“No Need For Alarm”-DEL (1993, Elektra)
Purchase “No Need For Alarm” HERE
Nearly departing from the P-Funk influence that he showcased on his debut LP, “I Wish My Brother George Was Here”, Del resorted to a harder, boom-bap sound on his sophomore LP, “No Need For Alarm. Much of the same could also be heard on brethren Souls of Mischief debut LP. Needing no production assistance from Ice Cube or Del (who handled many of the beats for Del’s debut), Del handled biz with help from other “in house” producers from Hiero to handle the production, possibly venturing away from the synth sounds that where now closely associated with Dr. Dre, Above The Law and Co.
“No Need For Alarm” will go down as one of the more defining moments of Del’s recording career. Del’s sound has drastically changed (or to some, progressed) on nearly every album since his debut, seemingly without looking back. Hell when listening to Del’s “The 11th Hour” one could tend to forget that this dude can truly spit with some of the best. The way Del effortlessly connects one rhyme with the next is done is extremely dope, if not innovative. Del was much more edgy on “No Need For Alarm”, yet he still delivered the “down to earth” rhymes that were a direct correlation of his debut. On “Unicorn” Del alters his voice and unveils his 16 year-old alter ego that is easily mistaken as just another random Hiero affiliate, just one the little weird, quirky, clever sides of Del that makes him so darn unique.
The production on this LP is heavy, displaying a true “Hiero” sound which is in the mid-’90s was defined as dark beats and hard ass bass lines. It’s arguable that the production found on this album are a step above S.O.M’s “93 til Infinity”, hell they both could have released together as a double album for all that I cared, the albums share much of the same overall feel. Needless to say, this is one of my favorite Hiero moments and a definite must add to your Golden Era library.
“Sneeke Muthafuckaz”-Hoodratz (1993, Sony)
Purchase “Sneeke..” HERE
Hoodratz’ “Sneeke Muthafuckaz” just reeks of that signature “middle-tier” boom-bap, rugged, hardcore sound. With beats comparable to those that could be heard on albums from the likes Pete Rock, Erick Sermon and even D.I.T.C, if you’re pushing the envelope. The emcees went by the monikers of Dingbat and Doh-Doh, and if the name of the group wasn’t wack enough, this didn’t really enhance album says by any stretch of the imagination. Neither of the emcees had much to offer, other than gritty, forceful deliveries, and the usual “hardcore” content, think a lite, bootleg version of Onyx with less lyrical talent. However, on the same token, I can’t front some of these beats. The production on this album really bangs even if this isn’t the most original album ever released. And to be quite honest, the lead single from the album, “Bootlegga” did have anthemic qualities. Kinda’ funny that a track in 1993 based on bootlegging had semi-success, I wonder what Hoodratz would have to say about bootlegging in 2010? A decent effort that I would only recommend to hardcore East Coast heads, the production aspect of the LP is well worth checking for, if you can overlook the sub-par deliveries and lyrical content.
“What Is A Rumpletilskin?”-Rumpletilskinz (1993, RCA)
Looking back on fellow L.O.N.S’ pals Rumptilskinz‘ debut “What Is A Rumpletilzkin?”, it’s hard to believe that this album was actually released before L.O.N.S’ sophomore effort “T.I.M.E”. The reason I make the mention is simply because if you listen to “What Is A Rumpletilskin” and follow it up with “T.I.M.E.” you’ll be able to hear the obvious similarities and one would even go as far as to say that L.O.N.S’ may have patterned the overall feel of “T. I.M.E” after the sound of “What Is….”. Maybe not so much lyrically, but you will absolutely be able to hear the production similarities. Now, I may be off my rocker here and I’m too lazy to surf the net’ but I’m almost sure that this is the case as far as the Tilskinz‘ prior release. Yeah, it had to be because I picked this album up the night before I left for a week at Pittsburgh University for Basketball camp between my Junior & Senior year in High School. Oh, getting off the subject here a bit and also tooting my own horn at the same time…let me say that the highlight of my visit for the week long camp was being able to have open runs with members of Pitt’s squad at he time and being a 6′4″ junior throwing down an “and-1″ alley-oop over then Pitt big man Darren Morninigstar (who went about 7 Feet). I think dude actually played a bit for the Celtics then got released (rightfully so). Oh well…enough of my 10 seconds of fame.
After appearing on Leaders’ “Sound Of The Zeekers” the Rumpletilskinz displayed much promise, but one could easily group them amongst the likes of The “aforementioned” Hoodratz and Onyx whom all shared similar lyrical styles (insert De La Soul vocal “those HARDCORE acts!!!”). Needless, to say this was the group’s “one shining moment” as they would fall off the face of Hip Hop shortly after this release. I honestly don’t remember any cut making any significant noise, and the album was slightly above average with no real stand out track. The highlight of the album would have to be it’s bass-heavy production handled almost primarily by member R.P.M. Still, don’t pass this one up as it is a pretty nice piece of nostalgia if you where any where near the L.O.N.S. fan that I was…
“Straight Up Sewaside”-Das Efx (1993, Elektra)
Purchase “Straight Up..” HERE
Alright ya’ll, I can’t even front and I’d be willing to bet that you shared the same sentiments as me when you first heard Das Efx‘ “Straight Up Sewaside” the follow-up to their monumental debut “Dead Serious”. This is how bad it was at the time, I picked this album up along with Queen Latifah’s “Black Reign” (which still remains my favorite album from a female emcee…at least until Jean Grae drops something new) on what was probably one of my 30 or so “skip” days during my Senior year. It took months for this album to truly get any play, partly due to the fact that I loved “Black Reign” so much pushing “Straight Up….” to the wasteside. I was disappointed to say the least, “Straight Up Sewaside” may have had 10 plays the first year of it’s release and I really didn’t get into this album until the early 2000’s. Now, I’ve come to the realization that this was another quality Solid Scheme production filled with entertaining, lyrics from VA’s own Drayz & Scoob. The problem has been stated many times over the course of the years that on “Straight Up Sewaside” Das Efx were truly “victims of their own style”.
Say what you want, but even your favorite emcee has stolen a page our two from the originators of the “stiggedy, stiggedy style” (Common, Treach & Ice Cube being a few that instantly come to mind). If you had to pick one word that would convey the overall feeling of this album it would be “tentative”. Why “tentative”?? Quite simply, you can hear both Drayz & Scoob holding back on this album a bit, not wanting to continue on with what made them such a huge success and so recognizable. Not to say that the album still didn’t rank amongst the top 15-20 releases of 1993, but like I said….we just expected more. Still, “Straight Up Sewaside” is loaded with bangers, the uptempo “ruckus bringer” “Check It Out” always being my favorite. Also, “Gimme Dat Microphone” has the sound and tempo of “Dead Serious”….so much that one would assume that it may have been left on the cutting room floor while assembling the final track list for their debut. If Das‘ 3rd disc “Hold It Down” would have been trimmed down to say…11 or 12 tracks it would have definitely found itself in my “Top 100″ and would definitely have surpassed their sophomore effort. In all fairness, it would have been tough to match their debut in terms of cohesiveness and originality. Nonetheless, a great effort from two originators in the rap game whose debut will never be forgotten.
“Look Ma’ Duke, No Hands”-Mad Kap (1993, RCA)
Purchase “Look Ma’..” HERE
What I most ironic about Cali in 1993, is that 100 percent of the underground most resembled New York. You know just another one of those albums that’s influenced by Tribe’s “Low End Theory” and “Mecca & The Soul Brother”. Boasting the usual jazz-rap beats, face slapping drum kicks and the much needed horns and bass, the only difference with Mad Kap is that one of these guys actually played the trumpet live. With Mad Kap’s debut there was nothing so awe-inspiring and unfortunately the rappers on this album fell into the same old problem that most ’93 albums have done. The emceeing leaves much to be desired, it isn’t listenable but there’s nothing that truly captivates the listener.
On the bright-side, DJ Broadway delivered as slew of dope beats and it is his input that is the primary reason why you should be checking out this album, but I can’t really recommend it with high priority there are just too many albums that sound JUST like this one.