College Boyz – Radio Fusion Radio (April 7, 1992)

R.M.G. (I’m not sure what that acronym stands for…hit me in the comments if you know)was a four man crew out of Baytown Texas consisting of DJ Cue, Squeak, B. Selector and the lead emcee Rom, who most of you know as the actor Romany Malco (and who I will always associate with his drug dealing character Conrad Shepard from the Showtime series Weeds). In 1991 the four man crew decided to leave the south for Los Angeles in pursuit of a record deal, and after signing a deal with Virgin Records, they would change their name from R.M.G. to the College Boyz, and release their debut album, Radio Fusion Radio in 1992.

Radio Fusion Radio had a couple of singles that made some noise on the charts, but the album didn’t move a ton of units nor did it receive a lot of praise from the streets. The College Boyz would go onto to release one more album on Virgin (which did even worse commercially than their debut) before fading into the dark abyss that ninety percent of hip-hop acts dwell after their 15 minutes of fame in this here rap game expires.

I’ve never listened to Radio Fusion Radio before today, but bought it used for a few dollars on the strength of the lead single that I dug back in the day.

Random Factoid: Romany Malco wrote MC Skat Kat’s verse on Paula Abdul’s mash 1989 hit “Opposites Attract”.

Victim of The Ghetto – This was the first single from Radio Fusion Radio, and one of two songs I was actually familiar with before today. Tony Joseph and Eric “Quicksilver” Johnson loop up the same Eddie Kendrick’s loop that Kanye and D-Dot would use many years later for Nas’ “Papa Was A Playa” instrumental, and it sounds just as dope as the latter. Rom uses it to sing praises to the hood, while simultaneously admitting to being mentally trapped by the ghetto, as he raps “born and raised on the same damn concrete, and I’ll be put to sleep in these streets”. Shoutout to Brenda Jean Sims who puts her foot into singing the hook on this one. This song sounds as dope today as it did 25 plus years ago.

Interlude: Radio Fusion –  The first of many interludes that are apparently from the fictitious Radio Fusion Radio station that the album is built around.

Hollywood Paradox – This was the second single from Radio Fusion Radio. The production duo of Dez & Adonis loop up a portion of The Isley Brothers “For The Love Of You” for the backdrop, and Rom’s talking about people seeking success in Hollywood. Ironically, on the song’s finally verse Rom says “I ain’t one to front on my own kind, Hollywood ain’t nothin’ to me but a mother fuckin’ sign”, which is another paradox, considering his current occupation. But I digress. Overall, this was solid.

Politics of A Gangster – I’ve never heard of I-ROC or Jammin’ James Carter before today, but they turn a Barry White loop into a monster instrumental on this one. Rom uses it to share a tell of a young boy who gets tangled up with the Mafia. Rom’s story isn’t all that interesting, but when your instrumental bangs like this, who cares about a storyline?

Underground Blues – The CB’s slow things down a bit as Rom shares a few sad hood stories over a melodic melancholic backdrop that supports his content, perfectly. I like this one.

Interlude: The Homeless – A failed attempt at a funny interlude.

Rigmarole – This song is all over place. Over the course of three verses, Rom talks about his dislike of jeri curls and gangbangin’ and his love for bangin’ out fat girls and getting into fights on the subway. Humphrey Riley & DJ Ron Ski’s instrumental is garbage, which only adds salt to the already open wound.

Interlude: After The Messages – Useless interlude.

Interlude: Peter Pump – See comments from “Interlude: The Homeless”.

Interlude: I Gotcha – Really? Who sequences an album with three consecutive interludes? Oh yeah… the College Boyz do.

Humpin’ – Trash.

Interlude: Phone Sex – I must admit that I love the seductively funky instrumental playing underneath the moaning mistress on this short interlude.

College Boyz In The House – Rom’s opening line for this one is “we be lookin’ for the lyric and the flow”; well keep looking, fellas. While you’re at it, keep your eyes peeled for a better instrumental for the song too, because this bootleg New Jack Swing shit is trash.

Interlude: Concerned Parent – This interlude was actually pretty funny. The first one that made me laugh all night.

Real Man – Rom spits sub par cliché lines about what a “real man” does for his woman, which doesn’t go beyond sexing her and providing for her. While Rom’s rhymes sound like “wah wah wah” when Charlie Brown’s teacher, Miss Othmar is speaking, the r&b tinged Dez & Adonis instrumental kind of works. And who knew that Squeak (he is 1/4 of the College Boyz) could actually sing? He sounds pretty nice on the hook. Ultimately, the song fails because of its choppy format and numerous interruptions, courtesy of females calling into the faux radio station (I did find the comments about Freddy Jackson and Luther Vandross having big booties hi-larious).

Interlude: Highroller Parade – More uselessness.

How Ta Act – The Double Platinum Production team (which consist of Humphrey Riley, DJ Ron Ski and Wiz) samples Funkadelics’ way too often tapped “(Not Just) Knee Deep” for the backdrop, and it doesn’t even sound remotely innovative or interesting. Rom doesn’t help matters by spitting corny bars like “You know I can’t stand coffee, so wake the hell up and get a sniff of this forty”. This was terrible.

Interlude: Tips of The Day – And even more uselessness.

Funky Quartet – Doo-wop meets hip-hop on this one. The instrumental (whose production is credited to a Karl F. Stephenson) borrows the bass line from Betty Wright’s “Tonight Is The Night” and adds some pretty piano chords to it. Rom’s rhymes are unimpressive (what’s up with his obsession of overdose, suicide, homicide, DOA and genocide? This is the third song on Radio Fusion Radio that he mentions what he refers to as the “five faces of death”) but Squeak and company sound dope harmonizing on the hook over the melodic backdrop.

Interlude: Who The Fuck Is This? – And this is the  final useless interlude of Radio Fusion Radio.

Politics of A Gangster Dub – This instrumental was so dope the College Boyz decided to bring it back without Rom’s rhymes, so you can enjoy it without any distractions (well, less distractions…the adlibs were left in). And Radio Fusion Radio is done.

Radio Fusion Radio could have been a strong EP, had it ended after “Underground Blues”. But it doesn’t. It continues on for 16 additional tracks, of which nine, yes, nine, are interludes (and only one of the nine is actually worth your while), and only two of the remaining six songs (excluding the “Politics of A Gangster Dub”) are worthy of your time. Hence, Radio Fusion Radio winds up being a directionless underwhelming collection of songs with really bad cover artwork…and way too many interludes.

-Deedub

 

 

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J Rock – Streetwize (1991)

One of the reasons I love doing this blog is no matter how much I’m engulfed in the culture or how much of a hip-hop historian I think I am, there is always an artist and/or an album that I missed. Today’s post is one of those artist and albums. J Rock’s Streetwize.

According to the liner notes from the 2007 reissue of Streetwize, that I found at Cheapos in the used bins still wrapped in its original packaging for less than ten bucks (which is an awesome deal, since you can’t find it online for less than $100): In 1989 J Rock was a eighteen-year-old inspiring emcee out of Newburgh, NY. He was discovered by Jeff Murphy who at the time had an independent label called Ghetto Groovz. Murphy would help J Rock release his debut single in 1990 (“The Chosen One”), which didn’t make a ton of noise, but later that same year, he did make some noise when he was featured in the once highly coveted Unsigned Hype column of the December 1990 issue of The Source. J Rock and Murphy would take advantage of the newly found buzz and release J Rock’s debut album Streetwize in 1991.

J Rock would produce a large chunk of the album, with Eazy Moe Bee contributing, as well as DJ Premier. The album received favorable reviews upon its release, including a lukewarm three mics from The Source, even though Big B sung praises to J Rock throughout the review. Spine Magazine journalist, Chris Aylen was bold enough to say: “This (Streetwize) is like the Amerikka’s Most Wanted of the New York ghetto.

I say Chris Aylen was either on to something or on something.

Let Me Introduce Myself – J Rock begins Streetwize with a decent self-produced instrumental, and he sounds pretty decent on the mic as he displays some solid wordplay and witty bars.

Under Arrest – This is a short interlude with a funky piano loop that takes on a dark feel when J Rock adds what sounds like slamming bars to a jail cell. This all sets up the next song…

Streetwize – Our host uses the title song to address the daily happenings in the streets of any inner city across America. He talks about everything from baggin’ bad chicks, packin’ heat, selling drugs, dealing with cops, and sounds fly when he spits bars like “No drugs are being sold on the ave, I just laugh, cause I’m clean like a bath”. J Rock’s backdrop sounds like a slightly sped up version of the instrumental he used for “Let Me Introduce Myself”, with an added smooth horn loop on the hook, giving the track a little more life.

Brutality – J Rock spits one quick verse about what he calls “every black man’s nightmare”: getting their ass beat by a white cop for simply being black. Premo’s backdrop (with a co-production credit going to J Rock) has an eerie vocal sample that gives the song a dark feel, but I’m not crazy about the heavy drums he lays underneath it. Furthermore, J Rock forces his rhymes to fit the beat and it winds up sounding super amateurish.

The Pimp – Premo get his second production credit of the evening, and this one’s a banger. Dope bass line, sick loop and slick signature Premo cuts on the hook, are all elements that make this one a certified monster. It almost feels like Premo’s backdrop sparks J Rock’s creative energy, as he spits sharp battle rhymes and his flow sounds fresher than any of the songs prior to this one. This one goes hard, and will definitely make you want to bitch slap the shit out of somebody. #Pimpshit.

The Shakedown – J Rock clearly had some bad run-in’s with the po-po, since this is the third song out of the first six he talks about cops on. This time he calls out the crooked cops who harass and shakedown brothers in the name of the law, but really do it to pad their own pockets. J hooks up a decent instrumental that kind of reminds me of Scarface’s “Money And The Power”. J’s content is solid, unfortunately his stiff delivery derails all the positive aspects of this song.

Neighborhood Drug Dealer – I’m sure you can figure out what this song is about based on the song title, but if you can’t: J Rock paints the picture of a drug dealer from the hood and the fate that awaits all big time drug dealers who aren’t named Shawn Carter. The deep rumbling bass line gives credibility to the song, and the KRS-One vocal sample (courtesy of “Love’s Gonna Get’cha (Material Love)” from Edutainment) is a nice added touch to the hook.

Don’t Sleep On Me – Our host takes a brief break from his heavy street commentary, and lightens the mood with some light-hearted bars. J Rock’s rhymes and delivery on this one remind me of a combination of D.I.T.C members, Lord Finesse and AG. But as nice as J sounds on this one, his instrumental is the true star. This song is perfect for playing while cruisin’ (is cruisin’ still even a thing?) on a sunny summer afternoon.

Root Of All Evil – Possibly one of the most misquoted bibles verses is 1 Timothy 6:10, which reads the “love of money is the root of all evil”. Money in and of itself, is not evil, but the love (or lust) of it is the root of all evil. J Rock uses his verses on this song to call out preachers, politician, pushers and the general population and the ill deeds they partake in the pursuit of the green stuff, but like many, he omits that all important verb (love) from his hook. J’s lyrics are cool, but the instrumental is way too happy-go-lucky to support his content, in my opinion.

The Messiah – J Rock hooks up a dope instrumental that almost sounds like something Premo might have created. He then proceeds to talk his shit and spit battle bars as he claims to be the Messiah of this rap shit. God emcee, J Rock is not, but the song is still pretty dope, though.

Ghetto Law – Premier works his magic again and lays down a funky instrumental laced with his signature razor-sharp cuts and vocal scratches on the hook, as our host continues to boast of his lyrical greatness. It’s definitely not J Rock’s best lyrical performance on Streetwize, (I love the line “Knock you out like a lightweight, girls wanna swallow the lyrics that I ejaculate”), but he doesn’t derail the dopeness of Premo’s production work.

Around My Way – Over a decent backdrop Mr. Rock discusses the happenings in his neck of the woods, aka the concrete jungle. He covers everything from crackheads to drug dealers, to teenage moms and athletes who never reached their full potential. It’s not a terrible song, but definitely filler material.

The Real One – Over a laid back backdrop, our host spits one quick verse, again, boasting about he lyrical prowess. He does spit some clever bars like “I’m from upstate, my home’s a rough place, you wanna try and bass, then you’ll get a punched face” (again reminding me of Lord Finesse with his delivery and word connection), but the instrumental is sleepy and damn near put me to sleep…*yawn*.

Another Tough Guy – J Rock continues to walk on the dark side with his social commentary. This time he paints the picture of fatherless boy whose mom worked two jobs to put food on the table, and with both parents absent, the boy goes on to join a gang, sell drugs and ultimately, go to prison. A story that unfortunately, too many brothers have lived out. J Rock’s flow is kind of corny on this one, but the content hits home and the reggae-tinged instrumental is pretty slick.

Dead – Quick interlude that has a father getting word from the police that his son is dead. This sets up the next song…

Save The Children – Apparently this was the first single from Streetwize. J Rock flips the same Love Unlimited loop that Above The Law used on “Flow On” (from Livin’ Like Hustlers), as he discusses the violence that kids in America face and stresses the importance of making sure our youth are protected. The urgency of J Rock’s instrumental brings out our host’s strong content. And as bleak as J Rock’s content is, the uplifting horn loop during the chorus almost serves at a glimmer of hope for a brief moment. This was brilliantly.

Cazanova – J Rock’s in pimp mode on this one, as he brags about how much of a ladies man he is. It was kind of weird to have this sequenced after the masterpiece that was “Save The Children”, but sequencing couldn’t make this dragging instrumental sound entertaining.

Let’s Get It Together – Finally, after all the depressing content from the previous songs, J Rock looks to inspire as he calls for the black community to come together and make a change. Unfortunately, his bland backdrop does little to inspire and his flow is at its sloppiest.

Get Rek – For you younger whippersnappers, “catching wreck” was a slang term commonly used in the nineties by emcees when they felt they were in a zone with the flow, or as J Rock spells it “rek”. Over a nasty Easy Moe Bee instrumental, J does just what the title suggest. Next to “The Pimp” this is the best J’s rhymes and flow sound on Streetwize.

Neighborhood Drug Dealer (Remix) – J Rock taps Premo to produce this remix. While the original mix had more of a dark feel, thanks to a thick bass line, Premo gives it a bit of jazzy after hours feel that sounds pretty dope, especially during the hook when he brings the piano loop in.

The 2007 reissued print of Streetwize includes the following additional songs:

Don’t Sleep On Me (Remix) – This remix has absolutely nothing on the original.

Save The Children (Remix) – J Rock adds an additional verse to this remix. The instrumental is decent but too laid back and doesn’t sound intense enough to support J Rock’s dense content.

Streetwize lives up to its name, as it’s chock-full of dark and vivid street tales. Most of the content is depressing, but J Rock dilutes the darkness by throwing in a light-hearted song boasting of his lyrical or sexual prowess, every now and then. Speaking of lyrics, J Rock is far from the “Rap Messiah” that he claims to be throughout the album, but he is a decent emcee that shows flashes of greatness on a few songs (i.e. “The Pimp” and “Get Rek”). The production on Streetwize is what truly carries the album. The Premo produced tracks are the clear standouts, but don’t sleep on J Rock’s production skills, as he does a pretty solid job behind the boards, cooking up a few spectacular joints in the process (i.e. “Don’t Sleep On Me” and “Save The Children”). Streetwize is not a great album, but it definitely deserves more respect than just being remembered as that album Premo did some of his earliest production work on.

-Deedub

 

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H.E.A.L. – Civilization Vs. Technology (September 24, 1991)

H.E.A.L., which is an acronym for Human Education Against Lies, is a movement that was formed and led by the Blastmaster KRS-One back in the early nineties. KRS-One’s beliefs and philosophies have changes plenty over the past 30 years, but in the early nineties he was pushing a humanist movement. He received a little heat from some of the black community and leaders who felt his agenda should have been more focused on the African-American struggle, and some of you may recall that X-Clan had a few words for Kris (to which Kris would of course, have a rebuttal), because they felt he should be teaching Afrocentricity and not an all-inclusive humanist message. Regardless of the criticism, KRS-One would gather together a bunch of his friends, who collectively would form H.E.A.L. and release the subject of today’s post Civilization Vs Technology.

The liner notes of Civilization Vs Technology spell out the album’s mission statement (the “all caps” format is not mine): HUMAN EDUCATION AGAINST LIES IS A FORWARD MOVEMENT FOR SELF CONSTRUCTION. WE BELIEVE THAT BEFORE YOU ARE A RACE, AN OCCUPATION OR A RELIGION YOU ARE HUMAN. The H.E.A.L. roster would range from hip-hop’s most respected emcees to newcomers, as KRS-One and his BDP crew members and affiliates would handle the bulk of the production duties.

I stumbled upon Civilization Vs Technology during one of my used cd bins scavenger hunts a few months ago. This is my first time listening to the album, so lets see how this one goes, shall we?

Heal Yourself – This was the lead single from CVT and the only song I’d ever heard going into this post. Harmony, Kid Capri, Big Daddy Kane, Freddy Foxxx (now known as Bumpy Knuckles), LL  Cool J, MC Lyte, Queen Latifah, KRS-One, Ms. Melodie and Run DMC come together and address issues that effect all humanity. Because, as KRS-One so eloquently puts it “before you’re a color, first you’re human, teaching humanity it what we’re doing”. I love the content on this one, plus the D-Nice/KRS-One concocted instrumental is dope.

I Am What I Am – I never heard of Sister Carol before listening to CVT, but apparently she’s a female reggae artist. This is her solo joint and she definitely makes the most of it. Long time BDP associates Anton and Sidney Mills lay down a hectic paced, but nasty instrumental that Sister Carol chants all over with rabbit like speed. This was dope.

Anti-Ho – KRS-One hooks up a simple instrumental driven by a deep bouncy bass line for his ex-wife Ms. Melodie (rip) to spit one quick verse about saving a woman from the clutches of whoredom. During her verse, Melodie bust through a window (which is hi-larious to me when I visualize it) to rescue said promiscuous woman, who has apparently just dropped to her knees to give dome to a bunch of fellas. Now that’s some serious cock blocking, Ms. Melodie. KRS-One then ends the song with thought-provoking rhetoric and poses an interesting question to the listener. This song was the perfect balance of conscious and entertaining.

Whole World African – As you probably already can tell by this point, I’m not that well versed when it comes to reggae artist. Ska Danks is another reggae artist that I’ve never heard of before today, and this is his solo joint on CVT. One of the reasons I’m not that well versed in reggae artist or a huge fan of their music is because the pace they deliver their rhymes combined with their accents, makes it hard for me to understand what the hell they’re saying most of the time. That is also the case with Ska Danks. But have no fear, KRS-One’s smooth backdrop and the catchy hook save this song.

Don’t Hold Us Back – I’m not sure if Heather B was ever an official member of BDP, but she was definitely an affiliate. The first time I heard her rhyme was on “7 Deejays” from BDP’s Edutainment album. For this one, Kenny Parker slides HB a funky little diddly that she uses to spit one long verse about relationships. She sounds a little stiff and gets sloppy at certain points of the song, but still manages to sew together a pretty nice story line and drops a few sage like jewels for the listener to marvel at (“it’s not that they don’t love you or want to see you fail, but what’s stronger than love is the ego of a male”). This was dope. Shoutout to the whole Sway In The Morning crew.

Know Your Culture – This is equivalent to the reggae version of “Heal Yourself”. Kevin B, Sleepy Wonder (which is a dope alias), Reverend Badoo, Mickey Jarrett, Bigga Don, Shabba Ranks, Shelly Thunder, Lady English and Miss Linda (I’ve actually heard of a few of these guys) all come together to promote the importance of knowing yourself which is knowing your culture…I think. Unlike “Heal Yourself” this one is boring as hell and hard to listen to.

O’ Freedom – The yawn fest continues. I’ve never heard of Kushite, Musik G or Sky High before this listen and I’ll be completely fine if I never hear from them again in life. I’m all for the upliftment of Africa and Afrocentricity, but you still have to make the message sound entertaining, guys. Plus, Sky High’s instrumental is trash.

One Bright Day – Now, if you’re going to put a reggae artist on an album, no better choice than to get one of the heir’s of reggae royalty to do it. Bob Marley’s eldest son, Ziggy Marley and his band The Melody Makers join the H.E.A.L. movement and provide a simply song calling for unity within humanity. The deep grove is infectious and the repetitive lyrics actually work well for this song.

Family Got To Get Busy – Salt N Pepa and Ms. Melodie spit short verses, and in between and after their verses are short interjections about family from Kool Moe Dee, Grand Daddy I.U., Ziggy Marley, Kid Capri, DMC, KRS-One, Chuck D, Doug E. Fresh and Red Alert. Even though the song’s format is unorthodox it works, plus KRS-One’s summer breezy instrumental just feels good.

Correct Education –  KRS-One introduces a rapper named Ready Z, not to be confused with Steady B, which was another emcee that Kris worked with in the past (if you read this blog on a regular basis you already knew that, though…if not, read about it here). Ready Z actually sounds a little like Steady, just a conscious version. Ready spits one quick verse over his decent self-produced instrumental before getting the hell out of Dodge.

Family – Simone (who would later become KRS-One’s second wife, after he divorced Ms. Melodie… it’s kind of  interesting that he had them both appear on this project) gets a solo joint and a chance to showcase her voice as she sings about the importance of family. The only problem is Simone is not a good singer and sounds like a tone deaf female version of Keith Sweat. It also doesn’t help that KRS-One’s sappy instrumental makes the whole idea of family feel sad instead of something that should be celebrated. This song should have never made the final cut for CVT.

Civilization Vs Technology – This one starts off well with Harmony singing and KRS-One spittin’ rhymes about saving the earth over some rough violin stabs. Then the beat drops, the weird guitar licks and the godawful vocal of R.E.M.’s lead man, Michael Stipe comes in and the song completely falls apart. I’m not exaggerating when I say Stipe’s singing made me want to break the cd in two and light it on fire, but that probably wouldn’t help the earth and I’m sure KRS-One would come up with some theory of how my broken cd would affect the ozone layer too. This song sounds terrible, which is sad since there was a good message in the song.

Tighten Up Your Wig – WTF is this? Reminds me of a dark version of the theme song for Gilligan’s Island. And that’s not a compliment.

It was a great marketing plan by Kris and his staff to put a hip-hop all-star team together for the lead single, which turns out to be a great record, and the strongest song on the album. Even though the next four songs don’t include any A-list emcees, they are all solid records as well. And then things get messy. With the exception of Ziggy Marley’s joint and when the all-stars take the court again on “Family Got To Get Busy”, the rest of Civilization Vs Technology ranges from mediocre to straight trash, thanks to sub-par talent, horrible singing and horrific production. Civilization Vs Technology makes a conscious effort to be a conscious effort. Unfortunately, most of the consciousness isn’t entertaining so the messages fall on deaf ears and make for a less than luxurious listen.

-Deedub

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Sway & King Tech – Concrete Jungle (June 11, 1991)

Sway and Tech’s legacy will always be cemented in the annuals of hip-hop for what their legendary radio show, The Wake Up Show, did for hip-hop in the nineties. Through their radio show the bay area duo helped provide a platform for hip-hop artists from both coasts, but also gave credibility to some east coast artist who might not have received love from the west if not for Sway & Tech’s co-sign. The show would also lead to the duo releasing compilation mixtapes and freestyle mixes taken from their show. It’s safe to say that Sway & Tech were to the west coast what Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito were to the east coast. Sway will also be remembered for being the dread-headed hat wearing host of MTV News in the early 2000’s (back when MTV still played videos). He recently took on the role as the host for MTV’s revamped version of TRL, and you can hear him every weekday morning hosting his SiriusXM radio show Sway In The Morning on Shade 45, which I listen to religiously. Yet with all Sway and Tech have accomplished in hip-hop, its safe to say that none of that would have been possible if it wasn’t for the subject of today’s post, Concrete Jungle.

Sway who was an inspiring emcee, and King Tech who was a b-boy with a curiosity for deejaying, met as teenagers back in Oakland. They along with some other fellas linked up and formed a group called the Flynamic Force. Time would eventually weed out the others, leaving only Tech and Sway who would put in the work and record their own music. Tech would continue to hone his skills on the turntables and behind the boards, while Sway would work on his pen game, and the duo would eventually win a contest that allowed them to play their music on a local radio station, creating a local buzz that would lead to them getting Giant Records attention, where they would sign a deal and release their debut album, Concrete Jungle in the summer of 1991.

Sway would handle the rhyming with Tech holding down the production on Concrete Jungle. The album would ultimately flop, becoming a footnote on their resume, but it would also become the foundation Sway & Tech would build their hip-hop legacy upon.

IntroConcrete Jungle opens with a skit that has Sway getting on a bus where he runs into a homeboy he hasn’t seen in a while. The two chop it up (at one point Sway asks about his homie’s brother, and his homie lets Sway know he was shot. Sway then comes off like an insensitive bastard, as he breezes over it and goes into the next question without even asking if his brother’s okay or still alive for that matter) before a third homeboy gets on the bus, then melee breaks out, followed by gun shots, setting up the first song of the evening. This skit is way too long. They could have cut this in half and still accomplished what they were shooting for (no pun intended).

Concrete Jungle – Sway and Tech get the title track out the way right away. Tech provides a smooth mid-tempo groove that Sway uses to give a street report on the drama that goes on everyday in the hood, aka the concrete jungle. Sway sounds like a respectable emcee and Tech’s instrumental is pretty dope. Nice start to the evening.

Devastating – Tech brings hard drums, tribal drums, a whistle and chops up a dope female vocal soundbite, that all cumulate into a favorable instrumental. Sway spits forgettable rhymes over it, but he doesn’t take away from the dopeness of Tech’s backdrop.

Baddest Mutha On 2 Turntables (Remix) – This is basically Sway’s ode to his deejay. The song opens with Tech doing some corny deejay cuts at a live show, and then Sway spends the rest of the song paying homage to his deejay via rhyme. I don’t know why I find it funny hearing Sway say “muthafucka”, but for some reason it makes me chuckle. I appreciate the sentiment, but the song isn’t all that impressive.

Rock Steady – Sway’s rhymes and delivery sound every bit like 1991 on this one, and that’s not a compliment. Tech’s drum beat sounds like the basic drum pattern you would beat out on the table during your school lunch cipher back in the day. He adds some cheesy sounding keyboard elements to it, and amazingly, it sounds pretty dope.

Let Me See You Move – House music was king in the early nineties, and even hip-hop artists were jumping on the wave, mixing hip-hop with house. That is exactly what Sway and Tech do with this one. Unfortunately, like many of the songs that have tried to mix the two genres before it, this one also fails. Tech’s instrumental is corn, Sway sounds like a poor man’s Freedom Williams and the uncredited nasally male vocalist on the hook begins to grate on the ears after a while. This was trash.

New Dimension – More hip-hop/house fusion. This probably sounded amazing playing in the clubs back in the nineties, but as a record on its own merit, it sounds corny and very dated.

Future Sound – Tech provides a smooth groove with a deep bass line, while Sway’s in battle mode and gets pretty lyrical “xing off the fonies” and “fuckin’ up the rips offs”. Well done, gentlemen.

In Control – Tech’s drum pattern on this one is pretty basic, but the guitar loop that comes in on the break and the slick horn loop laced throughout the song brings this instrumental to life. Sway sounds cool on the mic, but the true star of this one is Tech’s instrumental.

Bum Rush The Sound – Again, Sway’s rhymes sound a little dated, but Tech’s production work on this one is phenomenal. From his cuts on the breaks, to the nasty sax loop laced throughout the song, I was very impressed.

Time 4 Peace – It’s been awhile since any song on the album has even remotely been related to the Concrete Jungle theme (like, since the first song), but Sway and Tech get things back on track with this one. Tech loops up some Isaac Hayes for the backbone of his funky smooth groove, while Sway discusses more neighborhood dramas and calls for peace in the hood. This was adequate.

Follow 4 Now (Remix) – I never heard the original, but I’m not sure how I feel about this remix. Sway sounds decent enough on the mic, but Tech’s instrumental seems like it’s all over the place and never finds an identity.

It’s Not Over – Another party track from the duo. Over an instrumental that has remnants of house spilled all over it, Sway drops cliché lines about making your body move to Tech’s beat. The song is pretty corny, but the female vocal sample on the hook gives it a nice soulful touch, that saves the song from being a complete lost.

Same Old Thang – For the last song of the evening, Tech sets the mood with a laid back piano loop and turns it into a dope instrumental with a very serious feel. Sway uses it to call out the biters and copycats in this here game (yep, they even existed back in 1991), but he sounds sleepy and stiff reciting his rhymes. No worries, Tech’s instrumental is nasty enough to keep you entertained by itself.

I have to admit that I wasn’t feeling optimistic going into listening to Concrete Jungle for the first time. I respect what both Sway and Tech have contributed to the culture, collectively and individually, but I just wasn’t sure what to expect from them musically. Even though it’s clumsily titled (being only two songs touch on the subject), Concrete Jungle is a pretty decent album. Some of Sway’s rhymes sound dated and stiff, but he still comes across as a serviceable emcee. Without question, it’s Tech’s production that truly carriers Concrete Jungle. There are a few missteps (i.e. his house/hip-hop fusion experiments) but sonically, Tech provides quality backdrops throughout Concrete Jungle, which makes me wonder why he wasn’t tapped to produce more artist’s songs after this project. It may be a footnote on their resume’s, but it not a bad debut. I would have been interested to hear what a follow-up project from the duo would have sounded like.

-Deedub

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Kool Moe Dee – Funke Funke Wisdom (June 11, 1991)

We last heard from Kool Moe Dee in 1991 with his third full-length release Knowledge Is King. You can read my thoughts on that album by clicking this link, but in a few words: Knowledge Is King was chalked full of mediocre rhymes and less than stellar production. Regardless of my opinion, the album earned Moe Dee his second consecutive gold plaque. Moe Dee would return in 1991 with his fourth release and very cheesily titled album, Funke Funke Wisdom.

Like the rest of his catalog, Moe Dee would handle a large chunk of the production with a few others contributing, including his long-time production collaborator, Teddy “New Jack Swing” Riley. Funke Funke Wisdom received mixed reviews and was a commercial disappointment that would end up being Moe Dee’s final album on Jive. He would release one more album on an independent label before going on to teach and write books where he would ridiculously proclaimed himself the 5th greatest emcee of all-time (see his book There’s A God On The Mic), two slots before his rival LL Cool J, who clearly one their battle and had a more successful career in the industry…but I digress.

Random  factoid: Did you know that Kool Moe Dee was the first rapper ever to perform life at the Grammy’s? The year was 1989, which was also the first year the Grammy’s gave out a hip-hop related Grammy. The award was for Best Rap Performance. Kool Moe Dee received a nomination for his hit record “Wild Wild West”, but DJ Jazzy Jeff & Fresh Prince would take home the award for their comedic classic “Parents Just Don’t Understand”.

IntroFunke Funke Wisdom begins with a Teddy Riley produced instrumental and soundbites from Kool Moe Dee placed over it, which are apparently supposed to explain the album title.

Funke Wisdom – The first official song of the evening is the title track (well, kind of the title track, just minus one of the “Funke”s) that sonically has Teddy Riley’s new jack swing fingerprints all over it. Moe Dee uses it to do just what the title suggest, as he discusses the ills that come with the pursuit of money, the importance of women in society, and the mathematics behind science and nature. Even though his last album was titled Knowledge Is King, on this song’s final verse he proclaims that “knowledge aint enough, you need funke, funke wisdom”. Contradiction or new-found enlightenment? Whatever the case, this was a decent way to start the evening.

Here We Go Again – Moe Dee starts off the song by basically warning the listeners that he’s going to purposely dumb down his flow for this song, because as he puts it, his “esoteric knowledge is a little too deep for the fans”. Our host raps like an underappreciated emcee with a boulder on his shoulder as he rhymes “my vocabulary’s over their head they can’t understand a word I said, so I got to come with a watered down sound, remedial adjectives, verbs and nouns”. His delivery might be dumbed down, but Moe Dee is still spittin’ bars on this one. The “Atomic Dog” influenced instrumental was trash, though.

To The Beat Y’all – Over a slightly up tempo instrumental, Moe Dee proves that he still has some potent rounds in his rhyming arsenal, as he bends his lyrics with a nimble tongue and pays respect to the old school, and still manages to sneak in a few quick jabs to his long time nemesis, LL Cool J. This was pretty cool, or should I say Kool. I know…I’m corny.

How Kool Can One Blackman Be – This was the lead single from Funke Funke Wisdom. Teddy Riley uses the same James Brown “Papa Don’t Take No Mess” loop that Biz first used for his classic record “Vapors”, and turns it into a smooth groove. Moe Dee then channels his inner Rakim and spits some pretty solid bars over it. I remember this song from back in the day, but definitely didn’t appreciate it as much as I do today. This is dope.

Bad, Bad, Bad – Moe Dee sticks with a subdue monotone flow, and like the previous song, it works in his favor. Our host spits more solid bars as he talks his shit over a tough instrumental, that he also produced. On the third verse it sounds like Moe Dee takes a few shots at his Treacherous Three brethren and admits to dumbing down his lyrics in order to make hits on his previous solo albums; but he still demands respect for helping blueprint the lyrical emcee: “but weak rappers and a lack of promotion, made the job hard I had to throw some, weak lyrics together just to get paid, go “See The Doctor” and I got played, the train continued to the “Wild Wild West”, I heard some brother say he aint the best (huh), well take the records that aint well-known, and look around and see all my clones”. Hmmm…interesting perspective. I like this one.

Rise N’ Shine – This was the third single from Funke Funke Wisdom. At the beginning of the song Moe Dee informs the listener that KRS-One and Chuck D will be joining him on this one. You start to think he made a mistake with that comment, as he spits three verses (the first two sound like Chuck D may have written them) before KRS-One and Chuck D round off the final two verses. I’m not a huge fan of Moe Dee’s basic instrumental for this one or his rhymes for that matter, but Mr. Parker lives up to the song title and walks away the illuminated champion of this one.

Mo’ Better – Teddy Riley’s new jack swing meets jazz on this short instrumental interlude. The instrumental is cool, but it feels like a random idea put on the album to fill up space.

I Like It Nasty– KMD might be an intellectual, but he still likes a woman with a mind and who knows how to work her behind. Our host builds his instrumental around the same Mtume loop Kid Capri would use a year later for Grand Puba’s “Back It Up” record. The instrumentals sound almost identical, so it must be Puba’s flow and charisma that bring his song to life, because I didn’t care much for this song.

Death Blow – This was the second single released from Funke Funke Wisdom. LL and Moe Dee had been feuding on record since the late eighties. This is the last dis record of that feud. In my opinion, the instrumental on a dis record is almost as important as the lyrics, and while this instrumental isn’t terrible it’s definitely not strong enough to effectively fire verbal darts at your enemy over. Moe Dee manages to land a few decent blows (i.e. “my lyrical beat down will leave ya in coma, cause you can’t hang without a high school diploma” and “if mama said knock me out come do it, you can’t win and that *scratch* knew it” (the *scratch* covers up “bitch” or “hoe” which kind of takes away from the line’s potency, but it’s still hi-larious)), but overall this was not a strong enough response to overcome the damage LL inflicted on “To Da Break Of Dawn”.

Let’s Get Serious – Moe Dee brings back his monotone Rakim style flow for this one, and he completely demolishes the self-produced backdrop. Well done, Mr. Dewese.

Poetic Justice – The first few times I listened to this song I wasn’t feeling it, but now I appreciate it. The Moe Dee/Keith Spencer/Dale Hogan instrumental will win you over in time, and Moe Dee spits some pretty nice bars too: “awaken, achen, taken codeine, now you’re trying to OD, cause you don’t want none of Moe Dee, pain relievers, won’t relieve ya, suicide won’t do it either, even after I cremate you, I’m a reincarnate you, bring you back for another round, just to put you back in the ground”. Talk your shit Moe Dee!

Gangsta Boogie – Moe Dee uses this one to call out those obsessed with the gangsta lifestyle. The instrumental (which is credited to the trio of Moe Dee, Keith Spencer and Dale Hogan) sounds a lot like BBD’s “I Thought It Was Me”, only not as potent. Overall, this song was decent, I guess.

Times Up – The last song on Funke Funke Wisdom is an exercise in mediocrity. And with that, we’re done.

On Funke Funke Wisdom, an aging Moe Dee proves that he still has a few rounds left in his lyrical holster. But only a few. For every song that he spits bars, there’s a song that he spits trash. And on the production side, for every dope instrumental, there’s three garbage ones. Funke Funke Wisdom is not a terrible listen, but it is very uneven, especially coming from the self-proclaimed 5th greatest emcee of all-time.

-Deedub

 

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Son Of Bazerk Featuring No Self Control And The Band – Bazerk, Bazerk, Bazerk (May 14, 1991)

Nineties hip-hop gave us several abstract artists and one-off projects, but no one project or group may have epitomized both those things more than the subject of today’s post, Son of Bazerk.

Son of Bazerk (government name: Tony Allen) and his 4 man crew (Almighty Jahwell, Daddy Rawe, Sandman and Half Pint) collectively known as No Self Control, were based out of Long Island, New York. SOB actually met Chuck D back in the early eighties when he was doing college radio (legend has it that SOB actually introduced Chuck D to his future partner in rhyme, Flava Flav). His relationship with Chuck would turn out to be an important key in getting his foot in the door, as it would help him build a connection with one of Public Enemy’s Bomb Squad production team members, Hank Shocklee. Shocklee (along with the other parts of the Bomb Squad) would help SOB with the demo tapes that would eventually lead to he and his crew signing a deal with MCA, where they would release their debut album Bazerk Bazerk Bazerk in the spring of 1991.

The album’s title pays homage to James Brown’s debut album Please, Please, Please and the artwork also pays respect to the Godfather of Soul (JB is also the first named SOB and the gang mention in the liner notes as a “musical and lyrical” influence for the album). The Bomb Squad (aka the band) would produce the entire album, and even though it didn’t sell a ton of units, it did receive positive reviews upon its release, and through the years, has developed a cult like following amongst fans.

I bought the album used a few months ago because a song that I absolutely loved back in the day was on it (more on that in a minute), and because I was curious how the Bomb Squad’s production would sound. This is my first time listening to Bazerk Bazerk Bazerk in its entirety, and I’m only familiar with a couple of the songs.

So, let’s see if it lives up to all it’s positive feedback.

The Band Gets Swivey On The Wheels – The first song of the evening finds Son of Bazerk mixing nursery rhymes, James Brown lingo and shit talk, all in around about way to introduce himself and his band to the world. I’m assuming “swivey” is another way of saying “busy” or “jiggy”, or insert what other slang term applies. Right from the jump you can tell that Son of Bazerk’s rhyme style was heavily influenced by his buddy, Chuck D, as he sound almost identical to him on this song. The Bomb Squad’s instrumental isn’t great, but the more times you listen to it, the better it sounds.

Part One – Over a less than spectacular instrumental, SOB continues to spit his bars and sound like a hybrid of James Brown and Chuck D.

Change The Style – This was the first single from Bazerk Bazerk Bazerk. The instrumental is centered around a James Brown soul vibe that randomly changes to reggae, doo-wop and rock at certain points, hence he name of the song. I didn’t care much for this song back in the day, but now I kind of get it. SOB continues to do his JB/Chuck D thing and actually succeeds in making the whole new-wave James Brown hip-hop fusion work. Questlove once put this song on his list of 50 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs. I wouldn’t go that far, but it is pretty dope.

One Time For The Rebel – The Bomb Squad lays down some tough guitar riffs over rough drums, as SOB, Daddy Rawe, and Almighty Jahwell take turns spitting over the fiery backdrop. None of them are great lyricists (although SOB did make me chuckle with his line “like Mack Daddy, drive a black Caddy, I’ll take slim you take fatty”), but they all manage to sound serviceable. The real star of this one is the monster instrumental, though.

What Could Be Better Bitch – I first heard this song on the Juice Soundtrack, that was actually released a few months after Bazerk Bazerk Bazerk. The Bomb Squad slides SOB hard stripped down drums, funky keys and a dark loop, that he puts to good use. No, he’s not a great lyricist, but his boomin’ vocal and swag, along with the catchy hook and nasty backdrop make this a certified banger…even if they left the question mark off the song title.

Bang (Get Down, Get Down)! – A brief break from our regularly scheduled program. Daddy Rawe showcases is struggling vocals, as he croons in an attempt to get a girl to go down on him, aka give him some head. Again, Daddy Rawe’s vocals are not good, and the lyrics, that sound like a bad freestyle, are even worse. On the bright side, the Bomb Squad’s melodic hyper-tempo instrumental turns out to be a pretty dope groove.

Trapped Inside The Rage Of Jahwell – As you might have guessed from the song title, this is an Almighty Jahwell solo joint. He uses the dark and raw backdrop to spit one verse before he gets the hell out of Dodge. He’s no Big Daddy Kane, but the instrumental was kind of enjoyable.

Sex, Sex & More Sex – SOB returns after taking a short break on the last two songs (technically, his break was only for one song, since he did spit a few muffled bars on “Bang (Get Down, Get Down)!”). He comes back in mack mode, throwing on his silk suit as he brags about having a pocket full of money and a 12″ cock, looking for a woman to spend it on and put it in, respectively. This was a fun song, and the instrumental was pretty slick,

N41 – SOB invites all of the crew to join him on this posse cut. Well, most of the crew. Jahwell, Daddy Rawe and Half-Pint all contribute verses, but Sandman never shows up to the party. I’m still trying to figure out how Sandman fits in this whole Son Of Bazerk/No Self Control equation…but I digress. It was mildly funny to hear the fellas block Half-Pint from getting her verse off , but she finally sneaks it in at the tail end of the song (and then you understand that her crew was probably trying to save her from embarrassing herself). Again, if you’re looking for memorizing lyricism from SOB and No Self Control, you’ve come to the wrong spot. The Bomb Squad makes this an entertaining listen with their super understated drums and a dark hypnotic bass line to fill in the tracks empty spots.

Are You Wit Me – SOB takes it back to the old school with this one as he pays homage to the early eighties emcee with his rhyme style. I like what he does with this one, but I like the Bomb Squad’s hard instrumental even more. I don’t like the fact they left out the question mark in the song title for the second time tonight.

J Dubs Theme –  The Bomb Squad slides our hosts a reggae-tinged backdrop, and SOB sounds identical to Chuck D on this one, as he rides the dope drums and thick bass line to perfection. Unfortunately, SOB lets Daddy Rawe sing, which derails the whole train.

Lifestyles Of The Blacks In The Brick – We’ve already gotten a chance to hear Daddy Rawe’s singing (I use the term loosely) on Bazerk Bazerk Bazerk, but this time around he gets a solo joint to display his bars, only. His rhymes and the instrumental are both trash; but on the bright side, his rhymes aren’t as bad as his singing.

Honesty – Speaking of Daddy Rawe and his bad singing, the Bomb Squad slides him a cheesy James Brown-esque funk track that he uses to beg his cheating woman to be honest about her infidelity. Again, he sounds like he’s making up his lyrics as he goes along, and his vocals reach new levels of horrible on this one. Terrible way to end Bazerk Bazerk Bazerk.

Bazerk Bazerk Bazerk starts off slow and ends on a downward spiral, but sandwiched in between the two is a uniquely enjoyable hip-hop experience. Son of Bazerk is far from a master wordsmith (and that’s even more true for his crew), and the whole Chuck D rhyme and vocal style is a bit much at times, but his strong raspy voice is entertaining when placed over the slew of quality Bomb Squad produced instrumentals (Bazerk Bazerk Bazerk would be the swan song for the Bomb Squad’s busy infinite samples per song style of production, which I’m sure was largely due to sample clearance issues and the excessive amounts of money artists and labels were beginning to request for sampling their shit). I get what Son of Bazerk and the Bomb Squad were aiming for on Bazerk Bazerk Bazerk: to pay homage to the Godfather of Soul while fusing his soulful sound with hard hitting hip-hop beats, without it sounding corny. And they succeed. Well done, gents…and lady. And can someone please tell me what the hell Sandman contributed to this album?

-Deedub

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Yo-Yo – Make Way For The Motherlode (March 19, 1991)

If you’re keeping track at home, place this one after Hypocrisy Is The Greatest Luxury.

Make Way For The Motherlode is the debut album from the South Central based female emcee, Yo-Yo. In my review of her second album Black Pearl, I explained how she got her start with a cameo on Ice Cube’s debut solo album. Feel free to read up on that in detail by clicking here. Moving on…

Ice Cube and his right hand production man Sir Jinx, would handle all the production for Make Way For The Motherlode. While Cube, his cousin, Del The Funky Homosapien and a few others would lend their pens to writing a large chunk of Yolanda’s rhymes. Make Way For The Motherlode didn’t earn Yo-Yo any plaques, but it was well received by the fans and critics, alike. I’ve never listened to Make Way For The Motherlode before this review and really have only heard the lead single that made some noise back in ’91 when it came out (more on that song in a bit).

Without further adieu, let’s get into Make Way For The Motherlode.

Stand Up For Your Rights – Before the late comedian Ricky Harris would play DJ EZ Dick from WBalls on Snoop Dogg’s classic debut album Doggystyle, he was first The Smooth One from 103.9787 on Yo-Yo’s Make Way For The Motherlode (there’s a great hip-hop trivia question). After he introduces himself, the interlude then bleeds into a mash-up of callers calling into the radio station asking Yo-Yo for advice, over a loop from Stevie Wonder’s “Too High”. This all sets up the next song…

Stompin’ To Tha 90’s – The first song of the evening begins with a Bomb Squad-esque busy up-tempo backdrop. Yo-Yo sounds fresh and hungry (Del receives the writing credit for this one), as she introduces herself to the world over the energetic groove. Nice way to kick things off.

You Can’t Play With My Yo-Yo – This was the lead single from Make Way For The Motherlode. Yo-Yo’s out to let anyone within earshot know that she’s not to be played with, and Ice Cube drops a co-sign as he handles hook duties. Cube and Jinx tap Earth, Wind & Fire’s classic “Devotion” record for the backdrop, and Hammi Wave adds some additional live instrumentation to make this sound even fresher, sonically. This song sounds as fresh today as it did nearly thirty years ago.

Cube Gets Played – Another short interlude with The Smooth One from 103.9787.

Put A Lid On It – Our host uses this one to warn her sisters to use protection when sexin’, before they wind up pregnant by a man who only wanted to smash and dash. Not a great song, but Yo-Yo’s rhymes and the Cube/Jinx instrumental sounds decent.

What Can I Do? – Before Def Jef would sample Gwen McCrae’s “90% Of Me” for fellow-female (is that an oxymoron?) rapper Boss’ dark classic record “Deeper”, Cube and Jinx would loop it up to help create this smooth backdrop for our host. Yo-Yo rides the instrumental nicely, and her mentor, Ice Cube, even stops by to lend his apprentice a vintage Cube verse, turning this into an entertaining affair. The live keys and bass over the McCrae loop give the song a nice jazz feel, which I found very enjoyable.

Dedication – This Short interlude has L.A. Jay calling in a song request to the Smooth One. Apparently, the Smooth One is a not only a radio host but also a mind reader, as he’s able to know what song L.A. Jay is requesting without Jay ever verbalizing what he wanted to hear. Ricky Harris, I mean, The Smooth One then proceeds to provide a little comic relief before introducing the next song…

Sisterland – Yo-Yo dedicates this one to her sister girls. She big ups herself and then calls for sisterhood, before warning her girls to watch out for the no good dogs out there. Cube and Jinx up-tempo backdrop is decent, but Yo-Yo struggles to find her footing on the track and ends up sounding rushed and out of breath by the end of the song.

The I.B.W.C. National Anthem – Cube and Jinx hook up a super smooth and melodic backdrop that sounds nothing like what I’m accustom to hearing from The Lench Mob. Yo-Yo lets her girls Diamond, Sparkles and Dawn (which all sound like strippers names except for Dawn) get a little mic time and speak on the IBWC’s purpose, or something like that. Yo-Yo then spits one short and sweet verse (I love her line “trying to ignore me is like you’re playing yourself, because if it wasn’t for woman you’d be laying yourself”) before getting the hell out of Dodge.

Make Way For The Motherlode – The title track finds Yo-Yo, once again, struggling to keep up with the frantic pace of the track, as her clarity, breath control and stamina are put to the test throughout this song. And she ultimately fails.

Tonight’s The Night – Yo-Yo invites her guest Dazzie Dee to join her on this duet. Her guest (who is also credit for writing the whole song) plays a horny young cat, who may be sincere about his feeling for Yo-Yo (or maybe his hormones are confusing his true feelings and intent), trying to convince her that the time is right for them to take their intimacy to the next level. Aka smash. Throughout the song, Dee gives reasons why they should have sex, and an unsure Yo-Yo questions and challenges him with her rebuttals. Brilliantly, the song ends without a resolution. I wasn’t a big fan of the uncredited vocalist on the hook, but the instrumental compliments Yo-Yo and Dazzie Dee’s conversation, pretty well.

I Got Played – Cube and Jinx jack the bass line from one of my favorite Bill Withers’ songs “Who Is He (And What Is He To You)?”, that Yo-Yo uses to recall with great detail, the time she fell for a dude who was just out to hit it and quit it. She gets a little tongue-tied during the middle of the song, but overall Yolanda does a pretty solid job with the storyline, and keeps it entertaining.

Girl, Don’t Be No Fool – Sticking with the getting played theme, our host warns the ladies to watch out for all those cheatin’ and beatin’ dogs out there, which seems to be a reoccurring theme on Make Way For The Motherlode. Not a bad song, just not as good as the last few songs.

Ain’t Nobody Better – The song begins with The Smooth One asking Yo-Yo how she feels about all her female competitors, and she spends the length of this song trying to stake her claim in this hip-hop game. Jinx and Cube mix a loop from Funkadelic’s “(Not Just) Knee Deep” (a loop that Dr. Dre would soon fall head over heals for) with a vocal sample from Chaka Khan’s “Ain’t Nobody” and turn it into a solid backdrop.

Outro – The Smooth One makes his final appearance of the evening on this outro, which then leads into the next outro…

More Of What Can I Do – Sister Yolanda brings back the instrumental from “What Can I Do?” and lets Sir Jinx give his list of shoutouts. And we out.

With the exception of a few songs (i.e. “Sisterland” and the title track), Make Way For The Motherlode is a decent to solid debut from sister Yo-Yo. She tends to spend a little too much time focused on foul men and relationships, but thanks to Cube and Jinx consistently solid production, Make Way For The Motherlode entertains, even when are host doesn’t.

-Deedub

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