Hip Hop has always had it’s novelty records in it’s history. Whether it be, Bobby Jimmy, Joeski Love doin’ the Pee Wee Herman or even Hammer rapping about the Addams Family, the funny and specialized hip hop song has been around since the very early days. For whatever reason, I like tracking this tracks down. Not really sure why I feel the need, maybe it’s the same drive I have to hear every Black Album remix ever created, but I tend to check out a good “novelty” record whenever I have a chance. I pulled a couple novelty records out of my crates for the listening pleasure
Ralph Rolle – Roxanne’s A Man
First up is “Roxanne’s A Man”, by Ralph Rolle. One of the 20 plus (I’m sure there is more than this) Roxanne answer records that came out immediately after UTFO dropped their classic “Roxanne, Roxanne.” Each of them have their own spin on the story, or at least they try to. Ralph Rolle decided to declare Roxanne used to be a man, then proceeds to dis the Educated Rapper, Kangol and Doctor Ice. It’s dubbed “The Untold Story – Final Chapter) and while my “Roxanne” timeline is a bit, ummmmm, rusty I guess, I’m not sure where this stands in the Roxanne discography.
The single itself isn’t bad once you get used to the subpar rhyming on it, Ralph sounds a little cumbersome at the beginning of the track. The highlight of the track is when Roxanne’s grandma comes on to do the beat box. That alone is rather hilarious and almost worth the courtesy listen. What I found interesting is reading up on what Ralph Rolle is doing now and it seems that he is a rather well-to-do drummer.
Ralph Rolle - Roxanne’s A Man (Streetwise, 1985)
|A||Roxanne’s A Man (The Untold Story) (4:45)|
|B||Roxanne’s A Man (Dub)|
The Rappin’ Duke – The Duke Is Back
As I pulled my rarely played 12 inch of “The Duke is Back”, I tried to remember if I had heard it in the past. Too many long nights sucking down cold suds has obviously affected my memory, since I can’t remember exactly if I had the track. It seems to me that I had and there was a reason I forgot about it, because I wanted to. Songs like this rarely work more than once, and with a reason.
Once the needle dropped on the record, a familiar groove kicked in, with a touch of Herbie Hancock “Rockit” mixed in. Then Shawn Brown kicks in with his John Wayne voice and everything in the world is….well it’s still fucked up. He does his thing, nothing totally off the wall, maybe a little more “mainstream”. Once they started singing “The Duke is back,” for the chorus, the only thing I could think of this would be a great song for the sequel for the Big Lebowsky (since it sounds like he is saying “dude” anyway). Instead of building on the shtick (can you build on this) they do the same things over, like a bad sequel to a comedy movie.
All in all, I still don’t remember if I had heard this before, but hopefully in another 20 years, I’ll be asking myself the same question.
Rappin Duke - The Duke is Back (Tommy Boy, 1986)
|A||Duke Is Back (Vocal) (5:35)|
|B||Duke Is Back (Dub) (5:10)|