Leaders Of The New School – “T.I.M.E.”
Purchase “T.I.M.E.” HERE
With the follow up to their critically acclaimed debut “A Future Without A Past”, The Leaders Of The New School set out to prove that there was a whole lot more to this four man crew than just the happy go lucky, zanny rhymes that they garnered a far amount of attention for with “A Future….”. The group’s sophomore effort “T.I.M.E.” (The Inner Mind’s Eye) left some die hard fans of the crew in limbo, expecting to hear the subject matter that was displayed on album number one yet being blindsided by the more straightforward, hardcore if you will…”T.I.M.E” . Still, if you asked me which album from the group’s far too short lived career that I preferred it would without question be “T.I.M.E.” nine times outta’ ten. For one reason, the group displayed a much more “mature” stance on “T.I.M.E”, not only lyrically but also with the beats as members within the group handled the bulk of the production duties. Secondly, Dinco D (who was virtually silent on the group’s debut) pulled a Phife Dawg on us. If you listen to Tribe’s debut “People’s Instinctive….” and then their second disc “The Low End Theory” you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about.
With the exuberant, boisterous Busta Rhymes at the helm, fellow members Dinco D, Charlie Brown & Milo formed a nice cohesive unit that feed very well off of each other’s vastly different styles. I believe the first single released from “T.I.M.E.” may have been “What’s Next” which was probably the cut that most resembled the group’s prior material on “A Future Without…..”. My favorites at the time of the album’s release in the winter of 1993 where the extremely bass-heavy “A Quarter To Cutthroat” and the irresistible horn loop of “Classic Material”. I can remember when I picked this album up along with a D.J. Magic Mike cassette ( I can’t seem to recall which Magic Mike album it was, but a song on the album sampled “Impeach The President”), hell….”T.I.M.E. hit just as hard, if not more than the Magic Mike tape and coincidentally Bass music is where Magic Mike made his check!!
Listening to this album today, it’s still sounds fresh and even though the rumor mill stated that there was plenty of dissension within the group’s reigns at the time of the album’s recording, it’s hard to here it as the group’s chemistry overruled any of L.O.N.S’ naysayers. Here’s something that may surprise you, although Busta Rhymes was the true “clean-up” man in his heyday (see Craig Mack’s “Flava‘ In Ya’ Ear Remix) he wasn’t even my favorite emcee on this album…that title belonged to Cut Monitor Milo, who really stepped it up on this album and really had an interesting, entertaining flow and voice to match. In closing, the album’s centerpiece “Spontaneous” (13 Deep) which featured Leaders’ cronies Rumpletilskinz is the subject of today’s post and in my opinion one of the most overlooked posse joints ever. It’s a damn shame this would be the last full length that Leaders’ would offer to it’s starving listeners. And the so-called “reunion” joint that appeared on Busta’s solo debut “The Coming”…well, I would’ve done without it.
De La Soul-“Buhloone Mind State”
Purchase “Buhloone Mind State” HERE
Equipped with a clever marketing scheme (remember the full page print adds featuring an inflated balloon with the words “It might blow up, but it won’t go pop” written on it?), “When I….First….Heard…..”Buhloone…Mind….State”……I thought it sucked…No Bullshit!! Remember the dude on the “De La Soul Is Dead” skits when he first heard “3 Feet High..”? Yeah, well that was me, BLAAAAAAHH, THIS SUCKS! What really pissed me off was that I was sooo amped to pick up this full length after hearing “Breakadawn” (damn, that Michael Jackson sample was smooth as hell) bump all over the radio throughout the summer of my Junior year in High School. To me, it was obvious that Pos, Mace, & Dove had spent a little too much time with Guru’s “Jazzmatazz” in their headphones while whipping up “Buhloone Mind State”. My initial reaction was “Damn, this shit is just too damn jazzy!! I’m not talking “Low End Theory” jazzy, but smokey town hall, 10 people in attendance, no air conditioning JAZZY! Sh*t, I honestly didn’t listen to “I Am I Be” long enough for the beat to kick in until 2000! What about “I Be Blowin”? Who the hell is Maceo Parker and what the hell is he doin’ on my De La Soul album playing a trumpet?…and where the hell are the lyrics?…my disgruntled ass questioned. Other than “Breakadawn” this album was dead to me, it’s a damn shame that I was a 16 year old punk who would’ve much rather listened to “The Chronic” or “Bacdafucup” (although, that may be the general consensus)than this BS! I can admit it today as a married man with two little girls, I just wasn’t mature enough for “Buhloone Mind State”. Simply put, my “peanut-shell” of a brain just couldn’t quite comprehend such a level of creative genius.
Bottom Line, what I hated about “Buhloone Mind State” then is what I’ve come to love regarding the album today. Perhaps, my favorite De La album from their historic catalog (I still don’t see what is so damn special about “Stakes Is High”) of classics “Buhloone…” is straight up Genius!! Of course, the same can be said about “3 Feet…” & “De La Soul Is Dead” ..but this is one of those albums that you can break out on Memorial Day (yes I did!) every year and it still will provide you with a perfect soundtrack for an evening of chillin’ with family & friends. If I could kick myself in the ass for not giving this album it’s proper due back in 1993….or hell, the whole 90’s for that matter….I would do so proudly. Today, I really can’t pick a favorite off of this album. It’s kinda’ like “The Main Ingredient”, “Whut?Thee Album” or even “Enter The Wu-Tang” where the overall fluidity of the album hinders you from selecting that one standout track..simply because every single track is of the utmost quality. If you’ve given up on “Buhloone Mind State” like I once did, break it out again and I promise you that you’ll soon see the light as well. As corny as it may sound, this album is like fine wine it gets better with…awww hell, enough already! just pay homage to one of De La’s undermentioned masterpieces.
MC Lyte-“Ain’t Like No Other”
Purchase “Ain’t Like No Other” HERE
Can you truly blame MC Lyte really blame Lyte for jumping on the riggidy rough bandwagon? I mean, hell, look at Big Daddy Kane and LL Cool J in 1993! Besides, who wasn’t, really? Damn, I miss those days, don’t you? Well, in Lyte’s case it was a helluva’ lot better than being on the “pop”-rap tip similar to Lyte’s effort prior to “Ain’t Like No Other” (“Act Like You Know”). However, with “Act Like You Know” there was just too many inconsistencies and lack of focus. She got criticized for it and we arrive at “Act Like No Other”.
First off the production is your “run of the mill” ’93 East Coast sound, hard drums jazz horns and all that goodness. It seems like she turned into a total “BOSS” (pun intended) on this album, although Lyte doesn’t claim to be one like other female rappers I feel that her attitude is just plain “hard to believe” on this album. Good skills but it just doesn’t feel natural, this is not the MC Lyte that I usually love. She’s just trying too hard to be hard. This just applies to too many ’93 rappers despite the wonderful progression in the production sounds. It’s still a decent album, because they’re aren’t really any wack songs on the LP, but it’s just not the classic MC Lyte from the late ’80s which I would strongly recommend checking out first before getting into this album.
Black Moon-“Enta Da Stage”
Purchase “Enta Da Stage” HERE
“Somebody call the moooooorgue/I just caught a D.O.A.”. Damn, all these years and I can’t believe that I have yet to write about one of my favorite albums of all-time, Black Moon’s seminal “Enta Da Stage”. “Enta Da Stage” is one of the darkest, most uncompromising albums I that I own. Never has an emcee painted such vivid pictures which actually made me feel as if I was in the heart of Bucktown U.S.A. Buckshot was realistic without being materialistic. His menacing flow and disturbingly surreal imagery send chills down my spine. You can feel the hunger in his voice. Da Beatminerz on the flip side create a template of dark lo-fi rhythmic basslines, haunting strings, and creepy bells and chimes which whistle in and out every 4-8 bars.
The lead single from “Enta Da Stage”, “Who Got The Props” sounds as hypnotizing today as it was when Headz weren’t ready for it in 1992. “How Many Emcees” displays the true chemistry of Black Moon with an unforgettable Krs-One sample on the chorus. Although “I Got Cha Opin” and “Buck ‘Em Down” would be revamped into stronger versions, they still hold their own as originals that were “trumped” by their remixes. Especially, the former whose bassline would be jacked a dozen times more. I could go on about the strength of each song. Everything is a banger (even “Powaful Impak” which was proclaimed a not so great track from a classic album by Ego Trips “Book of Rap Lists”).
Even though “Enta Da Stage” is a stone cold classic, you should enter at your own risk. Da Beatminerz shine behind the boards and lyrically (“Son Get Wrek” is an ILL overlooked solo) but some of their lyrics can make adults cringe. Check the Evil Dee verse on “Ack Like U Want It”. Lines like “Now I’m taking all you own/ Plus I’m f******’ your wife/After that my man’s, gonna hit your only daughter/ And leave her body floating in some bloody bath water/, (DAMN Evil, take it easy on ‘em)are NOT for the feint of heart. Still, that doesn’t justify not an absence of “Enta..” from your record collection.
In conclusion, the brave and strong at stomach will rejoice. Unfortunately, the Moon never got the props they really deserved from all audiences. Their debut received 4 Mics from the then credible Source which were the same ratings that the “Doggystyles” and “Midnight Marauders” (which also should have been coined as 5-Mic classics, and were a few years later) of the world was receiving at the time. Like so many videos at that time, Black Moon’s videos repped their street corners to the fullest making you feel like they came from the most poverty stricken, crime related projects in the world. After listening to this, don’t be surprised if you find yourself on the corner stompin’ out wack emcee troops with your big black timb bootz and Champion hoodie. The best album from one of the greatest crews in hip hop history. Boom!
Purchase Domino’s debut HERE
“Here we go, Here we go as the tune starts to boom with tha back pack track blah, blah..ahh hell. Just what was Domino saying in the lyrics to Geto Jam? Anyway, that was my introduction to Domino, via the maxi-cassette for “Geto Jam”. I’ll admit, I thought Domino was gonna’ be as big as Snoop or Dre after hearing his first single and then he hit us off with a little “Sweet Potato Pie” which I loved equally.
Needless to say, I popped this in the headphones today and took a trip down memory lane (while assembling this rideable firetruck contraption for my daughter…remind me to read directions from now on!) and the ride wasn’t a smooth as it was back in ’93-94. Still, to me the only quality cuts on this album remain the two that I mentioned above. And if I had any brain I would’ve have noticed that Laquan aka Poppa LQ made an appearance on “Domino” therefore I wouldn’t have had everyone and their Mother e-mailing me saying “Dude, Poppa LQ wasn’t a “One Album Wonder” he was Laquan. Anyway, for those of you that haven’t picked this up it’s worth the listen, the only product from Domino’s faltering catalog that is/was.