Wednesday, October 11, 2006

My Sister Site ... Or Should I Say "Sista" Site?

For all my readers (both of you) please check out my companion site, created by my longtime companion and dear dear friend Mike "Don" Jerome Cialini. He calls the site Number One Chief Rocka, and it is an excellent hip hop lyrics blog.

Mike tackles A Tribe Called Quest (one good verse, one bad), The GZA, Tim Dog, Gang Starr, Big L, Nas and more. Check it out and drop a comment.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Bo$$ - "Recipe of a Hoe"

Bo$$ used to scare the shit outta me. Bo$$ was an unlikely name for a female rapper, but she had the goods. She had a hard voice, decent lyrics and really good beats. (This video has a little hiss, but you can get the idea of it. Also, I'm printing the dirty version of the lyrics, which are so much dirtier than the video version.)

Bo$$ knew how to get the funk out of the West Coast sound at the time, right before it all turned into phony g-funk garbage. The video is little more than Bo$$ running around in a Carhart jacket, skullcap and black Loc's in the ghetto with a sepia-toned spotlight on her. But the song is nice. I love the "ya, ya gotta, ya-ya ya gotta, ya gotta let a hoe be a hoe!" chorus and the smooth bassline. They don't make 'em like this anymore.

[Note: the embedding was removed on this video, but you can find it by clicking HERE.]

If yous a tramp 4ss n***a or no good n***a you get dissed quick!
But ain't no tellin ya know my personalities split
I could just gank you for
Your s**t without a warning
Or f**k it!
Shoot you now and get all this
S**t over with by the morning!
F**k yeah!
I'm feelin' on full too
Another reason ya hoe cards pulled fool
I'm down with all this s**t you poppin'
Hell f**k Naw!
I don't wanna put a stoppin' to your hoe hoppin'
Cuz when ya' runnin the motha f**kin streets
In between the sheets every
Week screwin freak after freak
BO$$ is straight kickin' in the do' at ya crib
With enough time to kill a 40 O.Z. thats how I live!
Jackin' for cash and jewelry and all that s**t
Then off to the pawn shop to get another fat 4ss grip
And that's exactly how it is g!
On the real tip..tip...tip..
I know the f**kin' recipe!

Young Black Teenagers - "Tap the Bottle"

Oh boy. If these dudes didn't try so hard to act black, this song would have been easily as big a hit as "Jump Around."

Their name, after all, is Young Black Teenagers, and they are all very clearly caucasian. We all wanted to be black back then, babies. We just didn't call ourselves that. It is very uncomfortable to watch white guys with dreadlocks speak in urban dictions. However they do throw a black guy in for about two lines about 3.5 minutes in to show their cred.

This song could also be seen as a bit of a rip-off of "Jump Around" in several ways. Let's count them.

1) The intro where they are saying "Camron is in the house and uh..." etc is a direct rip off of the "The House of Pain is in effect ya'll..." intro of "Jump Around." Look it up.

2) It has lots of white people jumping around in a semi-rhythmic motion.

3) It has the same kind of screeching, squealing sound effect as House of Pain used with the Prince sample from "Gett Off." (Look THAT up too!)

Having said all that... it is a really kick-ass song, and really encapsulates the high-energy type of thing that was coming out in 1992. And it's not nearly as overplayed as "Jump Around" to be relegated to musical wallpaper when it comes on. I still get a genuine thrill out of hearing it.

Okay here I go Shorty tap the forty O smash
To a pass, if ya crash make a dash to the trash
Tap a cap, have alot and not alot not a little
Don't grade upon the label take a guzzle, don't dribble
I got the supercalafragileisticexpialadoucious
You're commin to close to this, I get ferocious
Coax this rhyme, smoke this rhyme hype
When we rock it up on the mic, we rock the mic right
Pass the funnel to the tunnel like it's busy till I'm dizzy
Never pass it to get fizzy cause the guard gets busy
Who is he?
Damn just pass the code decipher
When I hit the dress bottom buy a can of Red Stripe

D-Nice - "Call Me D-Nice"

Many years before Stuart Scott began calling every athlete who's name began with the letter "D" D-Nice, there was this guy, the real D-Nice. He was also known as the Human TR-808, which I can't figure out, because I don't remember him doing a beatbox even once. Of course, KRS-ONE continued calling himself "DJ KRS" for the longest time and I don't think I ever heard him cut up one record.

Anyway, D-Nice was one of the earlier members of Boogie Down Productions, and by most accounts, he got DJ Scott La Rock killed (despite what others may think). D-Nice was a relatively good lyricist, though he fell into that kind of tried-and-true BDP mold: always trying to be conscious, always having KRS-ONE's back, etc.

One of my favorite memories of this album goes like this: I'm listening to this album with my boy Mike Cialini, and there is a song called "The TR-808 is Coming" and as was KRS's custom, he would always tell you what year that song in question was fresh for. The album came out in 1990, so KRS says the song is "fresh for 1990, and also fresh for nineteen ninety one and two." Flash forward a couple years to 1993; Cialini and I are inexplicably listening to this album and that song comes on. He says "fresh for nineteen ninety one and two" and I say to Mike, "Man, he's right this song sucks now. I remember thinking it was good last year."

I guess you had to be there.

I start to think, a very big conscious all around me
Who will be the sucker MC to try to doubt me
Is it you, or you, or you, or you, or him
But I'm like a tree and every lyric is a limb
You throw it on the turntable, very unstable
But you gamble because you need that example
There's a 1000 MC's on the planet earth now
What is the word you say to get hers
Some like to explain, some talk educated
Some like McBoo, he's X-rated
I like to think of myself as a pure rebel
A radical thinker on a musical level
'Cause suckers wanna stop me and girls wanna kiss
Wherever I go, yo, it seems I can't be dis
'Cause my name is D-Nice but all the girls call me Derek
It ran through my crew so I guess I've inherit
The job of explaining and also retaining
The fact D-Nice is remaining
Not a king nor a prince but as a teacher
Wit dopies like this, I know I'm gonna reach ya
So now I don't think you should all despise
This fact D-Nice is on a rise
Straight to the top like a bubble of water
It's a slaughter so I think you oughta
Think realistically, not egotistically
It's suicide if you even think of dissing me
'Cause if you try, I'm a make you wait
To learn the reason I'm the 808, but just call me D-Nice

Friday, October 06, 2006

Wu-Tang Forever: Director's Cut

Okay, so I am attaching this video for "Triumph" by the Wu-Tang Clan here as an excuse for the rest of this blog. It's strictly an excuse. I will make no comment of the overblown dramatics of the silly "Killer Beez" story line or the cheapo Brett Ratner direction and graphics. That's not why I'm here.

First, a little background.

Many of us remember the summer of 1997. I think it was July. Third Eye Blind was teaching us all how to smile again. Men in Black was taking the nation by storm. I was between my junior and senior years in college, painting dorms and just kicking ass in general.

The most anticipated albums of that summer in William H. Shannon's world were Wu-Tang Forever by the Wu-Tang Clan and For the People by the Boot Camp Clik. I would have to say that both were disappointments. I only listened to For the People once straight through because I thought it was that much of a piece of crap. The Wu album was also not very good, but with an asterisk.

*The album would have been good if they could have cut it in half.

I know I sound like a bit of a hypocrite here, because I was just bitching about how Nas's first album was too short, and now here I am blaming the Wu for packing two full discs worth of music. But let's face it, the album is mediocre because it has too much music on it. The album is so jam-packed with dead weight that I could barely listen to it without wearing out the "next track" button on my CD player.

So I did something that may have never been done in the history of modern home recording: I made my own version of Wu-Tang Forever. I did this by burning my own single-disc copy of the album, and eliminating all the bad songs on it.

For example, you will find no record of the very first track, "Wu-Revolution," on the director's cut of Wu-Tang Forever. Nor will you find awful songs like "Black Shampoo" or "For Heaven's Sake."

In fact, here is the track list:

  1. Reunited
  2. Cash Still Rules/Scary Hours (Still Don't Nothin Move But the Money)
  3. Visionz
  4. As High As Wu-Tang Get
  5. Severe Punishment
  6. Older Gods
  7. Maria
  8. A Better Tomorrow
  9. It's Yourz
  10. The City
  11. The Projects
  12. Bells of War
  13. Duck Seazon
  14. Triumph
  15. Deadly Melody
  16. Hellz Wind Staff
  17. Heaterz

Notice, from the first disc, I have removed "Wu-Revolution" and "For Heaven's Sake," only two tracks, finally confirming for the world that the first disc of this album was far superior. From the second disc, the cutting was much more ruthless. I removed "Intro," "Impossible," "Little Ghetto Boys," "The MGM," "Dog Sh*t," "Black Shampoo," "Second Coming" and "The Closing." What a crappy second disc.

I still claim that if the Wu had simply gone with this track listing on a single disc rather than the one they came up with, Wu-Tang Forever would be considered an outstanding album. Certainly not as good as their first, but close. It's a solid album all around, just with too much filler. The album never gathers any momentum because of some seriously mediocre songs.

If the Wu or any other rap group would like a little A&R help, go ahead and give me a holler. I mean after all, Wu-Tang, who's your A&R? A mountain climber who plays an electric guitar? But 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.

[By the way, fellas. I am really enjoying the comments on this blog lately. Keep them coming. It will definitely inspire me to post more often.]

Luke - "Cowards in Compton" (feat. Clayvosie and JT Money)

You asked for it, you got it.

Okay, so it's not that great a song, and Luke doesn't perform anything that could be considered a "rap" on it. (He's more like the narrator.) But for sheer chutzpah, this song had it back in the day. Back when few people were ready to mess with Death Row Records. But when the feud between Dr. Dre and Luke (aka Luther Campbell, formerly Luke Skywalker of 2 Live Crew) came out on Dre's 1992 album The Chronic, Luke had to respond.

Essentially, Luke uses this song to call out Dre and Snoop for being gangsters, when in actuality, Dre had been part of the electro-soul group World Class Wreckin' Cru, where he would routinely wear makeup and shiny outfits.

The video does a pretty good job making fun of Dre's two signature videos of this time period -- "Dre Day" and "Nuthin' But a G Thang."

The lyrics are actually pretty good, but the beat is typical Miami gangster stuff.

It's about time for me to tear the roof off the mother
I grab the gat to make you punks run for cover
You can fool a groupie, but you can't fool a gangsta
1985, you used to be a prankster
Down with Lonzo and the Wreckin' Cru
Turnin' off the lights and dressin' like women too
Everybody on Death Row must be a joke
I put a level to the chair and watch you punks smoke
Real gangstas don't follow punks down here
I guess your boy Snoopie Dogg must be a queer
So who the hell you gonna blast here in Miami?
Step to me and I'll kill your whol' family
And I do mean hoe', you think I'm playin', son?
I got my glock to your head, now where you gonna run?
Before you diss my homie Luke, you better think twice
I'll pull a trigger, punk, and turn off your life

Nasty Nas - "Halftime"

Some of you who were listening to rap music in 1994 remember when the Source gave a five mic review to Nas's Illmatic album. And this was back when "Five Mics" actually meant something at the Source. Unlike now...(Li'l Kim's "The Naked Truth"???? Are you kidding me???)

Anyway, Illmatic actually is a great album, even though it's only 10 tracks long and the first track is an intro. But one of the tracks on the album is from 1992, when Nasir Jones was known as "Nasty Nas." He had previously dropped a couple verses on posse cuts like Main Source's "Live at the BBQ" and MC Serch's "Back to the Grill." But this song is the one that got my attention.

It has a hot bassline, that awesome horn riff and that unusual wailing voice. The video isn't much, but the lyrics are great; tight but versatile. I love the flow on this song. The multi-syllabic rhyme scheme was still in its early stages and this song showcases it beautifully, damn-near making every word rhyme in multiple sentences. I was a little disappointed when I heard he was changing his name to just "Nas," especially since so many people out of the loop pronounced it "Nass." Of course those same people would have said "Nasty Nass" anyway so what do I care. This song was the first glimpse of what Nas would have to offer as a solo artist, and not just a mic-for-hire.

I got it going on, even flip 'em on this song
Every afternoon, I kick half the tune
And in the darkness, I'm heartless like when the narcs hit
Word to Marcus Garvey or heartless Sparkton
Cuz when I blast the herb, that's my word
I be slaying them fast, doing this, that and third
But chill, past the entree and let's lay
I bag bitches up at John Jay and hit a mantinee
Putting hits on 5-0
Cuz when it's my time to go, I wait for God wit the fo-fo
And biters can't come near
And yo, go to hell to the foul cop who shot Garcia
I won't plant seeds, don't need an extra mouth I can't feed
That's extra Phillie change, more cash for that weed
This goes out to Manhatten, the island of Staten
Brooklyn, Queens is living fat and
The Boogie Down, nuff props, enough clout
Ill Will, rest in peace, yo, I'm out

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Groove B. Chill - "Hip Hop Music"

This was a fun little ditty from the short-lived Groove B. Chill. It's a pretty catchy song with a well-known beat. The cutesy video was clearly made for white people, with its pan-ethnic cast, little kids trying to dance with an old lady, and the fact that they got their hip hop essence out of a Cross Colours catalog.

The song, and group for that matter, are notable for featuring character actor Daryl "Chill" Mitchell, who you may remember as wheelchair-bound Eli on the TV show "Ed," or the black guy in "Galaxy Quest," or the newbie in "Sgt. Bilko." (Trivia: he played a character named Chill both on "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" and in the first two House Party movies.)

This also points to the very likely fact that the other two members of the group are named "Groove" and "B".

Hip Hop Music - Groove B. Chill

Who said rap ain't music? Please tell me how
Elvis Presley ain't do nothin' that we ain't doin' now
Sellin' records by the millions, girls gettin' laid
We must be doin' somethin' brother, because bills gettin paid
(You mean rap is sellin'?) Nah rap done sold
We been overcame but you just wasn't... told.

Chi Ali - "Age Ain't Nothin But a #"

This one's for you Toddy.

First of all, who the f**k does Chi Ali think he is making all sorts of demands on women, saying they have to be older and more mature. Chi Ali is like 12 years old, and not even handsome. Are girls really climbing all over themselves to get with him?

Not to mention the fact that he's telling these girls they have to grow up and be more mature, but he's still making songs about lemonade and videos with cartoon coyotes chasing after him.

Get a clue Chi Ali. Just because Dres from Black Sheep is your brother, don't think you have his "skillz."

Chi-Ali is currently serving a 14-year prison sentence in Elmira Correctional facility over the murder of his ex-girlfriend's brother in 2000. The dispute was over $300 and some CDs!!!! And his real name is Chi-Ali Griffith! He was actually profiled on America's Most Wanted.

And to the cops of Fulton County (GA), he was known as a fugitive!

Walking down the street and I saw this honey
She was dipped, the opposite of bummy
I stepped to her, I said "Yo you look swell"
Give me your number, you have a man, I won't tell
It really don't matter cause to me it means nothing
Next time I'm feeling rough, I'll just snuff him
Anyway, how old are you G?
13, I'm Audi
The girl said, "Hold up, who you think you are?"
I said, "I'm Chi-Ali, a superstar"
She said, "I may be young but don't be mislead
With this dope body you'll choose me instead"
I said, "Don't get me wrong, your body may be ready
But come back in three years when your mind is more steady
I'm not trying to diss you, I'm just trying to blow up"
But do me a favor, hon, and grow up

Wu-Tang Clan - "M.E.T.H.O.D. Man"

By popular demand...

Say what you will about the Wu. In fact, I will say something: their first album is one of the top five hip hop albums ever created. After that they put out various product from excellent, like Liquid Swords and ...Cuban Linx..., all the way down to piss-poor, like Bobby Digital and Heavy Mental. I have always said Wu-Tang Forever would have been a classic album if they had gotten rid of the dead weight like the first track and "Black Shampoo" and only put the one album's worth of outstanding songs on there. In fact, I may just create my own Wu-Tang Forever single-album using the power of CD burning technology.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes. Say what you will about the Wu-Tang Clan, but they are essentially marketing geniuses. Or were at one time. They branded themselves with the awesome "W" logo that my boy Don C has proudly tattooed on his arm. (In fact, can we get a pic of that, Mikey?) The used to have the perfect knack for releasing their solo albums: just when you were getting sick of the last one, they would crank out the next one. They did it like that for about 3 years.

But this song is exactly why they are genius, for two reasons. One, they get the most marketable of their MCs (yes, that includes ODB) and have him put out a very catchy, but dirty rap song. Dirty meaning grimy. But the real genius is the prelude to the song. Since the Wu was trying to pimp out their brand, they had to have a hook, and their hook was that they had 8 MCs, all (well most) talented, and they had this mystique about them. But since this was the single, it would be the most played of their songs at first. So what do they do? They run down all 8 members of the Clan right off the bat, so you know exactly who you're dealing with.

Anyone who knows this song knows the timeless intro of "From the slums of Shaolin, Wu-Tang Clan strikes again, the RZA, the GZA, Old Dirty Bastard, Inspektah Deck, Raekwon the Chef, U-God, Ghostface Killah and the Method Man..." And usually when any of us recite the eight members of the Clan, we do it in that order. Genius. (And I don't mean GZA.)

Clip is loaded when I click bang dang
A Wu-Tang slug hits your brain
J-U-M-P jump and I thump
Make girls rumps like pump and Humpty Hump
Wow, the Shaolin style is all in me
Child, the whole damn isle is callin me
P-A-N-T-Y-R-A-I-D-E-R mad raw I don't cry
Meaning no one can burn or toss and turn me
Ooh I be the super sperm
Chim chimmeny chim chim cherie
Freak a flow and flow fancy free
Now how many licks does it take
For me to hit the Tootsie Roll center of a break
Peep and don't sleep the crews mad deep Wu-Tang
Fadin motherf**kers like bleach
So to each and every crew
You're clear like glass I can see right through
You're whole damn posse be catchin em all cause you vic'd
and ya didnt have friends to begin with

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Goodie Mob - "Soul Food"

Before Cee-Lo was in Gnarls Barkley, most of us remember him from the Goodie Mob, along with Big-Gipp, T-Mo and Khujo. Goodie Mob, incidentally, had one of the coolest acronyms in rap: "The GOOD DIE Mostly Over Bulls--t." And what was cool about these guys was not only their crazy pre-Dirty South look, but their rapid fire delivery and overlapping lyrics.

In this video they are all working in a fast food joint, getting hassled by customers and the boss. And they are bad employees! There is something about all their faces I just love. And I like that when they leave their corporate job, they hang out at a diner in the middle of the night eating food that you have to sing-song to talk about. Corn-BREAAAAD, CHIT-liiiiins, Collard GREEENS, etc.

Sunday morning where you reating at?
I'm on 1365 Wichita Drive
Ole' burd working the stove ride
Churches dripping chicken in yesterday's grease
Didn't go together with this quart of Mickey's
Last night hanging over from a good time
yeah beef is cheaper but
It's pumped with "red dye" between two pieces of bread
Shawty look good with dem hairy legs
Wish I could cut her up but, ma stomach come before sex
A house full of hoes now what's the ingredient
Spaghetty plus her monthly flow

The Scratch Story with Jessica Jason (feat. Whiz Kid and Jazzy Jay)

This is some kind of PSA from 1981, and it's almost 7 minutes long.

Jazzy Jay is one of the great old school DJ's, and here he shows some ingenue how the black guys scratch records. It's like DJing 101. Jazzy Jay wasn't going to use up his good stuff here, but it's pretty cool anyway. It's almost like a commercial for old school rap.

What's amazing is that when this video came out, hip hop was essentially 6 years old or so. That puts some s--t in perspective. I do love the way this chick calls it "scratch music." And also notice how Jazzy Jay moves right in on Jessica as soon as Whiz Kid has his hands busy. And Jessica does a nice job of whitely nodding her head as if she has any idea what's going on.

RZA and Ol' Dirty Bastard at a Talent Show

By demand...

This pretty much tells you everything you need to know about the Wu. This is a very slim Ol' Dirty Bastard and the RZA performing at some kind of talent show. Basically Dirt McGirt and Zig-Zag-Zig-Allah just bullshit for about a minute fifteen. What is remarkable is that they yell at the soundman to turn the music down, and then speak nothing but pure nonsense for about a minute. Then RZA starts talking about "d--k hardening" and "p---y wetting" and then someone comes out and tells him to keep it clean.

Then RZA starts to bust a very weak freestyle about getting a hummer from some chick, while some random dude in a 1987-era Chess King shirt walks behind him at about 1:45. Seriously, if this was the first you had seen of the RZA, you would never have known they would have ruled hip hop for about a half-decade. Kind of amazing really.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Bigg Jus - "Silver Back Mountain King"

Okay this song is clearly not from the Golden Age, given its references to 9/11 and other such things. But it is a sick, sick song and one of the coolest and most messed-up videos I have ever seen.

Anyone who always saw Bigg Jus as second fiddle to El-Producto when the two of them were in Company Flow together can just forget it. This song is as perfect a beat and lyric as El-P has ever come up with on his own. The video itself is like some kind of modern art, incredibly macabre, yet utterly compelling, with images of American history and the violence attached to it. It's one of the most breathtaking hip hop videos I've ever seen and I hope assholes like Hype Williams will watch it and feel stupid about that bullshit they have turned hip-hop videos into.

Your lust for legitimacy will put you in that chair
With real disabilities
Receive a useless martyr
Don't forsake a sacrificial starter
Repenting from deliverance
Coming with nothing but belligerence, hittin' irate
Tribulation'll be a wand to destroy this holiday
You obnoxious little fruitcake
I'm unequivocally meticulously vindictive with vengeance
Feel the ramification torturous imagination
Forever endless
I write raps, with a bloody axe
Read you the riot act
Dark days ahead, light a match.

Tommy Seebach - "Apache"

"Apache" is one of the hottest old school hip hop beats of all time, rocked by the likes of Sugar Hill Gang and the Incredible Bongo Band. It's a classic for all-time.

However, there is literally nothing -- NOTHING -- on planet Earth better than this video. The silliness quotient is off the f**king charts, with gay looking musicians, Indian dancers and lots of leaves. And the lead singer/keyboardist periodically yelling "APACHEEEEEE! AH-HA-HA-HA!" before having a dance-off with the three squaws in the video. And all set to a disco beat.

I don't think that anyone watching this will disagree with me that the highlight of the video is the 00:21 - 00:35 mark, where the keyboardist plays the ivories with the shit-eatingest grin I have ever witnessed.

(This is a serious stretch to include on this blog, but this video needs to be both my readers.)

Monday, July 24, 2006

The Alkaholiks - "The Next Level" featuring Diamond D

I included this video on here for a couple of reasons. First of all, this is a very good song off a very good album. I believe Diamond D produced it and is in the video (fat guy with funny hat and sunglasses). And that Coast II Coast album is no joke.

BUT ...

The real reason I included it is because it somehow has both the greatest and worst line in any rap song in the long and storied history of rap. First, the best line, and it's actually the first line of the song. And goes like this:

Who's the n***a everybody diss, cuz you can't bust this?
You got a bad name like Dick Butkus
But he says it like "Dick Butt-Kiss. It's so perfect. J-Ro was really something.

And then it has the worst line I think I've ever heard in a rap song, and I don't even need to give you the whole verse, just the one line, courtesy of Diamond D:

I put words together like Peter Jennings

Just humor me for a second here. First of all, why Peter Jennings? Is there no one else who puts together words? Does Peter Jennings have some sort of super word-structuring power that I never knew about? Probably not, so I can only assume that Diamond needed a name that rhymed with "Peggy Fleming" in the next line. Okay, so Jennings does the trick. But "I put words together"??? That's the best you could come up with? Diamond was never really a great rapper but he's better than that.

For all my n***az in the places with blunts in they faces
Off the two turntables with the anvil cases
It's the L-I-K's that blaze and amaze that
[Gots to roll deep] in these crazy-ass days
But the Alkaholik rhymer, King Tee and Diamond D
Got the gats pointed at ya like we're to round three
Cause nineteen ninety-four is the year we overdo it
With the house party beats and flowin like fluid
Cause ain't nothin too but to do that s**t and print it
But it's all about the loot so every move is documented
And vented, by the man born for lyric kickin
Coolin out with your b***h eatin sweet and sour chicken

Das EFX - "They Want EFX"

I don't think it would be hyperbolic to say (and boys you can disagree with me if you like) that this song had a profound direct effect on hip-hop lyrical styles for about 2-3 years.

The lyrics themselves are essentially meaningless, a hodgepodge of various nursery rhymes, cartoon characters and children's games. But they are constructed in such a skillful way that it all makes a strange sort of logical sense. Hard to understand? Yes, but after repeated listenings I find myself still catching references I didn't catch the first time.

Also it has an awesome KRS-ONE vocal sample ("They want effects...") and the amazing "[Crack] Snap a neck for some live effects" sample from Erick Sermon.

But the way Das actually changed hip-hop was by popularizing the "diggidy-diggidy" style of rapping, where you could simply add a few syllables to a line by siggidy-saying whatever you wiggidy-want. Now, Das was very skillful, and this song was essentially the first of its kind, given that it was nonsense, but conceptual nonsense; there is a definite theme. And Das was smart by not overusing the "diggidy" style. Did they use it a lot? Well yes, but they rarely seemed too gratuitous. But after this song came out, everyone from Kris Kross to Ice Cube was adding a diggidy to their lyrics. It became annoying after a while, but for a brief period it was actually a lot of fun.

Well Ill be darned, shiver me timbers, yo head for the hills
I picked a weeping willow, and a daffodil
So back up bucko or Ill pulverize McGruff
Cause this little piggy gets busy and stuff
Arrivederci, heavens to mercy, honky tonk I get swift
I caught a Snuffleufapus and smoked a boogaloo spliff
I got the nooks, the crannies, the nitty gritty fodey-doe
All aboard, cast away, hey wheres my boogaloo?
Ooooh Im steaming, a-go-ny
Why's everybody always picking on me?
They call me puddin tane, and raps my game
You ask me again and Ill t-tell you the same
cause Im the vulgar vegemintarian, so stick em up freeze
So no pork sausages, mom, please
A-blitz shoots the breeze, Twiddly-Dee shoots his lip
Crazy Drayzy shot the sheriff, yup and I shot the gift
And thats pret-ty sneak-y, sis oh yep
I got my socks off, my rocks off, my Nestle's cup of cocoa
Holly Hobby tried to slob me, tried to rob me silly stunt
Diggedy-dun dun dun dun dun, dun dun

Sadat X - "The Lump Lump"

What is more awesome than Sadat X? Trying to figure out what the f--k he's talking about. Don't get me wrong, I actually think Dotty-X was the best MC in all of Brand Nubian (and Lord Jamar was a very distant third) but I swear to the Big Man Upstairs I have no idea what he's talking about sometimes. He seems to have graduated to the Raekwon the Chef school of just throwing together a bunch of cool-sounding words and making them sound awesome.

I really am not quite sure what Sadat is trying to say here. He looks like he's trying to make a point about being faithful to your girlie-girl or that a bunch of dudes are trying to get with her, but I'm still really not sure. It's far to cerebral for me. But one thing from the video is for sure: Sadat X has sex with a lot of women. And the beat is pretty hot on this song.

Oh you got your own dough, from where I don't know
You hold degrees from two universities
Girl you're worth cheese in the nine-seis
Sadat owns apartment keys, is it Alize for Dolo
You got a mind on top of that spine plus the lump lump
Highly educated and highly motivated
Workin girl skirt tight love to hurt
What to exert, I break your next man's pocket
Smell of freak fragrant, unlike the vagrant
You can pay the rent always, and don't be gettin hallways
In the bed girlie and at work by nine
Put on the work force ridin on a iron horse
Bring it home to dad, the one piece cause I'm here
Workout baby doll and keep yo' career
No chiggedy, no diggedy, not you
Glad that I got you, when I did
Cause you was runnin wild with this out of style kid, no class
Light in the ass, white enough to pass
Shotproof glass for the midnight mass

Monday, July 17, 2006

Big L - "No Endz, No Skinz"

Okay, so this video is a little weak, especially considering what an awesome, catchy song it is. But I'm putting it out there for the God Toddy Scrills, since both he and I worship Big L in general, and this song in particular.

The song is peculiar in that Big L seems to lament the fact that you can't get a girl unless you have some cash, and it would be much less shallow to judge a guy based on his looks. Now, the late Mr. L was certainly no looker, but apparently he didn't have any cash either, and therefore had bad luck with women. This song comes from a different era, where it was okay to make fun of a woman for wanting to take all of a fella's money. You can't do that now, due to "political correctness" (thanks Hillary Clinton!), but curious that a girl can still oil herself up and shake her booty in any rap video today. Yikes.

I tell it how it is cause im a goldfigga
And I hate a money hungry girl a.k.a. golddigger
It ain't even funny
Some girls dont even know me askin me can they get some money
I'm lookin nuthin like ya poppa
I wouldnt give a chick 10 cent to put cheese on a Whopper
They wanna know why im so fly
A girl ask me for a ring and i put one around her whole eye
Chicks used to diss but now they wanna kiss
Yo Showbiz, I'ma break it down like this

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Rough House Survivors - "Rough House"

Another one of those one-off, obscure groups that was totally indicative of their era (about 1992) but never did more than put out one album/hit song. This album was actually surprisingly strong. (No doubt most of you remember their other semi-hit, "Check Da Backpack".)

This song has a wicked organ riff, a very interesting reggae-infused chorus, and decent lyrics. And of course the video -- being about a bunch of Rough Guys -- takes place in the ghettos, with a lot of chain-link fences and run-down buildings. And it's in a strange sepia/black and white that uses a lot of zooming and strobing. Yeah, the video isn't that great, and the song doesn't really deviate from the main beat at all, but I liked it when it came out.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Jimmy Smith - "Walk on the Wild Side"

I know this isn't hip-hop, but just indulge me here.

I came across this video of one of my favorite all time songs, a jazz song performed by the late Jimmy Smith, the master of the Hammond B-3 organ. It is a different version than I've ever heard before. It starts up nice and slow, and then about 3 minutes into the video starts to heat up.

It is flat-out one of the funkiest, most soulful jazz songs I can think of. It's a live television performance from 1961. You can see the master zoning out in about minute four, clearly in a zone. Great song. The original recording is one of my all-time favorite songs.

Jurassic 5 - "Concrete Schoolyard"

Okay so I am totally cheating on this song from 1997, but I love this song so much I don't even care. It has one of the baddest piano loops of all time, and sounds like an old-school throwdown, but which much better lyrics and flows than the Jurassic's 1980s predecessors. It's not an old school song, but it sure sounds like one.

The Jurassic 5 quickly shed their gimmick tag, when everyone thought early on that they were just old-school fakers. They proved to have the perfect blend of an old-school sensibility, but skilled lyrics. In other words, they weren't going to blame any weak rhymes on being "old school," but instead perfected their four-man interplay with great instrumentals.

Now I walk from Tranzania
Earthquake Transalvania
And on my way I kicked a whole through the wall of China
Just to get the right blend
Cause its schizophrenic of the pathway to livin
I fell into the deep end
You shouldn't have told me
The pyramids can hold me
So now a contest is what you owe me
Pull out your beats pull out your cuts
Give us a mic, whatup
And we goin tear shit up
I'm on some old and forgotten
Sun up to sun down
Like picking cotton
The nutty professor science droppin
Rockin Robbin's hood
From New York to Compton
Me and my three sons
Jabari, Shakir, and Kahsum

Masta Ace - Juice Crew Trivia

This is pretty awesome.

For all of us who remember the Juice Crew from the late 1980s and early '90s, this is kind of a 5-minute trip back in time. Masta Ace does a cool little thing called "Juice Crew Trivia," an old-school routine where he gets the audience to guess the name of the artist who rapped over the beat his DJ provides. He only does three Juice Crew members (and for leaving out Kool G Rap I almost want to yell at him), but it's very cool. And good to know that even in the 2000s, people still remember who the Juice Crew is.

See if you can guess the three crew members he mentions before you watch it. It's not G Rap, it's not Craig G, it's not Shante, it's not even TJ Swan. Oh, and it's not DJ Polo or Mister Cee. Or Marley Marl for that matter. That sort of narrows it down.

(Note: the sound kind of cuts out toward the middle and goes off-sync, but it's still cool to listen to.)

Del tha Funkee Homosapien - "MIstadobalina"

This is a funky song that was kind of a precursor to the "new West Coast" movement of the early 1990s. This album, I Wish My Brother George Was Here, is one of my favorites. It was brand new for its time; funky hip-hop with a weird bohemian edge. But not fake, Digable Planets-style bohemian, just an offbeat sensibility. If I could only find it on disc... sigh.

This song always intrigued me. It could mean one of two things. One, it could be an admonishment of a type of person who is a poseur, someone who jumped on the hip-hop bandwagon when it became popular. Del mentions people who used to mock him before, and now want to hang out with him. Hmmm...

But my theory has always been that the song -- and the namesake, Bob Dobalina -- represents the white man, who used to hate rap music, and now latches onto it since it is popular and can make money. Not only does the video (with suited-up caucasian businessmen) seem to support this, but a few select lyrics do as well. He speaks of serpents and snakes, which could be a veiled reference to the "white devil." (In fact, I remember reading an interview once where Del's cousin Ice Cube said about whites, and I'm paraphrasing, "All white people are snakes. Now, not all snakes are poisonous, but they are all snakes." Amen, Cube!)

Ooooo, ooooo, mistadobalina
You thought ya could manipulate
You thought you could fool me
Ooooo, ooooo, mistadobalina
Teach would have put me on a stump and then he schooled me
Friends can be fraudulent
Just you wait and see
First he was my moneygrip
Then he stole my honeydip
Mistadobalina is a serpent
Don't you agree
The little two-tima
Resembles aunt jemima
With jeans and a dirty white hoodie
Seems like he wouldn't be a snake
Or would he?

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Common Sense - "Soul By the Pound" (Remix)

Back before some queer now-defunct fag-rock band named Common Sense made him change his name, the original Common Sense (now known simply as Common) put out two of the best albms of the mid 1990s. His second album, 1994's Resurrection, is textbook hip hop for the sensitive guy who also wants to drop some clever lyrics. It was right before he turned into a loverman and decided to do R&B songs with D'Angelo and the Roots. And that Common is fine, but I miss Common Sense! This song is from the time of Common's first album, Can I Borrow a Dollar? which is another fantastic album.

Warning: This song is NOT the version that is on that album. It was a 12" single. This is one of my greatest pet peeves. And hip hop is about the only genre of music where it's a problem, because of remixes and alternate versions and whatnot. How many times have you seen a great video, then gone out to buy the album, and the version on the album is totally different from the video version? (Examples: "Buddy" by De La Soul, "Nappy Headz" (original version) by The Fugees, "I'm the Magnificent" by Special Ed, "Check Yo Self" by Ice Cube. The list goes on and on.)

But this song is far superior to the tepid album version. And Common not only has a fresh beat, but adds the awesome Grand Puba sample. And the "gimme a T.O. baby like, um, Chris Webber" always brings me right back to that time period when I hear it. Great song.

I'll buy you on a cracker, bayow, watch where the sparks went
Fatter than Dre, a Lover like Ed, super as Clark Kent
So give it away Lois, as I change clothes without a booth
And ride like this, like woof
The roof is on fire, it's not an LA riot
I got more ho-ho-hoes than the Jolly Green Giant
Large as the Professor and I'm never faking funk, hock
Fat as heavy metal yet I'm harder than punk rock
So take me to a land I know not too far away
I got skills like Tim and I'm coming in a Harda-way
So keep the crossover, Common is a b-boy
While you be dragging last, I be kicking like Bruce Leroy
Sho nuff, yo I got the stuff that tops the stove
And I am about to explo-o-o-ode!

Ice T - "You Played Yourself"

One of the coolest songs from one of the formerly coolest rappers on the planet. This song is from the Iceberg/Freedom of Speech Just Watch What You Say album.

Ice-T was never the greatest lyricist, but back in like 1989, he was one of the coolest guys around. He was in serious pimp mode all the time, with a kangol and fresh truck jewels dripping off him. He always had a smokin' hot girl with him. He had fresh sunglasses and a bitching ponytail.

This is such a cool song with such a great guitar riff for a beat. And the song is basically about how people talk smack but can't really follow through on it. Ice is kinda lame now, playing a cop on network TV and no longer killing people, but this was when he was awesome.

You got problems, you claim you need a break
But every dollar you get you take
Straight to the Dopeman, try to get a beam up
Your idle time is spent tryna scheme up
Another way to get money for a jumbo
When you go to sleep you count Five-O's
Lyin' and cheatin', everybody you're beatin'
Dirty clothes and you're skinny cos you haven't been eatin'
You ripped off all your family and your friends
Nowhere does your larceny end
And then you get an idea for a big move
An armed robbery...smooth
But everything went wrong, somebody got shot
You couldn't get away, the cops roll, you're popped
And now you're locked, yo, lampin' on Death Row
Society's fault? No
Nobody put the crack into the pipe
Nobody made you smoke off your life
You thought that you could do dope and still stay cool? Fool.

Akinyele - "The Bomb"

Akinyele's (pronounced AK-uh-NELL-ee) first album was called Vagina Diner, which is really ironic, because there was very little sexual content. And ironically, Ak's biggest about two years later was called "Put It In Your Mouth" which is about exactly what you would think.

But after the first two tracks, this is one of the great overlooked classic hip hop albums of 1993. This song isn't the best on the album (I would say "No Exit," "Exercise" and "Checkmate" are my favorites), but it's the most commercial. It's got a catchy beat and got Ak some recognition.

One of Ak's gimmicks was that thing where he would suddenly lower his voice for one or two words in a verse. For example, in the song "Checkmate," he says the following:

So don't front like you don't know what my name is
Before I start diving up in that ass like Greg Louganis
That's not my number one AIM IS
You take my style and squeeze your lips
like probably you see your life stopped, you're freakin FAMOUS
I dare another rapper try to TAME THIS
I hit you in the ANUS
Once y'all reach for the damn STAINLESS

I loved it but it never really caught on for the guy. (And I can't tell you how many times Todd and I have said "I'll hit you in the ANUS.") You can see what I mean with the lyrics printed below in the second verse of this video. And yes, he did do it in every song.

I catch wreck like an automatic tec
Ripping rhymes as if it was written with Gilletes
Rapping over slamming tracks
My hand's compared to a drug called crack
Because it don't take much to get your ass smacked
So you can save bullshit
Word is bond get your shoehorn
Because I got a style that fit
See Akenyele be cold cuttin' brothers up like a DELI
Keeping my cool like Arthur FONZARELLI
I kick more black ass than Jim KELLY
Down with easy shit, this nigga TELL ME

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

(Navigational Note)

Just wanted to point out that I have changed the archiving on this site to weekly instead of monthly. I have been getting a little happy with the additions of videos and so there is a lot wedged into June. Hopefully this will be a little easier. I may move to the daily archiving if it gets too crazy, but I hope not.

Just wanted to remind all 3 of my readers to please leave comments and suggestions. Half the fun of re-living all these videos is getting feedback, impressions and memories. Maybe you think one of my choices sucks, so if so, please let me know. I will fight you to the death on such an argument, but that goes without saying. Or if it's your first time checking out any of the videos, your educated comments are welcome.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Gnarls Barkley - "Crazy" (Live at MTV Movie Awards)

Technically, this isn't a rap video, but I love this song and the performance was great. Especially the totally awesome Star Wars theme. Chewie on the drums, Rebel pilots on backup vocals, a stormtrooper on the guitar, and Imperial officers playing the strings. Brilliant. Danger Mouse (on the keyboards) is borderline genius. Maybe finally it will be cool to be a geek.

N.W.A - "Straight Outta Compton"

If you're anything like me, the first time you heard N.W.A's "Straight Outta Compton," you were probably in your buddy's room, listening to it very quietly on a stereo so your mom wouldn't hear it. And you were probably a combination of exhilarated and scared sh!tless. On one hand, it was terrifying to hear that people were actually like this: violent, misogynistic, vulgar. But the fact that they were allowed to say it was remarkable to me.

In 4 minutes and 26 seconds, the "F" word (and all its derivatives) is uttered 21 times. And this is the unedited version, so you won't get "Straight outta Compton / Crazy young brother named Ice Cube..." or any other lame attempt to clean it up. For better or worse, gangster rap started right here.

A crazy muthaf**ker from tha street
Attitude legit cause I'm tearin up s**t
MC Ren controls the automatic
For any dumb muthaf**ker that starts static
Not the right hand cause I'm the hand itself
every time I pull a AK off the shelf
The security is maximum and that's a law
R-E-N spells Ren, but I'm raw
See, cuz I'm the motherf**kin villain
The definition is clear, you're the witness of a killin'
that's takin place without a clue
And once you're on the scope, your 4ss is through
Look, you might take it as a trip
but a n***a like Ren is on a gangsta tip
Straight outta Compton...

Diamond D - "!*!* What U Heard"

Not exactly sure what they were doing with this video. There are a couple odd elements. First of all, the video itself is pretty lame hip-hop video stuff. Dark crowds of people, lots of zooming and fast-panning camera motion. A combination of black-n-white and color. And the strangest thing, Sadat X in the video lip-sync'ing his own sampled voice in the chorus.

The video pretends the song is called "What U Heard," but the song is really called "F--- What U Heard." Actually, officially, the title is listed on the album as "!*!* What U Heard." The bassline is hot and it's one of the better songs on the album. Of course, he also went by the name "Diamond and the Psychotic Neurotics" on his albums, but called himself Diamond D. and never introduced the Psychotic Neurotics at any point in any of his albums.

And by the way, in my opinion this album, Stunts, Blunts and Hip Hop was the best hip-hop album of 1992, which was the best year of rap music. So what does that tell you? It would have been better if they had made a better video, but the song is good and Diamond's lyrics are surprisingly good here.

From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli
My sounds slam, but some still wanna get with me
I don't understand, kid, you just can't see me
When the LP drops all my friends'll want a freebie
Whether in a car or you ride the train
My style stands out like a varicose vein
So don't front, cuz you know I'm the champ
Better off tryin' to buy a pack of Newports with a food stamp
Cuz the odds are none, and like Jimmy Castor, I've just begun
Brothers can't believe how the skills have gotten
Spicy as a steak with potatoes au gratin
But I'm not suped, I just got a lotta nerve
Cuz motherf**kers wanna see me shoot to the curb
But I just won't slip, cuz a slip ain't hip
I stay on my toe, like Broadway Joe

Shawshank Redemption - Edited Scene

Everyone loves the movie The Shawshank Redemption. But not everyone has seen this left-on-the-cutting-room-floor scene, with a distinct hip-hop flavuh! Apparently they couldn't get the rights to the song used, so they had to use the classical one instead.

Smif-N-Wessun - "Bucktown"

This song is about as close to a hip-hop anthem as you can get. Not only does it have the beautiful horn riff throughout the song, but a kick-ass drumbeat and that great chorus: "BUCKTOWWWWWN! Home of the original gun-clappers." While that phrase doesn't really make much sense at face value, those of us down with the Boot Camp at the time knew what it meant. (Note: I was not actually "down" with the Boot Camp at the time, I merely bought their albums.)

I don't smoke pot and I have never shot anyone in the face, but somehow listening to this song makes me feel like I have. This video seems very ordinary but it really captures a lot about the time period. The ghettos (of course) and some black and white photography are obligatory, but some of the standalone shots (like the noose swinging and the blood dripping off the curb) lend a sort of eerie menace to the whole affair.

This album (Da Shinin') by the way is one of the underrated gems of mid-'90s East Coast rap, top to bottom. It's too bad they had to change their names to Cocoa Brovaz and put out albums with a lot of synth. Oh well...

Another murderer, just another prankster
Rude Boy dead 'cause him t'ought him was a Gangster
Tried to live the life of a hood from the streets
Test the wrong Dread, now him in eternal sleep
Mr. Ripper, I-I-I, lurk in da Stuy
Twist up da ganja when I want ta get high
With my Breaddren, a buddah session
Learn ya lesson
Or get blasted by Mr. Smif or Mr. Wessun

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Cypress Hill - "Hand on the Pump"

Cypress Hill's first album from 1991 is one of the first albums I ever heard and thought, wow, hip-hop is really starting to branch out. This album had production and instrumentation (mostly by DJ Muggs) I had never heard before. In fact, at the time I remember it being one of the only hip hop albums I owned where the lyrics sort of didn't matter. The sounds were so unusual for the time.

This song is very indicative of the West Coast drugs and gangs culture of the early 1990s. I think it's hot. Cypress was basically all about smoking weed and shooting people (which is why I was drawn to them, being that those are also my favorite two activities). This song is just badass, and it uses as sample from the song "Duke of Earl." Now who woulda thought to pull that one off? There is also a certain fluid artistry to the video that I appreciate.

(This is the explicit version of the song. It was followed up by the equally good, if not better, "Hand on the Glock." Same chorus, but slightly different intstrumental.)

Comin at you like a stiff blow, f**kin up your program
Ain't takin s**t from you him or no man
Master mind maniac and a menace, soooo
How they want to pass sentence
All because a nigga tried to play me on the trigger
He missed, so now the n***a's hist
Rude and crude like a pitbull, get to the point
Your f**kin car to get pulled, now
I'm headed up the river with a boat and no paddle
And I'm handin out beatdowns
I'm headed up the river with a boat and no paddle
And I'm handin out beatdowns [get your face down!]
Put me in chains, try to beat my brains
I can get out, but the grudge remains
When I see ya punk 4ss, I'm gonna getcha
F**king do ya
Shotgun goes boo-yaa!

L. L. Cool J - "Big Ole Butt"

What is better than a girl's big ole booty? Almost nothing. That's why white boys like me rejoiced back in 1988 when L.L. released this ode to the rumpasaurus rex. So enthralled with the backside is Uncle L that he shows almost no loyalty to his current girlfriend. He will be dating a girl, and then when he finds another girl with an equally large posterior, he will leave the current girl for the new one. What's worse is that he had told the exes that he would be true.

The part of the song I am still confused about is why he is leaving the previous girl for the next girl, when all the girls featured in the videos have large behinds. It's not like he's saying, "Lisa got a bigger but than you." He's just saying that Lisa has a big ole butt. But if the previous girlfriend has a big old butt already, then why doesn't he just stick with the old one? He says nothing about falling in love with the new girl, or that they have a really special connection, or that they have the same interests. All he has to go by is the measurements of the new girl's keister.

Ironically, in real life L.L. was married at the time, and has been married to the same woman for about 20 years. I wonder how SHE felt about all this big ole butt business!

I went to Red Lobster for shrimp and steak
Around the time whe the waitress are on their lunch break
I pulled in the parkin' lot and parded my car
Somebody shouted out, "I don't care who you are"
I paid it no attention, I walked inside
Because Brian had a nine and he was chillin' in the ride
I walked in the place, everybody was lookin'
And shrimp and steak wasn't the only thing cookin'
I sat down to eat, ordered my food
I said to the waitress, "I don't men to be rude
But I'll take you on a platter"
She said, "You got a girl," I said, "It don't matter
You look like you're tastier than a pipin' hot pizza
What's your name?" She said, "My tag says Lisa"
I said, "O.K., you're smart and all that
But when you get off work, yo, I'll be back"
She looked at me and said, "Make yourself clear
L, where we going?" I said, "Right here"

Fu Schnickens - "La Schmoove"

Some like "Ring the Alarm," others prefer "True Fu-Schnick." But I always thought "La Schmoove" was the best single from the 1992 F.U.: Don't Take it Personal album. This one features Phife from A Tribe Called Quest.

Fu-Schnickens were an interesting group, though not very prolific. They had three MC's: Moc-Fu, Poc-Fu and Chip-Fu, none of which were Asian. Moc and Poc were solid rappers, neither that outstanding but decent. Chip was a freakshow, like Das EFX sped up. He never really said anything, but he had a backward technique he would use on some songs which was really quite remarkable. I mean, we all know that can't nobody rap faster than Daddy Freddy, but Chip-Fu came darn close.

But after this first album came out, they hired Shaquille O'Neal to co-star on their song "What's Up Doc? (Can We Rock?)" as Shaq-Fu. He later parlayed this limited set into a mediocre rap career of his own. Oh, and they released a greatest hits album after two albums, the second of which was a piece of crap. Still, this song is kinda cool.

'Leave it to Beaver'-arriva, derci, Heavens to mercy ba FU sayanora
adios muchachos dorme vous unbuckle my Fu-Schnick shoe
Mr., Chip Fu, about to wreck shop
With the Judo (CHOP!) a Judo (CHOP!) a Judo chop CHOP!
Yo, zilch kaput me nada none son, I don't think so, so take a look at
a Superfly big Jimmy the Honeynut Cheerio Bee
ba schnicker bah snchnucker
I ams what I ams that's all what I ams, My lyrics are never done
I'm the big John Elmer Glue the Elmer the Fudd, Al Bundy the Bud Light stud
Come like tongues lashes, with the quickness, Moc and Poc is, my witness
Ask the Kung about my tongue and the styles that I brung instead
I'm the Ali Babi cutty rankin shuba-dib-da-dabble
Jaw Boy Wonder Bread dread, BUM BA READ
These lyrics ah-come out of mi head, BUM BA READ
Mr. Chip Fu's gon stay' di-di, da-di-di, dra-dread
You said I couldn't rap, but I really wrecked shop
and I don't stop drop, I get props
I pick up the mic drop a style and pattern and fashion
and all MC's jaws drops down
My accent, you're mockin, my clothes, you're clockin
Rippin MC's to smithereens to their ribbidy-diddiby-Pippi Long-STOCKINGS
So don't step to Chip, I'm on the La Schmoove tip
You'll say "Drats I really failed again plus he sank my Babble-ship"
So oooh, s**t G, wa-wa or biscuit?
Rip it and be specific doin it terrific when I kicks it
Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang, Pepe LePew, Pepe LePew
La Schmoove, yo I ain't got NUTTIN to prove!

Monday, June 26, 2006

MC Serch - "Back to the Grill"

The video is kinda lame, and the beat is kinda corny, but the song itself is a classic. With it's killer "Back to the grill again, the grill again" chorus, it is one of the definitive "posse cuts" of its era. It features MC Serch, Red Hot Lover Tone, Chubb Rock and some no-name called Nasty Nas (now simply known as "Nas," whatever he's doing now).

Lots of great things happen in this song. First of all, Red Hot Lover Tone gives the original George Bush "nuff props." Nas talks about waving automatic guns at nuns. And one of my favorite lines of all time is in it: "Jump jump with the man, with a plan, Chubb Rock." (If they could have only added the "A you know, a judo, a chop-chop-chop" part I would have a bulge in my pants.)

Finesser, keep a Tech-9 in my dresser
Lyrical professor, keep you under pressure
Mind like a computer, the inserter
Paragraphs of murder, the nightclub flirter
This is Nas, kid, you know how it runs
I'm waving automatic guns at nuns
Sticking up the preachers in the church, I'm a stone crook
Serial killer, who works by the phone book
For you I got a lot to shoot my songs in here
My rhymes are hotter than a prostitute with ghonnerea
On the mic I let vocabulary spill
(It's like that y'all) That y'all, kick em in the grill

House of Pain - "Jump Around" (Pete Rock Remix)

Since we have all heard the original "Jump Around" about a million times since 1992, it would be rather superfluous for me to show that one. Instead, I present to you the not necessarily superior, but far less-played, Pete Rock remix. The trademark horns are an interesting counterpoint to the video. The vocals are exactly the same, but the wailing Prince sample is gone and it's much more laid back. The video is identical.

I just have to say one thing about this song -- and Tony DiGiacomo, you can say what you want -- it was the greatest white rap song of its era, and maybe the best white person rap song until Company Flow came along.

When I first heard this song, it was 1992, and my sophomore year of high school was just winding up. I was watching "Hangin' with MTV" hosted by John Norris. He said they were going to be right back with a trio of Irish rappers called House of Pain. I had never heard of them before, and thought for sure it would be some jokey Digable Planets-rate lyrics and some corny Irish imagery. Instead, it was a dirty song with a hot beat, and the video took place with filthy Irishmen in a bar and at the St. Patrick's Day parade. As soon as I saw Everlast in this video, I shaved my head and started trying to grow facial hair. That's a true story.

(This video does not include the additional Pete Rock verse toward the end. And if you absolutely MUST see the original version, click here.)

I'll serve your ass like John McEnroe
If your steps up, I'm smacking the hoe
Word to your moms, I came to drop bombs
I got more rhymes than the bible's got Psalms
And just like the Prodigal Son I've returned
Anyone stepping to me you'll get burned
Cause I got lyrics but you ain't got none
So if you come to battle bring a shotgun
But if you do you're a fool, cause I duel to the death
Try and step to me, you'll take your last breath
I gots the skill, come get your fill
Cause when I shoot the gift I shoot to kill

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Kool Moe Dee - "Wild Wild West"

I think this video is awesome. Say what you want about Mr. Mohandas Dewese, but that brother could make some cool videos.

The wild west theme here -- with the pallbearers carrying the coffin and the snow on the ground -- make it a different video, and very cinematic. The other guys in the video look awesome in their stoic, angry wild west gear, and Moe Dee himself looks surprisingly cool with the cowboy hat, red leather jacket and Star Trek shades.

The lyrics are also very cool about basically how Moe Dee and his crew had to lock down their neighborhood. Putting it in a wild west video makes the song and subject more interesting, for some odd reason. Also, this was back in the days when you could still show a dance-off in a video and it not be gay.

I remember parties out in the park
With the girlies, rubbing up in the dark
I was smooth, until someone pulled a gun
It was over, they spoiled my fun
I was flying, just like a track star
Dying, nah, I ran through the back yard
Trying to get into my building
Thinking, "Why in the heck won't somebody kill them?"
One day the fellas got together
They vowed that no one would ever
Come on our block, and terrorize us
The gangs that used to do it, now they idolize us
Guns, we don't like to use them
Unless, our enemies choose them
We prefer to fight you on like a man
And beat you down with our hands and bodyslam you at the...

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Onyx - "Throw Ya Gunz"

This song was creepy as hell when it came out back in 1992-93. That dungeon-like piano riff, along with the crazy bald guys throwing their arms wildly about. A guy licking an axe?

The album was called Bacdafucup, and although I can't count how many people from NYC told me that they were a bunch of wusses that got their asses kicked in high school, that album is solid. Some really great songs on there: "Slam," "Bichasniguz," "Atak of da Bal-Hedz," "Da Nex Niguz," and this one. They also spawned a couple of imitators (such as Hoodratz) that were like Demolition to their Road Warriors. (That is a pretty obscure 1980s pro wrestling reference right there, folks.)

Suave, Fredro Starr, Sticky Fingaz and Big D.S. were the four baldies, and Big D.S. was kicked out on the next album. (Didn't miss much there.) And Sticky is going to be playing the TV version of the comic/movie "Blade." What the...?

Just in the nick of time, I commit the perfect crime
Rip my heart, from my chest, put it right into a rhyme (YEAH!)
I don't feel pain cause it's all in the mind
And what's - mines is mines and, yours is mine
Don't f**kin blink or I'ma rob yo' 4ss blind
Onyx, is rippin s**t, I got the tech nine
So what the plumber got boy buck buck buck buck
It's like a catastrophe, f**kin with me G
I'm a bald head with a kinfe
I want your money or your life
So, so, so, so?

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Everlast and RZA - The Early Years

This song is so godawful I am almost ashamed of putting it up here, but I had to.

This song is terrible even by early 1990s pseudo-world music standards. It features some singer with the generic-ass name of Diva, Rhyme Syndicate stalwart Donald D (in a surprisingly weak verse) and Ice-T, who sounds robotic even by his standards.

But the best part is Everlast (later to be of House of Pain) himself, who toggles between the floppy-haired Harry Connick wannabe to doo-rag wearin' urbanite. I actually own this album, and why they picked this piece of crap song, that has almost no lyrics, and a terrible club beat, is completely beyond me. They would have been much better off releasing "F--- Everyone" off that same album. At least it would have been honest.

I'm Everlast born to be a caucasian
But it makes no difference what persuasion you are
As long as you know how to get up
Get on the floor and start workin' a sweat up
To a musical measure that makes you move
As soon as the needle drops into the groove
So get up and dance to the gift I'm giving,
Forget about your troubles get into the rhythm


But if you think that's out of character, check out this old video from the RZA, when he was still known as Prince Rakeem. It's a song about how girls love him and he can simply not bring himself to saying now.

This "Big Poppa"-esque song reeks of persona overhaul. I can't imagine that the RZA, later of Wu-Tang Clan and the Gravediggaz, would have come up with this concept on his own. The song is kind of tongue-in-cheek, but damn if he isn't trying to come off like Big Daddy Kane in this song. It's just so very odd.

When I walk down the block
The girls stop and glock
They hop on my jock
Cause I got mad props
Tall & slim with the brown skin conflection
Half them sweating my love and affection
As I collect them, I must wan't to protect them
Love them deeply, but never disrespect them
I keep a tab on the large amount
But sometimes I find myself losing count
Of Latika, Diane, Lisa
Stephanie, Jackie, Teresa
Sharonda, um um, Veronica
Latasha, Sinthia & Monica
Never the less, you must give respect
To the femine queens that the God selects
I love them all, but even though
I'm rather happy, I should of said no
But yet my ego gets in the way
And always something that I'll never say
I'd just bag them, keep 'em under my wing
Put them in a posse, and let them sing

Sir Mix-A-Lot - "My Hooptie"

Before "Baby Got Back" made Sir Mix-A-Lot the king of ribald rhymes about women's jiggling body parts, he was a sardonic Seattle rapper who talked about other amusing topics. But this is his magnum opus, as far as I'm concerned. A song about a crappy car. It was the first time I had ever heard the term "hooptie" to refer to a piece of junk auto.

Honestly, in this era of people talking about their Escalades and whatever other hot car is in fashion these days, isn't it refreshing to hear a rapper talk about how shitty his car is? I'd have to say yes.

(The sound quality on this is less than stellar, and it's slightly different than the album version. But you get the idea.)

My hooptie rollin', tailpipe draggin'
Heat don't work an' my girl keeps naggin'
Six-nine Buick, deuce keeps rollin'
One hubcap 'cause three got stolen
Bumper shook loose, chrome keeps scrapin'
Mis-matched tires, and my white walls flakin'
Hit mickey-d's, Maharaji starts to bug
He ate a quarter-pounder, threw the pickles on my rug
Runnin', movin' tabs expired
Girlies tryin' to dis 'n say my car looks tired
Hit my brakes, out slid skittles
Tinted back window with a bubble in the middle
Who's car is it? Posse won't say
We all play it off when you look our way
Rollin' four deep, tires smoke up the block
Gotta roll this bucket, 'cause my Benz is in the shop

Eric B & Rakim - "Juice (Know the Ledge)"

Flashback time.

It's Christmas of 1991 and I'm watching Rap City after school. Rakim had just released a song called "I Wanna Know What's On Your Mind" which was an R&B song that did not blow my skirt up too much. So when they said they were going to show a debut video from Rakim, I refrained from yawning.

What followed was one of the best basslines in any rap song ever, and also one of the best lyrics. It's from the very mediocre movie Juice featuring Omar Epps and a young, pre-Thug Tupac Shakur. Regardless, Rakim absolutely demolishes this song, with possibly his best lyrical display ever. Who else could reference Elliot Ness, Al Pacino and Anwar Sadat in the same song?

The R was the s**t, and I can smell him from here.

Shells lay around on the battleground
Dead bodies are found throughout the town.
Tried to put shame in my game to make a name, I'm a
Put it on a bullet, put it in your brain.
Rip the block like a buckshot,
Who cares where it goes, just keep the casket closed,
No remorse when a life is lost
I paid my dues- paid the cost!
...And my pockets are still fat,
Wherever I'm at, I get the welcome mat.
Even if my crew steep with one deep
I attract attention, people like to peep
So come say hi to the badguy
Don't say goodbye, I don't plan to die!
'Cause I get loose and I got troops
And crazy juice!

Stetsasonic - "No B.S. Allowed"

No, this is not some sort of warning to keep me -- and anyone else with my initials -- out, this is a very obscure song by Stetsasonic. You may remember their big hit, "Talkin' All That Jazz," or you may not. They were considered the first "hip hop band" before the Roots or Smokin Suckas with Logic. (Who? Exactly.) Although the only element that really made them anything like a band was Bobby Simmons on the drums. Actually they have Simmons on the drums AND DBC on the drum machine! Name another group that has both!

The six-man crew had more talent than one might have guessed from much of their output. Daddy-O came a bit of a hip hop elder statesment, notably on his work with Freestyle Fellowship. Fruitkwan later went on to join the Gravediggaz. Prince Paul is one of the best and most creative producers around. DBC, Delite and Wise didn't go on to do much, but they were fun, weren't they? But to be fair, I think Delite was actually like 45 years old.

What I like about this song is the live drums and the horn flourishes. Despite their occasional shortcomings, Stet was good at mixing up their beats and adding interesting instrumentation. None of the MC's in the group was that outstanding, but they were a good mix. And the live drums are kinda hot on this song.

(Oh, and in case you didn't know, B.S. stands for "bullsh!tters.")

Let's get this straight - rappers are a dime a dozen
Some were around from the start, some wasn't
Some are okay on the lyrical tip
But some of these bums, they ain't say shit
I happen to know that some of think they can throw on
Thought we were soft cause of Float On
But we ain't soft, who you think we are, Jeckyll and Hyde?
You been watching too much _Tales from the Darkside_
Or drinking too much, or smoking the crackpipe
Man, instead rag your ass on the mic
So now, me and you face to face, any time and place
Your choice, wanna test your voice
With the O-d-a-d Doctor of -tology
Teacher of youth and MC's without couth
Better call in a bomb squad, cause I'm gonna blow
You and your voice and your rhyme out the window

Monday, June 19, 2006

Sage Francis vs Alius - Freestyle Battle

This is a pretty hot freestyle battle between two white boys: Alius and a very thin Sage Francis. The video quality sucks and the audio isn't great, but you can tell there is a lot of energy. It took place somewhere called the 1999 Superbowl. But I don't see John Elway anywhere.

It looked like my boy Sage was going to lose it before he came back with a very strong third round. That cracker can rock it when he wants to.

Masta Ace vs. Boogieman - Freestyle Battle

This a-cappella battle took place at the Lyricist Lounge, hosted by that legendary freestyler ... Ice-T?

Anyway, anyone who knows me or anything about me knows that I love Master Ace (yes, Master Ace, not Masta Ase). In fact, it's usually the first thing I tell anyone about myself. And his "Born to Roll" phase notwithstanding, Ace is awesome.


I must say that this Boogieman character pretty much destroys Ace in this freestyle. I wish someone would show this to those clowns on that "Yo Momma" show to see what a real dis-fest is like. Boogieman can now tell all his coworkers at the Carnegie Deli that on one special day, he ripped up a rap legend.

Tha Alkaholiks - "Make Room" / "Last Call"

When I first hear the 'Liks on King Tee's "I Got It Bad Ya'll" (video forthcoming) I thought they were great but destined to be one of those one-off groups that made one video or one obscure album and then would fade into obscurity.

But the 'Liks were surprisingly solid and prolific. This song (off the excellent 21 and Over album) is full of great punchline lyrics and jokey raps about drinking and getting into trouble.

This video showcases two of their great songs: "Make Room" is a funky little ditty where Tash shows he is one of the most out-of-nowhere, underrated lyricists around. But my favorite part of the video is where it morphs into the "Last Call" song and Tash says, "It's time to roll my sleeves up, [THWACK] a few MC's up..." That THWACK sound is the best thing I've ever heard. One question that always has bothered me though: Tash says, "I never drink and drive cuz I might spill my drink / I failed the breathalyzer so they took me to the clink." If you don't drink and drive, why would you fail the breathalyzer? Think about it!!!!!

You don't have to be a drunk to love the 'Liks ... but it helps!

The super, duper, gets it poppin with the quickness
King tee and the alkies straight gettin down to business
It’s all about the liks cause we’re heavy on the kicks
But we’re easy on the treble (adjust my mic level)
So fools can here me mic checkin all the way in china
The skills you can’t front on, tha alkaholik rhymer
Could rip a show up to’ up so I always flex my talents
But my words don’t be slurrin, I never lose my balance
But that’s cause I’m slick tossin bottles like a discus
The liks could rock a party from halloween to christmas
That’s why I’m screamin on mc’s like I’m onyx
I’m hooked on gin and tonics like your momma’s hooked on phonics

Ice Cube - St. Ide's Commercial

Some of you may think I am obsessed with Ice Cube. Not so, for while I admire his earlier material, I think he has gone soft. I mean this is the guy who wrote "F--- Tha Police"! And now he's doing kids movies??? For shame...

Which makes this old St. Ides commercial so refreshing. It's the young, dirty, Jheri-curled Cube walking down a decrepit street, singing the praises of malt liquor. Not only does Ice Cube reveal that he lives in a "glass house" (wha?) but that St. Ides will serve the dual purpose of "get(ting) your girl in the mood quicker," and ... also ... in addition to that, "get(ting) your jimmy thicker." I'm heading to the 7-11 now.

M.O.P. - "How About Some Hardcore?"

What a weird title. Wouldn't you think that if someone was going to bring some hardcore they would just bring it and not actually ask you if you wanted it? Still, I don't think there is any doubt that M.O.P. was the shit back in the day. Someone described M.O.P. as what would happen if Redman and Kool G Rap formed a group. Now, I'm not sure either Billy Danziene or Li'l Fame is as good as his respective rapping counterpart, but their flow was intoxicating to me. And that To The Death album is a keeper, too.

This video is very low budget, but I'm thinking that one of the reasons the production value is so spotty is to add the closed-captioning for the hearing impaired throughout the video. Instead of just adding a couple of highlighted lyrics here and there throughout the video, we get the entire transcript. And it's all done in that faux graf/tagger style that was so in vogue at the time. (If it were made today, it would probably be in that shiny, diamond-encrusted Pen-n-Pixel style.) [Note: The aforementioned captioned video couldn't be found, but this original version will hopefully suffice.]

THIS was underground hip hop in 1994.

Yo, I scream on n****s like a rollercoaster
To them wack muthaf**kas, go hang it up like a poster
N****s get excited, but don't excite me
Don't invite me, I'm splittin n****s' heads where the white be
Try to trash this, this little bastard'll blast it
Only puttin n****s in comas and caskets
I ain't a phony, I put the 'mack' in a -roni
I leave you lonely (Yeah, yeah, get in his 4ss, homie)
Up in your anus, I pack steel that's stainless
We came to claim this, and Li'l Fame'll make you famous
I mack hoes, rock shows and stack dough
Cause I'm in effect, knockin muthaf**kas like five-o
I'm catchin other n****s peepin, s**t, I ain't sleepin
I roll deep like a muthaf**kin Puerto-Rican
So when I write my competition looks sadly
For broke-4ss n****s I make it happen like Mariah Carey
I got s*t for niggas that roll bold
Li'l Fame is like a orthopedic shoe, I got mad soul
I'ma kill em before I duck em
Because yo, mother made em, mother had em and muthaf**k em