- Mary J. Blige releases “What’s the 411” which is produced by Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs, marking the beginning of the Puffy era.
- EPMD breaks up, reportedly because E Double was still pissed off for having to push the car to the demo meeting, which is covered on “It’s My Demo.”
- “The Guinness Book Of World Records” crowns Tongue Twista the fastest rapper in the world after he spits 598 syllables in one minutes, which of only 3 are understandable.
- The movie “Juice” appears in theatres and introduces the nation to Tupac Shakur, the actor. Millions of white kids don’t realize he had an album already.
- Vice President Dan Quayle denounces Tupac’s “2pacalyspe Now” album, saying it “has no place in society”. Neither does a politician who can’t spell “potato”.
- Once again, one of the greatest V.P.’s in our nations history makes the news by declaring Ice T’s “Cop Killer” song is the “worse, most violent, anti-social” rap song he has ever heard. No one bothers to mention that it is a heavy metal song and that Quayle is an idiot. Tipper Gore and Qualye are rumored to have an all night sexfest listening to “Cop Killer” and 2pac over and over.
Kool G Rap & DJ Polo – Live & Let Die (Cold Chillin’)
Released: November 17th, 1992
G Rap drops the equivalent of a Ford Francis Coppola movie on wax in the form of “Live & Let Die”, G Rap’s & DJ Polo’s third studio effort and their last as a group and the last G Rap album to appear on the Cold Chillin’ label. The album truly does play like a gangster flick and it’s masterful in the way it paints pictures of mob hits, money swindlin’ and cock blockin’ homeboys. “Live & Let Die” is truly at the summit of the “reality rap”, as not much is approaching the creativity that the album possess.
It all starts off on the chillin’ “On The Run”, which is a masterpiece in the art of story telling as G Rap tells The Mob to fuck off and takes the money in which he was hired to drop and goes on the run. It really does make you think you are watching a movie. G Rap gets chased across the country as the Luciano family wants its cash back and the listener is treated to violence and gun battles in all it’s glory. A great way to set off an album that is all about the things dudes do for the almighty dollar. “Live & Let Die”, the album’s title track, G Rap spits about life in the streets. “Ill Street Blue” embodies a old jazz sample with piano keys sprinkled in to give the listener almost a calm feeling, but we all know what kind of trouble is brewing around the next corner. That trouble shows up in “Go For Your Guns”, as G Rap warns all comers to “Go For Your Guns”, in only that half snarl, half lisp that G Rap has trademarked in his twenty plus years. Not everything is all guns and violence, as the Kool Genius of Rap just comes out spitting lyrics on “Letterman” over a bouncy P-Funk bassline. The album comes to an end with one of the greatest “posse” tracks to ever bless hip hop, at least in my opinion. “Two To The Head”, sees Ice Cube, Scarface, and Bushwick Bill join G Rap on the mic in the who’s who of gangsta rap. Scarface drops one of my favorite verses of all-times:
“See I come from the place known as the South Park Zone
Talkin shit ain’t into clickin take your punk ass home
Cause I’m the type of nigga that’ll chuck
Hit you in the chest with a motherfuckin tec and watch you jump
So die motherfuckers die motherfuckers die
Look deep into the eyes of a killer smokin, fry
One nigga you can’t fuck wit
Cause I’m a born killer with the mind of a lunatic
So bring in bodybags when I start bangin
Cause I’m leavin motherfuckers laid out, with they brains hangin
Straight gettin down for mine
And I’ll fuck up a bitch, cause I don’t mind dyin
So feel me drill me, put a bullet in my head, but yo
You can’t kill me, cause I’m already dead
Scarface goin psycho, yeah
Play pussy get fucked and take two to your head”
Compared to G Rap’s first two albums, this album is much more “street themed”, which probably had a lot to do with the rise of gangster rap coming out in ’92. The other factor might be the fact that G Rap went west to record this album with Sir Jinx, who produced all but three tracks on the album. Armed with west coast “feelin’” tracks, G Rap rides the Parliament samples with easy and does it as good as any west coast gangster crew could do at that time. The beats are all dope and add to the overall cohesiveness of the album and demonstrate why I feel Jinx is one of the more underrated producers in the game. I remember picking this album up on tape and if you get an original release (I don’t know if this was re-released or not), but the mixing of this album is absolutely HORRID. It really sounds like it wasn’t even mixed. It was overly loud and very analog sounding. I have since copped the CD (good luck getting your hands on this album, it’s going for $50+ on Amazon) and it still doesn’t sound the greatest in the world. Cold Chillin’ kind of dropped the ball with this release, and it’s just another G Rap in a long string of albums that should have gone gold but didn’t.
The A.T.E.E.M. – A Hero Ain’t Nuthin’ But A Sandwich (Select Street)
Released: April 6th, 1992
Hip Hop sorely lacks any humor in the music in this day in age. everyone is so fuckin’ serious. I miss albums when dudes got on the mic and just spit some none sense just to have soem fun. One such group that was great at that kind of thing was The A.T.e.E.M. The A.T.e.E.M consisted Rob Swinga, Hot Diggidy Dog, & FM, the two former you might remember as Chubb Rock’s dancers. Now I know what you are thinking to yourself, “Why the hell do I want to listen to Chubb Rock’s dancers spit? That damn Travis must still be drunk from last night!”, yeah well give this album a chance, and no, I didn’t even drink last night. If you are familiar
with Chubbs, you will recognize them from tracks like “Yabbadabbadoo”. I’m not going to lie and say this is some lost classic or that these cats are lyrical geniuses, but in the vein of early 90′s hip hop, this was a fun album that’s just as good as some of the early 90′s stuff that does get it’s props. You even get Chubbs all over the album, such as “Come” and the title track “A Hero Ain’t Nothin’ But a Sandwich” and the Big Man even executive produced the project, so you know what kind of flavor this album possess.
The production is handled by the Trackmasterz, the infamous Tone & Poke, but no fret, this is early Trackmasterz stuff, before they jumped on the club tip (Sorry Po). Containing familiar breaks and samples, it gives you that comfortableness that comes with the early 90′s albums, just right throw on at a party or in the headphones on the train. It still comes fresh though, as the Trackmasterz throw their own flavor into the beats that you should be familiar with if you have listened to the some of the old Chubb albums or Tone’s solo albums as Red Hot Lover Tone.
Neither Rob Swinga or Hot Dog are going to win any rhyme battles, but they come off accomplished enough to make the album interesting. Rob Swinga is probably the better of the two, but Hot Dog (who was perhaps the best dancer of all the dancers back in the day) has a certain swagger and charisma that makes me enjoy his verses more. I still love his verse on Black Sheep’s “Pass The 40″. Topics on the album vary from your usual straight up hip hop party joints such as “One, Two, U Don’t Stop” or the single “Yeah” (find the Diamond D remix, it’s better in my opinion), to social commentary such as “Sister Morphine” and “Well of 1,000 Souls”, which kind of unnecessarily slows down the albums. True with any album that Tone was associated with in the early days, there was also some rude and crude sex rhymes that are displayed on “Pass The Pussy” and Tone even makes an appearance on “Let Me Hear You Say Hoe!”.
As much as Chubb Rock was loved, I still find it kind of funny that these cats never got their proper due. It’s nothing that is going to change your view on hip hop music, but it’s just some fun music to pop into the deck when you need to remind yourself why you started listening to hip hop in the first place. The best part though, is this album is still cheap, only a shiny penny on Amazon, which I think is a freaking bargain.
Grand Puba – Reel To Reel (Elektra)
Released: October 20th, 1992
When people discuss the best lyricists of the 90′s, it’s very rarely that the one Grand Puba gets mentioned in the group. Personally, I’ve always felt Puba was most assuredly one of the top lyrical swords men we’ve seen in our generation and Puba’s debut “Reel to Reel” brilliantly illustrates that fact.
When the Nubians dropped “One For All”, I’ll admit I wasn’t completely swept away with the effort. I was just starting to get into the “new sound” that hip hop was starting to encompass and being a lily white kid from a place that was 90% white people (the rest mainly being Hispanics), I didn’t totally understand the black righteousness topics being discussed on the album. My favorite song was easily “Step To The Rear”, the Puba solo joint. This would start building the buzz for Puba’s solo joint, which was also on the minds and ears of the hip hop nation in those times as well. It was a highly anticipated album as numerous release dates would be pushed back but finally that fall of ’92, Puba would drop his solo debut, “Reel To Reel”.
“Reel To Reel” is what hip hop is about, beats and rhymes. You won’t find any guest appearances other than the Mary J Blige assisted “Check It Out”, and the whole album, except one track, is produced by Puba or the SD50′s. Most of the album is about spitting lyrics, partying, picking up the girlies, just a feel good album. Most of the songs are just Puba spitting lyrics. Joints like “Check The Resume”, the lead single “360 (What Goes Around)”, “Lickshot”, “Ya Know How It Goes”, and “Reel to Reel” are Puba doing what he does best, dropping fly rhymes:
“It’s time to shake that shit because you know this one’s the answer
Hon’s cut off, cause I smoke boom, my sign is cancer
Time to clear the pack cause here comes Mr. Jolly RANCHER
Who’s gonna flip that shit?
You know the ANSWER
Jump into my briefs, because the boxers my jewels jingle
I got a girl, but you can play me like I’m single
Don’t worry hon, my pops showed me where it tingle
It’s time to catch on, to this Grand Puba lingo
No fuss, don’t worry, Toys Ain’t Us
Some call me horny so just call me Mr. Lust
Dope shit we got it so it’s time to get retarded
So play like Handiman and LAH GUU GUU GOT IT!
No fakes see we got it what it takes
We stay far away from snakes, sippin on the chitlin shakes
You know the deal, on how we really feel
C’mon hon, this shit is real”
From the production point of view, the album treads the fine line of creating sonic back drop for the MC to spit over. Let’s face it, Puba is the reason you want to hear the album, it’s his rhymes that are the centerpiece of each song and the challenge of Dante Ross, John Gamble, and Geeby Dajani is to make a beat that isn’t going to detract from that fact but still provide the funky medium for Puba to spit his rhymes over. The fact of the matter is that they did a beautiful job making just the right kind of musical accompaniment. Although the beats are some what minimalistic in nature, they sound funky and provide the Grand one some worthwhile soundscapes to spit over. Puba himself does a nice job as well as is illustrated on “360 (What Goes Around” as Puba takes a bouncy, driving bassline and just flows over it with his trademarked lisp/flow .
Despite some of the big releases that dropped in ’92, “Reel To Reel” was one of my personal favorite projects of that year. Puba was, for maybe that year only, my favorite MC (or at least until I started playing “Whut…The Album” at nauseaum.
Red Hot Lover Tone - Red Hot Lover Tone (Select)
What distinction does Red Hot Lover Tone’s self titled debut have that no other album has? It was the subject of WYDU’s first ever post. WYDU’s co-founder, the Aussie with attitude in the name of Polarity, and I sat down and basically kicked the knowledge about one of Po’s personal favorite albums. What you get is the realization of more Polarity and less of me would have been a good thing. WYDU could be ruling the world by now if that was the case. You also get me being awkward and kind of stumbling around the whole process, but so be it.
I personally became a fan of Tone’s from his guest appearance on MC Serch’s “Back To The Grill”, as Tone dropped a rhyme that would have made him famous if it wasn’t for one Nas’ dropping one of the greatest guest appearances ever in the history of hip hop. I would hunt down his album based off of that track and much to my surprise, the album was pretty much all about sex. Sex in the morning, sex in the afternoon, sex in the car, sex in the coach section of an airplane. It was all about sex. I’m cool with just about any type of hip hop as long as there is some talent and originality and that’s just the beauty with his self titled debut long player, he talks about one subject matter the whole album, but he is talented enough to pull it off.
Here is what Polarity and I thought about it back on a Saturday morning in October of 2005.
P: Forget about what you thought about Dr Dre or The Pharcyde dropping the best album of ‘92… Tone is what it’s all about!
T: Haha… I’m not sure I’d go that far, but this is a slept on album for sure.
P: Okay, fast forward through the intro skit to the first proper track “Da Gigolo”.
T: I love “Da Gigolo”. They just don’t do shit like this anymore.
P: “Da Gigolo” is just that slick shit – Tone is one smooth muthafucker.
T:I bet if you followed him around in the clubs you could pick up his leftovers pretty easy.
P:I imagine he was something like the pied piper back then, with a legion of hotties trailing behind him wherever he went. I’m sure he’d have some offcuts for you though.
T:What’s that sample used on track 3 “Winderella”?
P: I’m pretty sure that’s “Honky Tonk” by Bill Doggett. The Beatnuts jacked this shit off Tone on their “Watch Out Now” track!
T: Yup, that’s where I heard it, the one with Puba.
P:And then they had the audacity to go dissing Tone / Trackmasterz on “Confused Rappers” off their Milk Me album! “Next time another trashmaster bites my shit there’s gonna be a problem” was the line I think. That sprang out of that J-Lo song produced by Trackmasterz that used the same sample as “Off the Books”.
T: Oh shit… Trackmasterz get a lot of shit for some of their production.
P:Call it a guilty pleasure but I like the majority of their stuff… At least they’re still fucking around with the samples. And back in the days, they had the club shit sewn up.
T:This was some pure sex shit, but Tone was so smooth… I like his flow.
P:Moving on to track 4 “Porgee”. Remember when rappers used to impersonate the women they were meant to be fucking, like on this skit?
T: Yup, and no one thought any different about it.
P:I think that stuff is underrated. I wanna hear Lil Jon impersonating a chick on the skits off his new album.
T: He already sounds like he is impersonating a chick.
P: Track 5 “Like a Virgin” is my shit – this is one of the highlites on the album for me. “Can I please be the first to bust your bubble?”
T: “Fat as a whale when she tipped the scale” – Hahaha… This is great quality sex rhymes. 2 Live Crew had nothing on Tone, this is one of my personal favorites. Who’s the second MC?
P: I don’t know – it doesn’t say on the record sleeve. He’s got a weird-ass voice though.
T: He sounds familiar, but he keeps it on par. You gotta love songs that deal with doing chicks in the butt.
P: “Yo I stuck it in the butt / ‘Tone it hurts’ / bitch shut the fuck up!” I’m gonna make sure this one gets played at my wedding.
Track 6 – “DIYM” is another personal favorite. This track is just so slick – the bassline is crazy! DIYM = Dick In Your Mouth for all you readers who don’t know the time.
T: I skipped it a couple times, but I didn’t realize the greatness of this Track. Yes, that bassline is ill. Tone doesn’t stray from the topic much, but hell who cares. Is this a Kurt Gowdy production?
P:I don’t know – it just says Produced By Trackmasterz on the sleeve. Although, I think back in those days it was Tone and Poke who did the majority of the beats. Gowdy was more of a DJ then.
T: Well, they have changed over the years.
P: Track 7 – ‘In the business’. Tone’s crew the ATEEM shows up in full effect! These guys are like DITC with more sex rhymes.
T: Another slept on crew – Hot Diggity Dog, Rob Swinga, Chubb Rock and Tone.
P:It’s a shame Chubb Rock isn’t on this album. I keep expecting him to jump up on the scene and kick it. Oh well…
T: Surprising actually since Tone is all over Chubb’s “Can I get Mine Yo” LP. The ATEEM definitely had a unique sound.
P: Track 8 – “I Like” – This shit is hilarious! I can’t believe this is the crossover/ ‘chick’ record on the album and he’s got a bunch of women singing “I like the things you do to me” on the hook!
T: Starts off with a little quiet storm action then it’s back to what Tone does best. You couldn’t have it any other way.
P: You can tell he wanted to make a positive record, but he just ends up spitting that game same as usual. I don’t think he could help himself.
T: This sounds like the start of the future Trackmasterz sound. This shit would chart if it came out today.
Track 9 – Never Love. Some more R&B’ish type stuff, but you know it’s not serious.
P: This shit is great too! This song makes me want to put on an eightball jacket and go do the Steve Martin with a chick wearing dolphin earrings!
T: Hell yeah.
P: I think Red Head Kingpin woulda sounded good on this track, by the way.
T: I agree
P: Trackmasterz freak the Pete Rock horns nicely at the end of the song too.
T: Yeah, this is probably right before Pete started blowing up.
P: Moving right along… Track 10 – “Pussy’s All That”.
T: With a title like “Pussy’s All That”, you know Tone isn’t going to be talking about the state of race relations.
P: Haha. Well I always thought this track was meant to be a metaphor for the Gulf War conflict, but maybe I was wrong. Anyway, its funny how the Trackmasterz used this same vocal sample later on for that “Affirmative Action” track off Nas’s second album.
T: I hated that song… But this smoothed out song talking about the female genitalia is pretty nice.
P: He freaks the female impersonation again on this song. They just don’t make enough songs like this any more.
T: See, that’s what’s different today – MC’s can’t make this stuff sound good anymore.
P: Only J-Zone is really doing it like this.
T: Exactly, that’s the closest to it now. Now my personal favorite song – “Give It Up”. I love this track, another funky bassline.
P: This is that laid-back style like on “Da Gigolo”, it’s a lot less clubby than most of the other tracks on this album. The production on this joint is just great. The way the vocal sample comes in on the hook is off the hook.
T: And his lyrics are just funny.
P: “Did it in the back row while Hannibal Lecter killed the ho”, haha! Diamond D remixed this joint didn’t he?
T: I believe so.
P:As much as I love Diamond, there was no way he could beat the original. After the mandatory gonorrehia skit “It Burns” is “Lil Boy Blue”. The production on this is great too, real low key.
T: And it’s a subject that has affected every man sometime in his life.
P: Tone definitely addresses the trials and tribulations of modern man.
T: That’s what is so important about Tone, he covers the topics important to everyone.
P: Haha! The first rapper on this track has a funny voice too. He pulls it off nicely though.
T: Yeah, his voice works well with the track.
P: I really like the guitar solo and so forth on this joint.
T: It’s a nice mellow track, because let’s face it, when you have the Lil’ Boy Blues, you don’t really want to scream much.
P: The highlight on this song for me is where Tone’s talking about not cursing on the song because they won’t play it on the radio. And then he gives in and vents, ‘muthafuckin’ bitch why did you front on the pussy’! Classic!
T: Yeah – that’s classic. I know I’ve mumbled that a few times while throwing them in the freezer to cool them down.
P: Haha! Life lessons from Tone – he should release a self-help manual.
T: I’d buy it.
P: Fuck Dr Phil, Dr Tone is where it’s at.
T: He’d be more in touch with the people.
P: Track 14 – ‘Gigolo’s got it going on’.
T: Posse track right? Oh, my head is bobbing.
P: This is just that catchy club shit. The whole ATEEM crew minus Chubb Rock is all up in it
T: Gigolos, hoes and bitches… Gotta love it.
P: Tone shoulda done more joints with Grand Puba. He’s not on this album, but they had mad chemistry on ’3 men at chung king’ off Chubb Rock’s “Gotta Get Mine” record.
T: They did, another great track. Tone is underrated as a lyricist. I remember hearing him for the first time on Serch’s “Back To The Grill”.
P: He’s not the most complex lyricist but he’s got one of the best flows I’ve heard, plus a lot of humor. Track 15 is “Gotta Run”. This is more low-key R&B type shit. That Eric guy sings the hook again on this one, I wonder if he ever had an album…
T: This is some more quiet storm type shit, but don’t expect Tone to serenade you the traditional way.
P: Tone was a busy man, running from one hoe to another.
T: Gotta run because the chicks husband is coming home, like only a true gigolo can do it.
P: Another situation all us players have been caught up in at one time or another.
T: I’ve never dived out the window, but a few husbands have been known to come to my place of work and hang out without saying anything.
P: The last track on
the album is another skit – ‘Sex Anonymous’. This shit was kinda unnecessary.
T: Ehhh okay, so we got to give it one knock at least.
P:I can’t imagine Tone ever checking into a clinic for sexaholics.
T: Why would he?
P: Maybe to pick up some sexaholic ho’s?
T: I’m sure Tone had all the pussy he could handle after this album, and I know he is getting it now since he is a head honcho at Motown.
P: There’s another track listed on the record sleeve after this called ‘My Lady’, but the folk at Select Records forgot to put it on the record so that one remains a mystery.
T: I might have to find the CD version just for those two songs. I’ve seen it floating around, but it’s been a while.
P: It’s on the tape version too, I’ve been told. Still, even with two songs missing this is a classic album in my books. The only bad thing I can say about it is the inclusion of that last skit and the fact that my man Chubb Rock wasn’t on it.
T: It’s for sure a slept on classic that clearly represents the best of sex rhymes from the golden age. Not really an album out there that has quality and raunchy raps as this does.
P: Not to mention hot-ass production from the Trackmasters. It gets a 5 of your daughters panites for me out of 5 from me!
T: I’ll give it a 4.5 out of 5 of your daughters panties for me. But I’m just picky about that stuff. The production is definitely top notch. The only thing I’ll knock is the lack of diverse subject matter, which doesn’t really bother me. It’s definitely a guide to any wannabe player.
P: Yeah… Well I’m glad he stuck to what he knows about. He obviously knew his strengths and weaknesses and worked around them. I mean you wouldn’t wanna hear Tone try and kick some super-scientifical shit. Any final words?
T: If you can find it, grab it – and sharpen up your macking game.