“Slaughtahouse”-Masta Ace Inc.
Purchase “Slaughtahouse” HERE
“Shit, I sure the hell don’t have a clue who’s “sleepin’ on” this Classic sophomore album from the legendary Masta Ace. I’ve always loved this album ever since I purchased it on the strength of the single “Jeep Ass Nigguh” being featured in the Source’s “Sure Shot Singles”. “Slaughtahouse’s” elevation to classic status (I assume) is greatly due to it’s appearance on countless blogs and Hip Hop featured sites that more or less gained the album a cult following (I’ve even seen one very prevalent blogger (who shall remain nameless) give this album the #1 spot on his top albums of all time. Ace totally blindsided the listener (hell, he even flipped the script a bit with “Sittin’ On Chrome” as well) with this very original and brilliant follow up to “Take A Look Around” all the while making a mockery of all the “shoot em’ up” gangsta rappers that attempted to capitalize on the success of reigning “gangsta” heavyweights such as Ice Cube, Ice T, The Geto Boys and N.W.A., but failed miserably.
“Slaughtahouse” is a truly timeless album…..a gem, listening to this album today you can’t help but get the feeling that it was so0 far ahead of it’s time it’s ridiculous. The majority of the production on the album was so unlike anything else that hit the streets in 1993, I often hear the word “boom bap” thrown around loosely (shit, I do it my damn self!) but the production courtesy of a vast array of beatmakers such as Uneek, The Bluez Brothers & Masta Ace aka Ace One truly defined “BOOM BAP”. At times Ace’s debut “Take A Look Around” felt a bit light-hearted, not as intimidating, but on “Slaughtahouse” don’t you dare take Ace, Lord Digga or Paula Perry lightly for one minute or you’re bound to be slapped back to reality on tracks such as the incredible “Style Wars” (why didn’t that make my “Top 25 beats”?) and the unscripted rawness of “Boom Bashin”. My absolute crowning moment on “Slaughtahouse” comes courtesy of the track that shares the album’s title. At about the 2 minute mark, after Paula Perry’s warning to all wack emcees…the playfulness of the cut is quickly halted by the rolling drum track and Lord Digga’s repetition of the phrase “Death to the wack emcees, Death to the wack emcees”. “Slaughtahouse” is the perfect opener to the album as Ace makes his intentions to steamroll over all fraudulent emcees clear as day.
Okay, here’s were you, the reader comes in….I need a bit of clarification, when I bought “Slaughtahouse” on tape back in 1993 I could have sworn that the album’s finale (the certified classic “Saturday Night Live”) was NOT included on the cassette. Is this indeed true? Okay, here’s part two of my dilemma…..At about the 17 second mark of “Saturday Night Live” you can vaguely hear one of Ace’s homies utter “DJ Premier” just as the scratching commences, shortly thereafter I swear that you can also hear Lord Digga say “DJ Premier” again. Can someone please offer some clarity on this “argument”. In the meantime….”death to the wack emcees, death to the wack emcees, death to the”……
“Apache Ain’t Shit”-Apache
Purchase Apache’s debut HERE
First and foremost, R.I.P. Apache. Doesn’t it seem like yesterday when you first heard the knockin’ drums and melodic keys of “Gangsta Bitch” courtesy of Q-Tip. “I wanna, with my”…yes! yes! yes! We all loved the lovely ode to the women of the world, the aforementioned “Gangsta Bitch”. There ain’t nothing like “puffin’ on a blunt, sippin’ on a Heineken” with that special lady in your life. Why is it when I think “Gangsta Bitch” I instantly conjure up images of Queen Latifah in “Set It Off”…hmmm, must be the Flavor Unit connect. Anyway, this album has been posted over the ‘net on countless occasions, but you know what? This is one of those “One Album Wonders” were you’re left wondering “What went wrong?”. “Apache Ain’t Sh*t” is ill, namely the production, I mean I guess that’s just how Tommy Boy Records handled their biz in the mid-90’s…Man, they should have been re-named “Abandoned Ship Records” because those fellas left some MAJOR artists “stranded”.
Apache was an ample MC on the mic, although it appeared he just LOVED to piss cats off, dude was such an asshole on this album…and it was great, really! While “Kill D’White People” wasn’t blaring from the Alpine, cuts like “Who Freaked Who” featuring another “One Album Wonder” Nikki D keep you laughing as Apache discusses some of his weaknesses in the bed. Still, pick this up it’s a great listen for an artist that should have had another “go” at a solo joint, even if the sales of this LP weren’t exactly the figures that Tommy Boy had accounted for.
“Innercity Griots”-Freestyle Fellowship
Purchase “Innercity Griots” HERE
The Freestyle Fellowship first arrived as an independent, with undeniable debut “To Whom It May Concern”, the success of the album landed them a record deal with 4th & B’Way. With lyrical stylings that were waay ahead of their time, probably the first group to incorporate abstract lyricism in their rhymes. With the release of the crew’s sophomore LP lacking overall “numbers”, the album has steadily gained somewhat of a cult following and classic status over the years.
The production found on “Innercity…” takes queues from the jazz-rap sound but it’s way more funked up and barebones than both Tribe or Digable Planets. It’s original touch meshes perfectly with the styles of the MC’s, it’s very hard to describe the sound but it’s very distinctive from any other hip hop act in 1993. Honestly, when I first purchased the album my ears were so accustomed to hearing all the East Coast madness/G-Funk that had saturated the scene, I wasn’t trying to hear “Innercity..” at all. However, over the years of grown to appreciate the album for it’s “left-field” innovation.
Many of the cuts on the album flow very well together, my favorites being “Everything’s Everything”, “Cornbread” & “Hot Potato”. A glaring difference between this and their first album is that the MC’s make tracks together rather than going for dolo, a much more concerted group efforts than you’re used to seeing and hearing. Sadly, I don’t think this album will ever get enough credit it deserves, but this is well worth a pick-up (used). What’s most attractive about this LP, is it sounds even fresher today than it did back in the ’93, and cats like Charlie 2Na are still doing it? Damn.
Self-Titled-Brokin English Klik
Purchase the album HERE
It’s often overlooked that Brokin English Klik’s sole effort of the same name dropped on the highly touted Wild Pitch Label in 1993. For a label that seemingly pushed the envelope on nearly every release, this LP seemed somewhat bland by comparison. Yet again, here we have your basic East Coast style; trunk vibrating drums and jazzy horn loops. Once again, the lyrics that can be found on this album are also very generic and unmemorable. Even if the Wild Pitch label wouldn’t have folded it’s hard to imagine that Brokin English Klik would have received the blessing for a sophomore LP.
Touching upon subject matter that had already been spoke by the likes of Public Enemy and Ice Cube, Brokin English’s conscious approach just doesn’t pair up too well with their gruff, somewhat forced deliveries and more often than not, comes off rushed and uninspired. Yet again, I feel like a broken record when revisiting my collection from 1993, what makes this album a listenable affair is the production. However, if you’re searching for mind-numbing, thought-provoking lyrics you may want to dig a little deeper for something of more substance. Simply put, you’re not gonna’ uncover it on this record.
“Return Of The Boom-Bap”-KRS-One
Purchase “Return Of The Boom-Bap” HERE
Soooo, in 1993 “The Blastmaster” finally opted to unleash an “official” solo album after releasing..ahem…four solo (albeit) BDP albums since Scott La Rock’s untimely passing. Kris altered Hip Hop drastically with “Criminal Minded” and accomplished the same feat yet again with the follow-up, “By Any Means Necessary”. However, near the release of BDP’s third studio album “Edutainment” Kris often found himself the subject of much criticism for being too preachy and somewhat of a hypocrite. As for BDP’s final album, “Sex & Violence”, many considered the album to have underperformed for unknown reasons. Personally, I LOVED “Sex & Violence” (“Duck Down” is my ‘ish!)
Yet it was “Return of the Boom Bap” that many have considered to be the return to good form for KRS-One, and for good reason, being that “..Boom Bap” is the highlight of Kris’ solo output. The teacher paired up with some of the finest producers of that moment, DJ Premier handled production on six tracks, while D.I.T.C. affiliate Showbiz does the classic cop-hating anthem “Sound of Da Police”. Also of note, Kid Capri also handled the production for two of the albums’ least memorable cuts, “Brown Skin Woman” and “Stop Frontin”. Surprisingly, KRS handled the rest of the production duties and had little, to no problem matching the quality of the aforementioned big name producers.
The finalized product of “Return Of The Boom-Bap” is arguably the best produced KRS/BDP album of all time, this is one album that defines the rough sounds of Hip Hop during 1993. Now on top of all that, you had KRS-One during what was possibly his lyrical apex, simultaneously dropping knowledge with impeccable skill. A definitive album of the ’90s and a MUST HAVE, that is, if you’ve been sleepin’ under a rock.