The first week of July 1991 was a busy week in the annuals of hip-hop. Today’s post marks the beginning of 7 releases that week.
Stetsasonic is one of those groups that I never followed back in the day. I knew who Daddy-O, Wise, and MC Delight were, mostly do to their contribution on the Stop The Violence Movement record Self Destruction, but beyond that I can’t name one Stetsasonic record. It’s not that I thought they were wack or anything, it’s just one of those groups that for some reason or another I never took the time to listen to. Until now.
Hailing from Brooklyn, NY, Stetsasonic is the self-proclaimed first hip-hop band, consisting of the three emcees mentioned above (Daddy-O, Wise, and MC Delight) as well as Frukwan (who left the group after their second album In Full Gear, and would later re-emerge as on of the members of the horrorcore rap act The Gravediggaz ), the drummer Bobby Simmons, D.B.C (which is an acronym for the Devastating Beat Creator) on keys, and Prince Paul (I had no idea he was part of Stetsasonic before picking up today’s album)who acted as the group’s DJ as well as producing some of the tracks.
I happened upon Stets’ Blood, Sweat & No Tears during one of my frequent rummaging through the used cd bins at one of my favorite spots. Blood is Stetsasonic’s third and final album as a group before they disbanded and went their separate ways.
Prince Paul is involved in it so how bad could it be. Well, if all else fails at least the cover artwork is sick.
The Hip-Hop Band – This is an intro produced by Bobby Simmons, who I’m pretty sure also plays live drums on as well. The sampled horns are a nice added touch. This was actually an enjoyable album intro.
No B.S. Allowed – Daddy-O, Wise, and Delite each get a verse on this one with each flexing battle lines. Daddy-O takes what I would think was a shot at Chuck D with his references to “calling in a bomb squad” and “political rap”, but they list PE as one of their Allies in the liner notes, so that throws that theory out the window. Simmons gets the production credit on this one as well. The instrumental was blah and none of the emcees were impressive. Next…
Uda Man – The entire crew gets a verse to spit over this sick Prince Paul produced instrumental. While no one spits a verse that will make you hit the rewind button, Daddy-O’s contribution was clearly the best. Wise makes mention to brown being the opposite of purple? Huh? I must have have missed school the day they covered opposite colors.
Speaking Of A Girl Named Suzy – This is just as much as an ode to Suzy as it is a diss. Daddy-O, Delite, and Wise all share their appreciation for a Stetsasonic groupie named Suzy, who does everything from meeting all of their sexual needs to saving their lives when the tour bus driver falls asleep behind the wheel. Simmons’ instrumental sounds like a poor man’s Teddy Riley new-jack swing joint. This was pretty weak.
Gyrlz – I think you’re smart enough to figure out what this one is about. Daddy-O (with a co-credit going to D.B.C.) gets his first production credit of the evening and turns in a decent instrumental. No new ground covered on this one, though. This was average at best.
Blood, Sweat & No Tears – Prince Paul provides a solid instrumental for Daddy-O and Delite to spit a verse over for this title track. It was mildly amusing to hear Delite force “popsicle” to rhyme with “obstacle”. Not a great song, but decent.
So Let The Fun Begin – Daddy-O gets his second production credit of the evening, and ironically it sounds a lot like his previous work on “Gyrlz”. Daddy-O and Delite spend the course of this one spitting rhymes about partying and bs. This sounds like a blatant attempt at a commercial record, which I’m sure no one was buying back in the day. I’m not feeling it, either.
Go Brooklyn 3 – Wise decides to rejoin his rhyming partners, Daddy-O and Delite on this one as they big up their borough. Simmons provides the drums (and a few other elements) for all three emcees to spit on, and all three do a serviceable jobs. This was cool.
Walkin’ In The Rain – Another love rap song. Over this Bobby Simmons produced instrumental, the Stets emcees dedicate this one to each of the special ladies in their lives, before the song takes a weird twist at the end, which left me questioning the intentions of our hosts on this song: Was this a sincere love song? A parody? Or Both? Daddy-O comes off like a deranged stalker as he screams his rhymes coming off way to aggressive for this laid back instrumental. Though their intentions are not clear and it’s semi-cheesy, this song kind of worked for me. What can I say, I’m a hopeless romantic.
Don’t Let Your Mouth Write A Check That Your Ass Can’t Cash – That’s not a song title, that’s a damn sentence. The song opens with Prince Paul dedicating the song to EPMD, which makes sense when you hear Daddy-O’s funk instrumental. Daddy-O (who sounds like he took a sedative after his hyper contribution on the previous song) and Delite also do their best E-Double/PMD mic tag team impersonation. The was decent.
Ghetto Is The World – Hot Mess.
Your Mother Has Green Teeth – This is a Prince Paul solo joint, that he also produced. I like Paul’s instrumental, but his rhymes are choppy and all over the place. The song title must be an inside joke (which tends to be Paul’s M.O.) as it has nothing to do with the song content.
You Still Smokin’ That Shit? – The best instrumental of the evening so far comes from an outside party. Bob Coulter provides a smooth xylophone for Daddy-O to spit one quick verse that you might miss if you blink. Nice. My only complaint is it was too short.
Heaven Help The M.F.’s – Decent.
Took Place In East New York – Over one of the most generic instrumental ever (brought to us courtesy of Wise and Daddy-O) Wise relives a high school talent show turned battle, that coincidentally took place in East New York. Weak.
Paul’s A Sucker – Classic Prince Paul lunacy: Don Newkirk and Bobby Simmons
screech sing their hearts out for nearly 4 minutes about how much of a sucker Prince Paul is. Some of Paul’s Tomfoolery will make you laugh but this one grows annoying very quickly.
Free South Africa (The Remix) – I’ve never heard the original so I don’t have anything to compare it to, but the remix is decent. Not life changing but decent.
It wasn’t a coincidence, it was intuition. For 23 years my intuition has protected me from the mediocrity that is Blood, Sweat & No Tears. It must have known that I would find the majority of its material sub par and forgettable. It had to have known that even with Prince Paul’s involvement the production would miss way more often than it would hit. There were a few bright spots on Blood, Sweat & No Tears, so it wasn’t a complete disappointment. Going forward I will trust my intuition…at least until I stumble on a used copy of Stetsasonic’s other two records.