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WYDU & WTR Presents I Love The 90's Year Two: 1992

by Travis on February 6, 2009

Trav & Eric present “I Love The 90′s” back up in this muthafucka. Okay, so I have to work on my entrance. Before I start lagging behind E and his crazy work ethic, we jump into year two, 1991. What can I say about 1991? It was kind of a weird year hip hop wise. Despite everyone saying hip hop is dead or dying in 2009, the same ish was being said even back in 1991. You had the radio rap of Young MC, Tone Loc, MC Hammer, and everyone’s favorite white rapper to hate, Vanilla I-C-E. Hip Hop was actually in a transition. As I mentioned last year in my ’91 write up, the hip hop “golden age” is being documented as starting around 1986 and last until 1996. Of course those dates can be debated, but I’m fairly happy with that time frame (I wouldn’t be upset if someone cut it off at 1994). But during that oh so golden time, the music had it weak links. It wasn’t all classic after classic being dropped like some of us old fogies would like to believe. Us old timers have our cases of dementia and forget that, yes, there was crappy music. The years of ’89 and ’90 were rather weak compared to the years that came before it and the years that would come after them. The year 1991 was kind of a transition year between those two time periods of the “golden age”. There was some great music, but hip hop was still trying to find it’s sound again.

WYDU 1991 Year One

When They Reminisce (Last Year)

Nov ’91 Source Fat Tape & Ego’s 91 Tracks Found on WTR

When They Reminisce 1991 Post YEAR TWO

Just a reminder: We are doing three albums a week for each year, and I’ll pick one personal classic, which isn’t always the traditional classics, an album that I personally slept on, to maybe expose myself to some music that I originally glossed over the first time around and one album that I haven’t heard before, which surprisingly, there are a few of those.

The Trav Classic

WC & The Maad Circle – Ain’t A Damn Thing Changed (Priority, 1991)

1 Intro (1:07)
2 Ain’t A Damn Thang Changed (3:32)
3 The Break Up (Skit) (0:27)
4 Behind Closed Doors (4:47)
5 Out On A Furlough (5:18)
6 A Crazy Break (0:56)
7 Caught N A Fad (3:57)
8 Fuck My Daddy (3:58)
9 Back On The Scene (1:06)
10 Get Up On That Funk (3:50)
11 Gettin’ Looped / Dress Code (4:01)
12 Smokers La La Bye (1:16)
13 You Don’t Work, U Don’t Eat (4:27)
14 Grandma Locked Out (Skit) (0:37)
15 Ghetto Serenade (4:04)
16 Back To The Underground (3:41)
17 A Soldiers Story (2:45)

Can you imagine my surprise when I went back through my archives only to realize that I haven’t ever written anything specifically on Dub C’s Ain’t A Damn Thing Changed? And here I thought I written about every album that I consider a classic in my book by now. This has to be a west coast classic, as WC has long been considered one of the best westsyde lyricists in my book, right up there with Cube, Ren, Snoop and whoever else you want to throw into that category. WC’s history should be fairly well known for the readers of WYDU, but just in case, we’ll recap it quickly. The first time I ever heard of WC was when he was apart of Ice-T’s Rhyme Syndicate, a loose collection of artists down with Ice. He was a part of a group with DJ Aladdin, known as Low Profile (and originally another cat, whose name escapes me). They would have a track on the Rhyme Syndicate release, Comin’ Through, a dope collection of Rhyme Syndicate artists that is worth tracking down if you are into the late 80′s west coast sound. That was in 1988 and in’89, WC and Aladdin would release the highly over looked west coast gem, We’re In This Together. Sometime between ’89 and ’91, WC and Aladdin would part ways and WC would get a group together consisting of Big Gee, Crazy Toones, Coolio and others. Late in ’91, he would come out of nowhere and drop Ain’t A Damn Thing Changed.

In late 1991, I was working 20-25 hours a week, partying a lot, going to some college classes when it fit into my schedule, and basically enjoying life. The 1991 Trav probably had a lot more open tastes when it came to hip hop than the present day version does. I was always down to check a dope west coast album, especially if it was associated with Ice Cube, which Ain’t A Damn Thing Changed was. I had the Low Profile on tape, but I slept on it like a lot of other people in those days. None the less, I liked WC and snatched up the tape the week it dropped. What I found was a lot of dope production by Sir Jinx, Crazy Toones, and Dub C himself. I was a big fan of Sir Jinx on the boards, his utilization of funky bass grooves, sounded sweet in my car system I had at the time. Of course, that sound hasn’t changed. The title track, “Ain’t A Damn Thing Changed”, is an example of the funky west coast sound that was popular before the G-Funk era took over. The track’s productio
n is credited to four different people, WC, Toones, and Chilly Chill as well as Jinx, but the funk bass line, along with the ill guitar and the sax stabs just make a white boy from Idaho want to do the crip walk. “Out On A Furlough” is another track that takes that funk sound to another level. We aren’t talking about the traditional “More Bounce To The Ounce” samples that were running rampant in those days (although it is on the album), the samples were freaked nicely by the producers on the album.

One of the things beside the great production that made the album stand out was the lyrical substance. Of course, WC handled most of the mic duties, and he did a great job. Tracks like “Dress Code” takes the topic of judging a book by its cover, or in WC’s case, judging him by what he wears. It’s a nice twist on the usual gats and guns, topics found on west coast albums. His rhymes and flow are on point and on time, and he also gets helped from an unknown at the time, Coolio, who despite his huge mainstream success, was also an accomplished MC in his own right. The two take the final verse and go back and forth to really nail the point home:

Let’s take a trip to the club scene (somebody tell me what’s goin on)
You gotta wear a silk shirt just to dance to a funky song
Bouncers makin enemies for minimum wage
But they’re the first ones to run when the club gets sprayed
Don’t wanna let me in, because I’m wearin my beeper
And if you’re sportin gold, then you gotta be a dope dealer
(I paid 17.50 to hear a funky rhyme flow
And they’re sweatin at the do’ like I just entered a fashion show)
Yo, they put a curfew on Westwood, to keep me in my neighborhood
My hat’s to the back, so I must be up to no good
(I got a jacket on my back for the fact that I rap
And they heard I was from Compton, so they ran they pennies back)
Scared of me for what, no, I don’t wear tux
And if I ever got a Grammy, man, I’d bail in some Chuck
Tailors to show the whole world it’s alright to be yourself
Should I change the way I dress, so I can look like the rest?
Wearin red, black and green, but they don’t know what it means
Put on a African medaillon, now they’re down with the team
Perpatratin for a click, first they wouldn’t, now they switched
But they ain’t gettin rich (Ain’t that a bitch?)
Go strike a G.Q. pose, I got soul in my stroll
So they ban my video (For what?)
Cause they didn’t like my dress code

Then there is the equally dope “Ghetto Serenade”, a humorous look at the female that wasn’t given it up when he was WC the local knucklehead, but when he became the big rap star, she changed her mind. Yeah, it’s nothing new, but WC takes it and makes it sound new. The Coolio assisted “Get Up On That Funk”, takes a funky break and gets that booty shaking.

The album does have a few weak links, I never did get with “Caught In A Fad” or “Soldier’s Story”, but all in all, this is an incredibly funky album and an excellent example of a great early 90′s west coast album before the scene got over saturated with the G-Funk sound that would come into full force in a couple years. Sir Jinx and WC were two of the best to do it from the west coast at the time and this is one of the best albums.

The Slept On Album

Baritone Tiplove - Livin’ Foul (Easy Street Records/True Urban Recordings, 1991)

A1 Praylewd
A2 Lucy-N-Ricky (A Bedtime Story)
A3 All Hell Iz Breakin’ Loose
A4 Thinkin’ Bout Da Payback
A5 Becky’s Experience
A6 Young Ladies Drive Me Crazee
A7 Suckaswannaputtasticka
A8 I’m A Lover
A9 They Found Him Dedd
A10 Tiplove Don’t Kare
A11 The Happy Hooker
A12 Cut The Barrell Off My Shotgun
B1 Live Update From The War On Black Radio
B2 Livin’ Foul
B3 Upstares In The Bed
B4 The Vanilla Extrakts Awards
B5 Baritones’s Celebrity Skins Game
B6 Ghettoland, U.S.A.
B7 Respekt Yourself
B8 Turn Up The Bottle
B9 A Luv Song
B10 Luv-N-Affekshun (Stop Dissin’ The Girl

What? Who? Yeah, I think I’m not the only one that slept on the “Livin’ Foul” album. And for good reason, it was a TAPE only release that was a rather hard find in those days, let alone now. Baritone Tiplove was two MC’s, Baritone The Microphone Champ and Tiplove MC Supreme. Still not ringing a bell? Before there was Quasimoto, Humpty Hump, or Chief Chinchilla, there was Phill Most Chill. Meaning, the two “MCs” were actually the brain child of Phill aka The Soulman. Without getting too deep into the story behind the whole concept (which I suggest you do read here and here, it’s a great tale), Phill would adjust the pitch control on his vocals and came up with a high pitched MC, Tiplove and a deeper more marbled mouth character in Baritone. It was his way to escape the Phill Most Chill rhymes he was doing, which were straight up classic hip hop rhymes, was to incorporate Baritone and Tiplove, whic
h were on some straight up partying, skirt chasing and boastin’ and braggin’ type of steez.

From the get go, you have to realize this album is all in fun, it’s supposed to have imperfections, it’s supposed to sound cliche in some spots, but that’s the beauty of the whole album. From the jump off, we have a warning of sorts from a young child telling you to check what your kids listen to before letting them hear the album. And with good reason, just because it has cartoon voices, doesn’t mean this is any kiddie album. That becomes evident right off the bat as “Lucy-N-Ricky (A Bedtime Story)” kicks in. Think of an x-rated episode of “I Love Lucy” and you’ll be on the right path. It makes for a hilarious listen. The topics are about boning, drinking or being the best MC. “Turn Up The Bottle” is a humorous ode to the art of drinking. Both Baritone and Tiplove brag about “…polished off a keg, got drunk, fell asleep and pissed down my pants leg”. The song directly after “Turn Up The Bottle”, a jam for the ladies, “A Luv Song”. Tiplove gets loose with an bangin’ bass line and drums as Tip tells ladies that “you didn’t heed the warnin’, so you woke up with nut on your butt in the mornin”, but in the end, Phill stops the track and tells them to stop dissing the ladies. What comes next would make Phonte…excuse me, Percy Miracles jealous as the smooth crooning comes as “the first time ever you sucked my dick” is heard. Those who are easily offended probably haven’t gotten this far on the tape anyway. For those of us who enjoy a little crude humor every now and then are undoubtedly busting a gut.

The beats are a cross between something you’d hear on a Bomb Squad album (which you know I love) and NWA, just check “All Hell Iz Breakin’ Loose”, which sounds something similar to “Straight Outta Compton”. “Thinkin’ About The Payback”, sounds like “Tales From The Darkside”, off Cube’s debut solo. Note, this is not a bad thing, it’s not like the beats are straight up jackes or anything. It’s just that flavor, high energy, noisy beats. It’s much different the soulful beats you would probably usually expect from The Soulman. Large drums and booming bass is the signature sound found on the album. It might sound dated, but for me, this is my favorite hip hop, so I have no problems with it.

It’s really a bad thing that this album never got the full exposure it should have gotten. Would it have been taken seriously or simply a gimmick? It’s hard to say, but none the less, it’s a fun and great listen. Creative and cliche-ish all in the same tone. The thing is though, Phill did it better than a lot of the cats who took this shit seriously.

The Unheard

Black Radical MKII – The Undiluted Truth (A Blackman’s Leviathan) (Mango Records, 1991)

A1 Ripping Up The Industry (Re-Haul) (4:04)
A2 Witch-Hunt (5:20)
A3 300 Years (4:51)
A4 My Radix Point (O.S.A.D. Mix) (6:30)
A5 Sumarli (6:12)
B1 This Wretched Earth (3:19)
B2 Sign Of The Beast (4:40)
B3 Crossroads (4:49)
B4 Nu Poets (4:22)
B5 England Is A Bitch (7:06)

Having not really being exposed to much UK hip hop besides Derek B and Cookie Crew in my early years, Black Radical MKII slipped by me back in the days. In fact, it was only in the past few years that I heard about his music. Still, I didn’t really sit down and listen to one of his albums. I guess my reasons for that were I don’t always want to hear the overly preachy music and lyrics. X-Clan fit this bill for me, although I loved their beats, I didn’t always agree with the message or want to be drilled in the head for a whole album. With a name like Black Radical, it’s kind of what I was expecting when I sat down to listen to his debut album, “The Undiluted Truth”, and I wasn’t too far off of the truth.

Black Radical was out of North London, and considered one of the pioneers of the UK hip hop scene, which admittedly, I know very litte about. He dropped singles in ’87 and ’89 and in 1990, he dropped “Rippin The Industry”, a single that dropped scathing rhymes on the UK hip hop industry. His debut album would drop on Mango Records and sparked controversy that eventually ended up with the label dropping him. As one can imagine, with a name like Black Radical, he was very political in nature, utilizing a lot of the Nation of Islam beliefs and being unapologetic for his sometimes brash views.

The lead single, “Rippin’ The Industry”, provides a somewhat up tempo beat, a bouncy bassline over a some nice drum breaks. You can’t argue with what he is preaching on the track, as he lets loose on the industry itself and it still holds true in todays day of age. He brings a hard edged to lyrics, with good clarity and flow. Other tracks such as “My Radix Point” bring familiar samples, the guitar sample from “Timebomb” and adds a soulful sax over the top that really adds to the overall beat. He dabbles in some reggae chanting that also appears in other tracks. The toasting element is a nice touch as he brings the slight Caribbean flavor in his flow as well. The track deals with being African and knowing who you are. That same chant style is brought on “England is a Bitch”, as he drops fire and brimestone on England. He goes through the history of England and it’s role in the slaves and the blackman. “Sumarali”, deals with dating with in your own race. It’s the complete opposite of Juggaknot’s “Clear Blue Skies” message. It’s one of the messages found on “The Undiluted Truth” that I don’t agree with, but I’m all for hearing other views and opinions. “300 Years”, deals with the injustices brought to the black people. You are seeing the trend here.

It’s an album dealing with the political and spirtual exsistence of the black man. I’m not against the topic, it’s something that should be touched on. Black Radical also changes it up enough to bring different concepts to the songs to bring his messages. He keeps it entertaining enough, but at the end of the
album, I felt like I sat through a college lecture. Some of it has to do with the beats behind the message, there is not much of a change in the tempo’s or over all flavor. They are not bad at all, but not enough variety. The messages found can be deemed offensive. Without getting into the whole racial views involved, I’m still a firm believer before we are a race, we are human beings. The whole “In every white man, there is a streak of evil”, line found on “This Wretched Earth”, kind of shut me off from listening to some of his other rants. Evil is in every man, not just whites, blacks, or purple people. There is a lot of anger in the lyrics, some justifiable and some not. The album is worth a listen, both musically and for the message, but just have an open mind when doing it.

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