As I wrap up the eighties portion of my collection and press forward to the year 1990, fate would have it this weekend while on one of my many used cd shop visits, I would stumble across an out of print and very hard to find (unless you want to fork out $75 and buy it on Amazon, but who can afford to that in this economy?) cd from the California-based duo, Low Profile, titled We’re in This Together. Since it was released in January of 1990, it quickly moved up to the front of my review list. Is this fate or chance?
You may or may not have heard of the group Low Profile (which is a sick name for an underground rap group), but you’ve probably heard of at least half of the parties in the duo. Low Profile, was made up of DJ Aladdin (who worked alongside Ice-T’s long time production partner Afrika Islam) and the half you’re probably already familiar with, veteran west coast emcee W.C. As a group, We’re in This Together would be the duo’s only release together hence adding huge amounts of irony to the album’s title.
Most of you are probably familiar with W.C. based on his collaborating with Ice Cube and
Wac Mac 10 to form the not so super group, Westside Connection. I first became familiar with W.C. on his work with W.C. & The Maad Circle (which also included former crackhead, Coolio as a member, before he went solo, blew up, and became a household name), post Low Profile, pre-Westside Connection era. I remember thoroughly enjoying the Maad Circle debut album Ain’t a Damn Thing Changed (We’re in This Together was also released on the Priority label), and specifically, W.C. and Coolio’s chemistry on the mic as they spit over Sir Jinx and Crazy Tunes funked–out productions. So even though I’ve never heard (or at least don’t recall) a Low Profile song, all of those fond memories of that Maad Circle cassette came rushing back and I had to buy We’re in This Together if only to see if W.C. would sound as good with Low Profile as I remembered him sounding with the Maad Circle. That and the fact is was less than $3, so even if it blows it isn’t a huge investment lost. Plus I can sell it on Ebay for 25 times what I paid for it and recoup my small investment. You gotta love America, kids.
Funky Song – Over a simplistic but serviceable DJ Aladdin beat, W.C. goes right to work without wasting any time on an intro. W.C.’s flow didn’t grab me like it would a year later on W.C. and the Maad Circles debut Ain’t a Damn Thing Changed. But sometimes nostalgia has a weird way of playing tricks on you.
That’s Y They Do It – W.C. used 4 plus minutes (and 4 verses) to explain to the listener why brothers in the hood slang, and does a pretty good job articulating his points. Aladdin’s instrumental work is (again) simple but effective. I’m sure the more I play this one the more I’ll like it. My ear still has to adjust to W.C. subdued flow, though.
Pay Ya Dues – W.C. covers a topic most of the youngins from the current era are probably not familiar with. His line about a sucka emcee sounding like “KrChuckDKooMoeS-One” was kind of corny but funny at the same time. I’m very curious to know who the “soft emcees” he referring to in the 3rd verse are (if you know hit me up in the comments). DJ Aladdin provides a typical West Coast beat for that era. Take that comment for what it’s worth. Overall this was a pretty solid song.
Easy Money – Over a lazy DJ Aladdin funk guitar loop W.C. gets as lyrical as we’ve heard him up to this point as he expresses his love and discipline for the art. Because, as he puts it : rapping is easy money compared to slaving at a 9 to 5 (amen to that, brother). Though I’m not sure exactly why Aladdin’s instrumental appeals to me, and W.C. sounds pretty good over it. After a few more spins I’m sure I’ll really like this song.
Keep Em’ Flowin’ – Aladdin uses the same sample EPMD made famous on their song “Please Listen To My Demo”. W.C. sounds like he was awaken out of a deep sleep, giving a script and held at gunpoint in the booth while forced to recite his lines. To say he sounds subdued on this one would be a huge understatement.
Aladdin’s On A Rampage – This is W.C.’s ode to DJ Aladdin. I love the chemistry these two display as Aladdin finishes W.C.’s lines with scratched in vocal samples. I’ve never been a huge fan of the “ode to my deejay” song (though I respect the sentiment) but this was actually pretty decent.
How Ya Livin’ – W.C. takes on the issues of black on black violence and the crack epidemic (he also manages to throw in a random shout out to the 40 oz). His line “doing 10 to 20 [in prison] braiding another brother’s hair” paints a pretty hi-larious picture. Overall W.C. does a good job (he actually sounds awake while performing his verses), and Aladdin’s instrumental is…presentable.
Comin’ Straight From The Heart – No, this isn’t a heart wrenching melodrama (thank God!). It’s just W.C. talking random shit, but making some valid points along the way. The instrumental is not great but something about it is appealing, though I can’t quite put my finger on what that “something” is. Unfortunately, W.C.’s energy level have plummeted to new lows, making his content mostlyforgettable.
We’re In This Together – For the title track W.C. (for the first time on this album) sounds loose and as if he’s actually having fun during the recording process. Aladdin provides a funky instrumental and adds a live saxophone over the hook which actually works well. Like I always say: it’s always a good thing when the title song works.
Make Room For The Dub B.U. – Everything about this scream demo: Aladdin’s instrumental sound incomplete, W.C.’s energy level changes on every verse as if he recorded all three verses on three different days. That said and the song still wasn’t that bad.
No Mercy – What better way to end an album then with a battle rap, huh? Did I mention W.C. is probably not on anyone’s “top 10 dead or alive” list? But he is serviceable, and Aladdin’s beat complements the C-Walkin emcee well. And with that we’re done.
After one complete listen We’re in This Together isn’t life changing, nor does is cover any new ground that Low Profile’s contemporaries hadn’t already touched upon. There are a few hiccups in the road: W.C.’s flow isn’t as potent as it would become in the years to follow, and Aladdin’s beats aren’t great by any stretch of the imagination. Yet, We’re in This Together
still shapes up to be a decent listen. One that I’m sure that will become more enjoyable with a few more listens. Not bad for $2.95.