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Section 1 -- One --- --- --- ---- ---- CCCCC OOOOO RRRR EEEE | H | / A \ | R | |D \ C O O R R E |---| |---| |--/ | | C O O RRRR EEEE | | | | | \ | / C O O R R E --- --- --- --- -- -- ---- CCCCC.. OOOOO.. R R.. EEEE.. 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 ***A*** 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 B Article - Hip-Hop Down Under C Article - The Atlanta Scene D Article - Souls/Tribe/De La E Article - ..tha Old School F Article - G. Melle Mel G Da 411 - N.J.H.H.A. part 1 H Da 411 - N.J.H.H.A. part 2 I Article - Dr. Dre J Article - pH Rate It! K Review - A.T.C.Q. 003 Live for You pHunky Reviews A Article - HardCORE pH scale B Review - Pudgee, Shaquille C Review - Wu-Tang Clan D Review - Ice Cube E Review - Havoc & Prodeje F Review - Patra G Review - SnoMan H Review - S.S.w.L. I Review - Lyrical Prophets Lyrical Prophets J Review - New Kingdom K Review - Das EFX ***B*** 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 Crossover EPMD 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 ***A*** 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 think. Vaccuum: Phat. 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 are off. Rotation Weight: Take _The Chronic_ weight and subtract a little less than half. Message: Um.... -------------------------------------------------------------------------- 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 multi-platinum success. 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 name. 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...." Nice music. 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 good job. "As I breeze thru 2 in the mornin' And the party's still jumpin' 'Cause my momma ain't home" "Now that... 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 useless skit. "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 okay. "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 DeeOhDoubleGee 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. Anyway. 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.... [ (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 me. "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 Oooooh 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 cursin'. "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 Stroll 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" Nice on. "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 Down." "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 non-standard. "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. Hmmmmmmmm. 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 boppable. 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. ***B*** David J ------- 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 commercials. 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 Australian groups: 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 for it.) 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 careful. =^) ***C*** Martin Kelley ------------- Atlanta Scene 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 ya' informed. 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! Peace, Martay ***D*** Steve Juon ---------- 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 was perfect. 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 major. 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, WEAK, 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 ***E*** Ryan MacMichael --------------- Back to tha Old School by Laze 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 laid down. "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 samples. 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 they were. ***F*** William Watson -------------- More on Grandmaster Flash/Melle Mel/Furious Five: writes: >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 <>, writes: >One record says, "We Don't Work For Free", featuring Melle Mel, Scorpio, >and Cowboy. > >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 ALT-RAP POSSE. William ***G*** Charles L Isbell ---------------- Rules for the Annual New Jack Hip Hop Awards (1993 version) ----- --- --- ------ --- ---- --- --- ------ ----- -------- (last updated 12/7/1993) Introduction ------------ 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: ntmtv! Eligibility ----------- 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 ------ 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: alt.rap (usenet) (usenet) (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 voting period. 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 three weeks. 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. Categories ---------- The categories are available from the awards moderator in a separate document. Charles Isbell Awards Moderator, 1991-1993 ***H*** 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,, 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 "". 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 political message. 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 ====----> Braggadacio 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 Funniest Rap Include the artist and the single. Phattest Lyric 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. Phattest DJ It's not a lost art yet. Include the album or EP. Phattest Producer(s) 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 Biggest sellout For the suckas that go pop. Should have been at least vaguely hip-hop in the first place. Include album, EP, single or whatever. Whackest rapper The weakest, but visible, whackster of the year. Include album, EP, single or whatever. Biggest Disapointment 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 single. Best Comeback 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. ----- ***I*** David J ------- 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 real. 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." ***J*** Steve Juon ---------- Did you like it? pH rate it! The concept: wrote: : 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 : JUONSTEVENJA@BVC.EDU The results: Ave rating for: A Tribe Called Quest - Midnight Marauders 5 Digital Underground - Body Hat Syndrome 3.5 Comments on Midnight Marauders: From: Doesn't hit as hard as LET -- more jazzy and smoothed out. From: 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. From: 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 From: 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. From: 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. From: 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: From: 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 From: I'd definitely give DU's BODY HAT SYNDROME a pHuncky pHive on the HardCORE scale. From: 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. From: 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 the mainstream. From: 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. ***K*** 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 stack. 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 for ATCQ. 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. Sounds: JazzyBopBopBamBapBopPhat+. 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). Label: Jive. 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 chance. Three listens later, I realized that it was one of the best things I'd ever heard. 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 Inhale...." 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 good. "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" Pretty nice. 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, yes, 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 exercise. 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 ***A*** David J ------- 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! ***B*** Tyrone Ellison -------------- Artist: Pudgee Tha Phat Bastard Album: Give 'em The Finger Rating: pHine [4] 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 "Represent." 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 [3] 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 debut album. 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 becoming Waq. ***C*** Michael Carnevale ----------------- 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 Intermission Wu-Tang Sword Side: Da Mystery of Chessboxin' Wu-Tang Clan Ain't Nuthing Ta F' Wit C.R.E.A.M. Method Man Protect Ya Neck Tearz 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 rhymers. 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) "Tiger Style!" 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. C.R.E.A.M. (4:12) "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..." Tearz (4:17) 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 city. 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 intermission. 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......" ***D*** Steve Juon ---------- 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 Cube's style. 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. ***E*** David J ------- HAVOC AND PRODEJE, "LIVIN' IN A CRIME WAVE" (G.W.K./Pump Records) 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 verses. 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 ***F*** David J ------- PATRA, "QUEEN OF THE PACK" (Epic Records) 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 album. 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 ***G*** Martin Kelley ------------- 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 Drop shit. 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 Atlanta..." 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 it. pH rating - 4 / pHine ***H*** Ryan MacMichael --------------- 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 smooth. 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. ***I*** David J ------- 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... This sucks. 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 Ass Niguh." 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 ---------- Steve Juon ---------- 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-Was-a-G's ass. 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 vaults. ***J*** David J ------- 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 ***K*** Steve Juon ---------- 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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! =^) L8A...


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