want to stop the inevitable nod that will occur when
listening to this one. Each member of the Clan takes a turn at
relating their rough story of their past, and lives they've seen
ruined by cash.
Method Man (5:50)
Once you've gotten past Method Man's description of various
types of bodily torture that he could do to you, you'll experience
the phat song that has blown up everywhere on the east coast
featuring, who else, Method Man. I don't think I really need to
describe this one, since it's on heavy rotation everywhere except on
VH-1. If you were big into this one, you'll be happly with this
album, since these types of lyrical styles and beats are
characteristic of what you can expect on the album.
Protect Ya Neck (4:52)
The A-side of the 12" that came out with Method Man on the
back. "Watch your step kid," cause the version on the album is radio
edited. Figure that one out, although the censoring technique is a
harsh guitar with heavy distortion that doesn't sound all that bad
with the track. The Wu-Tang Clan is in full effect, as they teach
the listener how to Protect Ya Neck. The Genius (GZA) gives his
record industry advice:
"First of all, who's your A&R?
A mountain climber who plays an electric guitar?
Well he don't know the meaning of dope
When he's looking for a suit-and-tie rap
That's cleaner than a bar of soap
And I'm the dirtiest thing in sight..."
After a confusing intro of mayhem and chaos, the best track
off the album kicks in. "After the Laughter Comes the Tears..."
This gangsta tale rides along a light organ sample that bounces over
the dark tales of urban life. Memories and flashbacks torture the
minds of Wu-Tang Clan as their loved ones are casualties in the
Wu-Tang: 7th Chamber - Part II (6:10)
The final song develops the Wu-Tang theme, not just remixes
it. A low synth raw bass line brings back images of swarms of bees
and underground life. Choirs of people singing "Wooooo" hover behind
the sharp beat and the jazzy saxaphone drifiting over the chaos.
Wu-Tang rotate the mic to each lyricist, each lyrically proving the
Clan worth. On a system, this one will sound thick as plaster, or
the swarm of bees they keep talking about. The conclusion at the end
of this cut continues the interview that we left off at during the
Overall, this album is right up there with the other bomb
RCA/Loud release by Tha Alkaholiks. Wu-Tang might be a collection of
some other styles you may have heard before (LONS, Onyx, Lords of the
Underground, etc.), but these styles are in a new atmostphere of
Prince Rakeem's completely rough, unfinished feeling production that
makes the styles feel fresh and keeps it interesting straight
through. Despite the relentlessly annoying intro segments at the
start of at least every other song, the tracks are ultimately worth
it. Since it rarely lets down, and with every lyricist testing their
style and content it keeps changing and continually developing. If
you've got money to spend after the recent deluge of quality material
(ATCQ, LONS, Souls, Ice Cube, Snoop, DAS, etc.) then post some bills
toward this release for the closest thing you'll hear to underground
demo tapes that you keep listening to for the real raw street vibe.
"What's the style of the Wu-Tang Clan?"
"It's a secret! Never teach the Wu-Tang......"
Ice Cube - Lethal Injection
pH rating: 4, pHine
Let me start out by saying Cube fans will not be dissapointed
by this LP... if you know Cube then this is your shit. However, I
don't feel this joint is strong enough to win him any converts. In
fact, I think it is flawed in a few major ways, those points which
herein I will address.
One is the simple fact that Cube sounds more... tame. Instead
of raging and growling like a panther as he has done in past (insert
props to Paris), he sounds more matter of fact and plain. On the
Predator LP, his voice did pitch shifts and bucked shots like an
AK-47... on this one you may start to wonder if he is using a
slingshot. Don't get me wrong, Cube is still a master lyricist, and
it isn't as though his flow has all of a sudden gone booty. But for
some reason his style just is not as appealing on this LP.
Also, while Cube has dope songs on here, you wonder where he
is headed, considering the direction this LP seems to take. In
particular, the Dre-like whine of songs like "Ghetto Bird" causes an
eyebrow or two to be raised... it works, but only because Cube could
rip apart any beat god ever made. To me it really doesn't seem to be
his style. And on "Bop Gun (One Nation Under a Groove)" we get a
dance track? This from the man who said he would never "dance or
shake my butt, I leave that to the brothers with the funny haircuts."
Mind you, I like this remix... I think he and Clinton did some great
work, but once again I have to say I really don't believe this is
It is also plainly obvious that a few things are tired and
really need to go. The pseudo-intellectual ravings of the NOI
Minister on "Cave Bitch" do a disservice both to Cube and to the
Nation. Get this fool off of Cube's albums before he gets even
worse. Sir Jinx has also got ta go, his style of production is played
like Sonic, quite noticebly so on "Lil Ass Gee".
This review may seem negative. I'd have to agree it probably
is, because I expect a lot more from Cube. Cube is without a doubt
one of hip-hop's all time greats, and he hasn't put out an LP yet I
didn't like. This one however brings a shadow of a doubt. I dislike
having more slow songs (even if they are fat), I don't really approve
of him becoming more Dre-like, and I think he needs to jack his flow
back up a notch. But as far as Cube goes, this is another solid
production from the undisputed heavyweight of gangsta rap.
HAVOC AND PRODEJE, "LIVIN' IN A CRIME WAVE"
Let me just say this -- I have just about had enough of the
gangsta genre. Everywhere I look, suddenly there's a group of new
jacks claiming to be the the hardest, meanest murderers in rap music.
Step to them and you step to your death. They've got 9mm's, they've
got uzis, they've got bazookas aimed at cops, etc. It's getting old.
Even the best of the new crop (Boss, Spice 1, etc.) just don't move me
the same way that some of the older records by Ice-T and Cube and
maybe the Geto Boys.
So with that in mind, why am I reviewing this album when I
have this bias? Well, it probably isn't fair to Havoc and Prodeje,
solo members of the South Central Cartel, since they are very much the
gangsta group. But something about the first track really pulled me
into this album.
"Crime Wave" centers its concept around a white, middle-class,
veteran journalist who was just assigned to do a story about the late
night crime madness in the ghetto. "These old journalist's bones are
screaming five-alarm," this character begins. "Yeah, I make a decent
living. I'm a feature writer with the Looking Glass, with readers too
busy to look themselves. But tonight, I'm gonna step through that
looking glass and see what's on the other side..." Prodeje's first
verse is typical shoot-em-up street tension ending in yet another
black man dead. That style makes its way through each of the three
From there, though, the move turns back to the journalist, who
caught a flat and started looking for someone to guide him around late
in the evening. He offers $20 to one hood, who turns around and says,
"Man, you think I'm gonna jeopardize my life for $20? Are you crazy?"
The journalist makes his last plea to the hood, and then the scene
turns back to the narrative, during which the journalist is trying to
type the story after being out until dawn. "I know my editor isn't
going to run this story unless I detail the crime wave madness first
hand, but I also know now that that isn't the real story. See, crime
has been around ever since the dawn of time. But you know, my partner
and I had somethin very real in common last night - fear. Fear of the
ghetto, and that's why the ghetto remains a ghetto."
Some very profound material for what looked like a typical
gangsta album. It had me looking forward to hearing the rest of it,
but it did move back into just the typical gangsta set that I was
expecting. The music wasn't too bad, and Prodeje showed off some
skills on the mic, but everything else was your stereotypical gangsta
subject: hoes, murders, money, police brutality, and so on, and while
police brutality needs to be addressed, another "Fuck the Police"
track is not the way to go about it. There's more truth to "Everybody
Wanna G-sta" than they realize.
If you like this genre, you certainly won't be disappointed by
this album. Personally, though, I've had enough of it, and I would
hope that more groups could get out of that mold and move on to more
important topics, like why there's still no visible unity among black
people. Havoc and Prodeje should have spent more time delving into
the deep stuff in their first track than just being typical gangstas.
pH level - 3 / pHair
PATRA, "QUEEN OF THE PACK"
I don't know as much about dancehall reggae as I should, aside
from the solid efforts of Shabba Ranks, Buju Banton, Tiger and
Supercat, among a few others here and there. Supercat did drop one of
the top jams of 1992 with "Ghetto Redhot," and Shabba's work with many
people is well documented. So when Patra dropped the remake to the
Lyn Collins classic "Think (About It)," I didn't really blink.
That is, I didn't really blink until I heard the hip hop
remix, which made me bounce. That's when I decided to see how much
the claim of Dancehall Queen would really apply to Patra on this debut
The result? Well, it's pretty average.
Patra uses less skills as a chatter and more sex appeal as a
hook for her material, and that keeps this album from being as good as
it probably should be. Granted, she does catch some wreck on tracks
like "Wok The Money" and "Whining Skill," but too much of her style is
wrapped up in her sex appeal, which is thrown all over the artwork of
the album as well. One picture on the CD insert has her opening up
her jacket to reveal almost all of her breasts. Nice shot, but what
about the music?
Part of it may have to do with the producers, who were off the
mark on a couple of things. Patra's duet with Christopher Williams
"Sexual Feeling" was more or less a dancehall retake on his duet with
Mary J. Blige. Her duet with Yo-Yo "Romantic Call" was working until
the producers got away from the solid dancehall riddim and threw an
unnecessary snare drum pattern over Yo-Yo's rhyme. If it would have
stayed dancehall all the way through, it probably would have worked.
The CD copy featured the one Patra song that caught my
attention, the remix of "Think (About It)." But one great song and a
bunch of average ones does not a solid album make. If you liked that
hip hop remix, or the song in general, then just get the single.
Patra shows some promise, but in this writer's humble opinion, she
hasn't earned the title of Dancehall Queen just yet.
pH level - 3 / pHair
SnoMan, "The Exceptional One"
Produced by Maestro, Swift C, Jay Johnson
Scratches by DJ Nabs
Hark, tha SnoMan cometh! At last!
Me and SnoMan go back a ways, so to speak. We've met a few
times, but it's a different way that we go back. I remember sitting in
his manager's office (Lisa Jackson, who is also the concert promoter
that gave me my first solo shot) and listenin' to this demo by this
kid from D.C., "Money." It was nice. It had that universal appeal.
and this guy was Spreadin' the similes like it was a disease. The
lines was dope.
But that was three years ago and a lot has changed, yet not a
note changed from that demo to its release as a single on Conquest/
Ichiban records. That is the only thing that will hold SnoMan back in
my opinion. The production is yesterday style. Not that it ain't
good. I can dig it. It's just not today's market. Very clean drum
machine beats, played instrument melodies, 808 but not that Miami
But the Rhymes! SnoMan is on somethin', not totally bugged
out, but I don't think any other emcees would say this kinda stuff.
(Well maybe me -- he got a couple lines that are close to some of my
stuff.) He pulls the craziest phrases out. "Don't give me that Go
West, young man, Go West/There's gold in them thar' hills Mess..."
Where did that come from? I know where, but why? I, of course bein' an
Atlanta Native and one who loves givin' crazy props to the home town,
also enjoyed his frequent Atlanta references. (He's From D.C. but has
lived here now for three years) "I got more juice than Ron Gant's
Louisville Slugger's got base hits" or "Braves won the pennant,
Falcons beat Tampa/I hate to be the damper on an evening in
He is even a prophet of sorts "I'm a Saint like Bobby
Hebert..." written before the season. And where does this Saint play
Now? (Who beat the Cowboys?) Still, his skills are in there all
around. He is a great observer of everyday life (not necessarily
rugged gunplay, etc., but real life) as well as the man with mad
similes. Beware of the relationship songs -- too many for most heads.
"Love Thang," "Love for the Last time," "I'll Make you Moan," along
with the DOPE "Sno's Drinkin' Milk" may turn you off by the sheer
number. However, for me cuts like "Disneyland" (don't judge a book by
its cover), "Take a Hit and Catch a Buzz," "If you're happy and you
know it," (I told you other emcees don't say stuff like this) and "You
Gotta Slave" are well worth it for the uniqueness of SnoMan.
"Money" and "Follow for Now", which were on a compilation
album a while back are also included on the LP. So if you like to
take a chance on something different, then go get it. However, if you
only listen to what you should listen to (i.e. the Source best buys,
or that "underground" gangsta stuff, etc.) then you ain't gonna like
pH rating - 4 / pHine
ARTIST: Smokin Suckaz wit Logic
ALBUM : Playin' Foolz
LABEL : Epic/Sony
RATING: 5 (pHunky)
I don't think that anybody can debate the fact that live music
is becoming an important part of hip-hop today. Bands like Urban
Dance Squad, Shootyz Groove, and now Smokin Suckaz wit Logic are
setting the pace for the future.
I think that the problem previous groups have had is that they
focused on the music and not enough on the lyrics and flow. On top
of that, the music they played didn't sit well with true hip-hop
fans. SSL takes care of all of the above problems. Their music is
straight up funky -- it has a hard edge to it, but the funk is
definately there. SSL is also strong lyrically, and rapper G (Suave)
has a real cool flow. His voice is gruff, but yet he manages to stay
Every single song on this album is incredible, but I have to
say that the most incredible track is the final cut, "Mutha Made
'Em", on which the band plays a familiar loop (that Edie Brickell and
the New Bohemians track, "What I Am") and G just flows like a river.
His lyrics show that he is definately not to be fucked with. And
damn -- the end is absolute pure adrenalein: the guitars speed up,
the music is louder, and the chant of "punk motherfuckers need to
step the fuck back!" echoes... damn... I was exhausted after
listening to this song.
My only complaint about the album is that the cassette has an
extra 10 minutes of blank space at the end of side 2. What I ended
up doing was dubbing a non-album cut I have on a promo CD of theirs.
I just wonder why they didn't do another song or two to close out the
album a little bit more evenly.
Fe sure, this album is a pick-up. This one will have quite a
few people nodding their heads in approval, no doubt.
LYRICAL PROPHETS, "I.D.G.A.F."
(Demo from On The Reel Productions)
Review by David J.
To be objective in this review is not easy. How can I say
anything bad to a group that gives me dap in one of their songs?
That's worth it at least for a cool sample I can use in the future.
But, none the less, I am supposed to be objective, so...
Just kidding, Laze. =^)
Anyway, this is the second serious demo offering from Lazy B
and DJ Qwik-Cut, who showed a little promise on their last demo, "Armed
& Dangerous," though their production was off the mark at several
spots. This time around, they said they would fix that, and they did.
They came correct with beats this time around.
The intro is filled with samples from "The Texas Chainsaw
Massacre, Part 2" in which some crazy guy walks into a radio station trying
to buy some airtime saying "You're my favorite...Music is my life" and
other creepy stuff, leading directly into the opening track, "Bust Tha
Scientifical," which naturally samples the line from Masta Ase's "Jeep
If you haven't heard Laze's flow, you may wonder what the hell
is going on. His vocal cadence moves up and down constantly as he
rhymes, reminding you a little of Parental Advisory, the group that
did the forgettable "Lifeline" on the CB4 Soundtrack. Laze isn't
biting, though, since he's had this style for a while, and he writes
some impressive lyrics for this cut, including one section of verse
about MC's who lie about their sex habits on the mic:
Simply the type of lyrics you'd expect from Captain Kangaroo,
or maybe from your girlfriend who's never ever bangin' you.
Oh, I'm so sorry Mr. Blue Balls.
She said no, kicked you in the nuts and watched you fall
down a flight of stairs. Man, ain't that a bitch?
I'm standin' at the bottom waiting with a switch,
beat on your ass like my name was Lawrence Powell,
then call your ass a chicken, 'cause you're so fuckin' foul.
Say you knock the boots, I don't believe a word you say.
I know you gets none, like your name was Martay.
Laze drops computer underground names on several occasions,
including Martay and The East Coast Tribe, Sudden Death, SHYGUY
Productions, and some guy from Blue Riddle Productions named David J.
Wonder who he is...
Anyway, as much as Lyrical Prophets have improved from their
previous efforts, they're still off on a few counts. For one thing,
the samples they used on "I Don't Give A F..." seemed too cheerful for
the lyrics, which take the dozens to violent new heights. On "The
Mood Is In My Music," Laze basically rhymed over a whole Kenny G song,
which may be the biggest music bite since Madonna jacked Public Enemy
on "Justify My Love." At the same time, the samples they hooked up
for "On The Reel" are as smooth as anything on the market today, and
the 2 AM freestyle on "East Coast Stylin'" is solid.
All in all, for the price Laze is asking on this one ($6,
including postage), this is a computer underground effort worth the
price of admission. You can get a copy of "I.D.G.A.F." by sending
your check or money order to: On The Reel Productions
22 Lightning Drive
Medford, NJ 08066-9572
pH level - 4 / pHine
I also give it a pH 4 of fine. Laze shows much promise on the
mic, although I preferred his straight-up rap style of the
alt.rap.unsigned tape to the roller coaster flow of the new LP.
Regardless, he has an abundance of dope metaphors, dope samples, and
DJ Qwik-Cut is straight up dope as DJ/Producer.
Bust the Scientifical is the obvious contender for #1 song on
the album... the Masta Ase sample is excellent and Laze is living
larger "than Morganna's breasts." I like the beat, the style,
everything about the cut screams PHAT!
"I Don't Give a Fuck" has a great intro from Juice (one of my
all time favorite movies), but I don't think the music quite fits the
mood. Regardless, the lyrics are Ziplock (TM, Charles Isbell) and
quite dope. This one too is PHAT.
I'm sure you're thinking by now, "DAMN, does everybody feel
this way about Laze's new shit?", but I gots ta say that David J is
for the most part right. I probably liked "I Don't Give a Fuck" a
little more than he did, and the LP a little less as a whole, but we
more or less agree. "East Coast Stylin" is so phat he should hook up
with B-Right and Martay to make an all out East Coast assualt,
knowhatI'msayin? And the Kenny G shit has got to go... cmon if you
had to sample someone you could've at least given us a man with SOUL,
like Branford Marsalis. Hell, even Clinton could whup Kenny-I-Wish-
I think if Laze switches back to his straight up rhyme style,
especially that of "Must Be the Music" from alt.rap.unsigned.tape,
and gets some phatter yet production, he'll be set to blow up large.
Meantime, keep an eye out for more phat releases from his undaground
NEW KINGDOM, "HEAVY LOAD"
(Gee Street/4th & B'way Records)
A look inside the insert of this CD reveals a large red, white
and blue vehicle called "The Freedom Bus" and a couple of men dressed
so much like hippies that they make De La Soul's debut album look
like an Ice Cube rec. Amidst this early 70's revival, there's a note
beneath the album credits and thanks yous that reads: "No
thanks...The Palladium for the beatdown."
Judging from the sound of this album, I'd say the folks at The
Palladium knew what they were doing.
I tried hard to find something good to write about this album,
since The Funky Homosapien himself did some remixes for this group's
first single, "Good Times," and though it wasn't special, it was more
than tolerable. But this album makes that single sound like "93 Till
Infinity." Not one track moved me to think it was worth another listen.
Nasoj and Sebastian just can't get one groove out of this
album. From the first listen to "Headhunter" to the aimless "Mars,"
the beats do nothing to grab you. They sit there like they just
don't care. The rest of the music grated on me so hard that it made
this album too painful for me to listen to it.
And the rhymes? They just scream something that may have some
deeper meaning to them, but it doesn't mean a thing to anyone else.
It sure didn't mean anything to me. "I ain't your frontman / cause I
ain't frontin' man / I just wanna flow like a stream / and when I let
go you know I sound like a dream. / See I ain't got styles / just got
my soul / and a train couldn't stop me / when I'm on a roll..."
A dream? More like my worst nightmare. The lack of style
here reveals a soul capable of producing nothing of any quality
whatsoever. For the label that brought us the likes of Rumble and
P.M. Dawn, this shouldn't surprise anyone. But even P.M. Dawn had
"Plastic." New Kingdom has nothing at all.
When you drop this "Heavy Load," be sure to flush.
pH level - 1 / pHukkit
Das EFX, "Straight Up Sewaside"
What can I say? The diggedy Das squad is back but without the
stiggedy style. I gots to admit I like the new schwing, but it needs a
lil something more...
Not a lot to tell here. You know these kids, they came
Straight From the Sewer on their first LP, "Dead Serious." Now they
are even more serious, cuz this time it's "Straight Up Sewaside" if
you fuck with these ruffnecks, or should I say ruffnek. They seem
Kaught up in Da intentional misspelling of song names for hardcore
effek, a la Onyx.
'Freakit' features a dope sample of themselves, some eerie
loops in the intro, and a wicked flow that leaves you ten seconds
behind trying to catch up with all their different similies and
metaphors. The song works, cause they "blast off ass like NASA", and
it's so good you'll want to follow their advice: "If you like this
then you can quote this." Judging by this one song alone you'd
really think they "swing with more hits than the Oakland A's."
'Caught in da Ak' isn't bad either. The sample of the Beastie
Boys is by now long overused, and the censorship is played, but as
usual the crew can rhyme a good tale with much pizazz and flair.
I also like 'Undaground Rapper' a lot. Something about it
just smacks me between the eyes and screams PHAT!, especially the
"Make way for the underground rapper" chrous... it smokes like a
philly on Friday night.
My problem with this LP is that despite dropping the diggedy
Dasness of their debut, it still sounds like the same shit. Basically
it's Dead Serious, pt II. At least it has one up on Snoop, which was
Chronic pt. II. Das at least managed to maintain their dopeness,
whereas Snoop deteriorated into a pile of weak ass garbage.
So I guess what I am saying is if you have the ducats to drop,
this is not a waste. It has much ba-bump, ba-bump, to make your
speakers pop, and Drayz and Books in reverse Skoob flip words like yo
mama flips pancakes. If you like Das you won't want to miss it.
pH rating : 4 - pHine
**********************STAY TUNED HIP HOP FANS*************************
That's all we have to say for now (and we've been sayin' a
lot lately), but don't fret just because you got to the end and want
more. Wait until you see what HardC.O.R.E. throws at you next
issue, such as tons more reviews, another look at the De La/Quest/
Souls of Mischief tour, and your official New Jack Hip Hop Awards
Voting Ballot. Can't complain about your favorite artist losing if
you don't vote, right?
MERRY CHRISTMAS, MUTHAPHUCKAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! =^)