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WTR Meets WYDU Presents: I Love The 90's (1993 Part II)

by Travis on February 20, 2008

Important Events

- Tupac is arrested for shooting two off duty Atlanta police in the ass. The charges are later dropped after the officers are to embarrassed to testify. A legend is born.

- Rev. Calvin Butts attempts to steam roll a pile of rap CDs to protest their violent content. In 2007, the good Reverend attempts to steam roll all the crappy myspace CDs, but cannot find a steamroller big enough.

- Snoop appears on November Newsweek with the headline: When Is Rap 2 Violent. Millions of white suburban kids, confused by the clever marketing strategy of using “2” instead of “to” buy the magazine, thinking it’s the reincarnation of “Word Up”.

Notable Deaths
- Subroc (KMD)

Looking back on ’93 and I realize what a fuckin’ year it really was. There are so many albums that I would call personal classics and genre classics. You had Wu-Tang, Souls of Mischief, The Pharcyde. You had the classic “Midnight Marauders” from A Tribe Called Quest, which I would personally classify as the greatest “first listen” I’ve ever had for an album as I listened to the album three times in a row while making out with a little hottie and getting some “stinky pinky”. I’m not sure what I was more impressed with, finally getting in the chicks pants or the greatness that was “Midnight Marauders”. I had a similar experience with Black Moon’s “Enta Da Stage”, but that chick was much less impressive than the album itself. Eric has already mentioned the classic of De La’s “Buhloone Mindstate”, an album which I’m ashamed to say was when I really got into De La Soul for the first time. I can remember picking up Del’s “No Need For Alarm” and after the initial shock of it not sounding anything like “I Wish My Brother….” playing it over and over that night after work. I had personal classics such as “Slaughtahouse” that dropped that year. Ace and company released what would become my all-time favorite album to some fan fare, but 15 years later, people give it it’s just due. Another personal classic in the form of “Tha Trifflin’” album was dropped by King Tee, which I will discuss in a little more detail in this post. The baldheads invaded when Onyx dropped their classic debut album. Tha Alkaholiks dropped their debut as well and made jams that can still turn any party out. It’s years like ’93 that I look back at and realize, damn, shit isn’t bad now, but it’ll never be like that again. It kind of sucks…….

Knucklehedz – Strictly Savage (1993)

Glad we are getting good feedback on the “I Love The 90′s” series. Today we come with one of my favorite crews in the history of hip hop, the almighty Hit Squad (circa pre EPMD break-up). As even the most novice hip hop head knows, the Hit Squad consisted of : EPMD, Das EFX, Redman, and K Solo, but what a lot of people don’t know there was a group of two white boys that repped the Hit Squad that never got their time in the spotlight, the Knucklehedz.

The Knucklehedz were from L.I. along with E Double and Pee and consisted of Tom J and Steve Austin. For some reason they didn’t appear on a lot of the earlier Hit Squad stuff, although it was rumored they were life long friends with Sermon. They first appeared in a small part in EPMD’s “Hit Squad Heist”, while Tom J also had a small part on K-Solo’s first album. They joined PMD’s “Shuma Managment” and got signed by East/West recordings….see where this is going? Yeah, like Omniscience, Supernatural and others, they never got the album released, and were eventually dropped by the label that has dropped more balls than a Denver Broncos wide receiver.

Musically, it has a smorgas board of Hit Squad affiliates behind the boards, with Charilie Marotta doing the majority of the album. You might be familiar with Charlie on some of the Das Efx albums along with a couple PMD solo joints, one of the EPMD albums and some joints on Top Quality’s “Magnum Opus” LP. Both Parrish and Erick did three tracks apiece with Erick Sermon’s “All She Wanted” being the gem of the bunch. Think of the first two Redman albums and Keith Murray’s first album and you’ll know what I’m talking about. Some funk for the trunk that sounds funkier than three week old socks. Lyrically, they basically sound like EPMD. Slow, methodical rhymes. They fit the tracks good, but are by no means lyrical geniuses. The album jumps off with “Hed Rush” which to me is the best track on the album. Some lazy horn riding a deep bassline. Some songs come off as stuff you’ve heard one too many times. By no means is the album a lost classic (like say the “Resident Alien
or the “Omniscience”) but if you were a fan of the early 90′s hip hop scene or better yet, the HIT SQUAD, you should definately check this album out.

tracks 1, 2, 3, 5, 6 & 8 produced by Charlie (MacGyver) Marotta
tracks 4, 9 & 11 produced by Parrish Smith
tracks 7, 10 & 12 produced by Erick Sermon
tracks 2, 6, 7, 9 & 12 co-produced by Knucklehedz
(thanks to Jaz for the production credits)

King Tee – Tha Trifflin’ Album (Capitol)
Released: January 26th, 1993

Next up is one of my personal favorite west coast artists, King Tee. Hailing from Compton, California, Tee took the aspects of some of his favorite east coast music and applied them to his own brand of west coast funk. His early attempts were produced by DJ Unknown, who did a lot of Ice T’s early stuff, and a young DJ Pooh, who would go on to become a legend in west coast circles. King Tee’s first album, “Act A Fool” is a west coast classic in its own right. With tracks like “Bass (remix)” and “Payback’s a Mutha”, Tee perfected a “crazy drunken style” waaaay before ODB or any others. The video for “Bass” was an staple on early “Yo! MTV Raps” and featured many early west coast artists and exposed the nation to the art of hydraulics and “hittin’ switches” way before it caught on in the early 90′s. In 1990, King Tee would drop his sophomore LP, “At Your Own Risk”, which would further cement him into the West hierarchy. It was that LP’s remix of the title track that was produced by Marley Marl that would mark one of the first times the East and West collaborated in such a way. In 1993, Tee would jump back in the scene with his crew, The Likwit Crew, which would would introduce the world to the “Alkaholiks”, consisting of J-Ro, E-Swift (who DJ’d on Tee’s second album) and Tash, who was absent on “Tha Trifflin’ Album”, for serving a bid after a DUI arrest.

“Tha Trifflin’ Album” features classical west coast production from legendary west coast producers such as DJ Pooh, DJ Alladin, and a relatively new comer at the time, Broadway. King Tee’s subject matter on this, as well as his other efforts, is what sets him apart from the traditional “gangsta” artist. Tee dedicates a lot of his lyrics to the art of drinking, not drive-by’s and and traditional west coast fare. The album does contain a lot of the funk samples that were found during the times, but Tee somehow makes it all sound fresh. “Got It Bad Y’all” is our first introduction to J-Ro & E-Swift that leaves the listener singing a long with the fly hook. Sex rhymes are also common subject matter, with the WYDU favorites “Bus Dat Ass”, “Blow My Sox Off”, and “Where’sa Hoe Sat I & II” dealing with jocking the females. Another sorely overlooked Cali MC, Threat (credited as Deadly Threat on this LP) shows up on another classic, “A Hoe B-4 Tha Homie” telling that pussy whipped homeboy to pull his head out of his ass and realize his bitch is a skeezer.

This album has always been one of my favorite west coast LP’s that doesn’t nearly get the credit it should. King Tee has always been a fun listen that doesn’t get to serious and just throws that classic west coast funk at your ears. This album is one of my prized collections. It’s one of the few CD’s that I haven’t lost since originally buying it when it dropped. I don’t see it much anymore in the stores, but it can still be found on some of the used music dealers online. While it’s not as spendy as “Act A Fool”, which is going for over $100, still expect to pay between $20-60 bucks for it. I don’t generally condone spending that kind of money on any used CD, but if you can track one down on the low end, it’s well worth the price.

Prime Minister Pete Nice & Daddy Rich – Dust To Dust (Def Jam)
Released: April 27th, 1993

If you have been reading this series all the way through, you will know that Pete Nice was my favorite out of the 3rd Bass trio. The dude was my idol as a white wanna be kid, in the way that he was cool, he was down, but he didn’t try to be anything he wasn’t. Sure, he probably didn’t need a cane and that shit, but it just made him that much cooler. He had the “mad snap hats”, the big ass cigar, the cool ass goatee (that I still can’t grow if you paid me). The dude was the epitome of “cool”. Serch was cool in my eyes, but he was a spaz. When 3rd Bass broke up, Serch would release his album first, and in all honesty, it was a let down to us 3rd Bass fans. It w
asn’t horrible, it just wasn’t what we expected from the former 3rd Bass member. Pete and Rich were left to save the solo efforts of the once proud duo. Did he accomplish the feat? Yes and no.

While “Dust To Dust” is somewhat a disappointment when it originally dropped, I place some blame on Def Jam. The album was horribly delayed and in Source article, it mentioned Russell Simmons not being horribly impressed with the album. The lead single, “Kick The Bobo”, was probably a poor choice as a first single. The video for “Rat Bastard” was banned from MTV for the violent intro to the video, which featured Pete playing “The Godfather” and beating down a man, who looked eerily familiar, with a baseball bat. With all that being said though, the album did have it’s strong moments.

The production comes with some dusty loops provided by both the Prime Minister himself and the Beatnuts as well as a track from KMD and Sam Sever mixed in for good measure. The album version of “Rat Bastard” features a guest appearance from Pyscho Les and is produced by the Beatnuts. It’s class ‘Nuts as the dusty loop fuels the fury felt on the track from Pete and accompanies some nice scratched in chorus elements. Pete actually comes off stronger on the lyrical tip on this album than he did on the 3rd Bass albums. The album also features a nice track featuring the DJ, Daddy Rich, who does work on “The Lumberjack”. It’s something missing on today’s hip hop albums, a track dedicated to letting the DJ get busy. Pete supplies a nice track for Rich to do his thing. “Outta My Way, Baby” is another classic Beatnuts production as it incorporates a familiar piano loop that has the Beatnuts fingerprints all over it. Other dope tracks include “The Verbal Message”, “The Sleeper” and the title track “Dust To Dust”.

The only thing really kept this album back aside from Def Jam not giving two squirts of piss about it, it really did lack that “banger”, a track that just screamed “CLASSIC”. Some people mention that it lacked a lot of diversity as well, which I guess in someways it does. To me though, it’s more of a cohesive effort. Funny story goes with this album. The record shop I used to do all my shopping at, had a promo copy of this on tape. As I mentioned, the album was pushed back quite a bit. I saw the promo tape at a listening station they had by the counter. You popped in the tape into the little stereo system they had and let it play. I was DYING to hear the whole album, but I didn’t want to sit at the record store to hear the whole damn thing. So I did something I didn’t normally do, I swiped it. I’m sure some of you are saying “big fuckin’ deal”, but I just wasn’t one of them dudes to steal shit. Sure, I lifted some candy bars in my days, and I had a hand in jacking some beer in my younger, dumber days (which were probably around this time as well), but I never took shit like tapes or clothes or anything like that. I stuffed the tape in my coat and went out the door. No alarms, nothing. I gave it some listens then started feeling guilty, so I decided I was going to take it back, karma is a bitch after all. So I go strolling through the door and the fuckin’ alarm goes off. I have no clue how or why. All I had was the tape and I’m sure there wasn’t any theft devices on it. They didn’t think much about it, cause I was just coming in. I must have looked like I seen a ghost because as I was trying to put the tape back in the case, the owner of the store (whom I still now and talk to) came up to me and asked if I was alright. Regardless, I’ve never taken anything again and I kind of look at that as my “get out of jail free card”.

Tha Alkholiks – 21 & Over (Loud Records)
Released: August 24th, 1993

Some albums are personal classics for certain people. Tha Alkaholiks debut album, “21 & Over”, is a personal classic for me, although I’d argue it as a certifiable hip hop classic in general. Tha Liks were familiar, yet one of a kind. They had that fun type of old school flava, but incorporated that funky fresh old school flava with their own style that made the album relevant for the times.

Coming in at a short but sweet ten tracks, “21 & Over” was my “getting ready for a Friday/Saturday night” music for the next five years. I wasn’t even 21 yet myself when this dropped, so it got mucho play at house parties and gatherings, especially if I had anything to say about what music got played. My interest in Tha Alkaholiks started with the aforementioned “Tha Trifflin’ Album” from King Tee as they made cameos all over that album. I guess it was something about how J-Ro and E-Swift just seemed to have fun on the mic. Neither of them are the most lyrical of cats, but they were the type of MC’s that I learned their lyrics and rapped along with them. It was memorable music and lyrics that would also be the main appeal to “21 & Over”, making it a party anthem generator. “Make Room”, can rock any party with it’s horn sample and it’s chorus “Make Room…..with tunes hard enough to dent your truck”. “Only When I’m Drunk” is a track that any drunk b-boy can relate to. I think I’ve even done my own drunk performances to this track. J-Ro does his best drunk impersonation (or is it?) during the first verse and drops loads of memorable one liners. While J-Ro drops simplistic but memorable rhymes and E-Swift makes the familiar but party moving beats, such as the familiar sample used on “Only When I’m Drunk”, it’s Tash that really pushes the group into the mentions of “classic”. Tash was absent on the “Tha Trifflin’ Album” debut for Tha Liks because of a bid he was serving for, yup, you guessed it, a DUI. He made his name known on “21 & Over”. Tash drops more shit than a pigeon with the runs through out the album as he demonstrates why he should be mentioned as one of the best left coast MC’s.

Tha Liks bring along friends for the party, which on some albums with only 10 songs might be over doing it, but all the guest fit in nicely and bring their own lyrical fluid to kick. Of course King Tila comes in on a couple joints, such as “Bullshit”. The King just seems like one of the members. All the Madlib lovers should know that this would be the debut of the Lootpack and Madlib, as he produces a track and Wildchild appears on “Turn Tha Party Out”. Overlooked west coast MC, Deadly Threat shows up on the albums last cut, “Who Dem Niggas”. You might think the gangsta MC would throw things off a little, but it adds something a little different to the mix.

Some albums, you just remember the day you bought them. This was one of those albums. It was a Thursday, I just dropped off the big titted blond chick that I had been trying to get on. She lived right by the Hastings store that was close by my place. So I swung in and started going through the albums and saw this album. I think it was somewhat of a surprise, I wasn’t expecting to see this yet, but it was something I had be anticipating heavily since their performances on the King Tee joint. I snatched it up with the quickness and proceeded to drive around long enough to bump the whole thing in my Jimmy GMC with the two 12′s in the back. Then I went home and played it more while watching the MTV Video awards with the sound muted. It’s the personal classics such as this album that will always leave me with the memorable moments in hip hop.

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