Tony D. – Droppin’ Funky Verses (July 1, 1991)

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hop producer Tony D also rapped on the side. Tony D eventually parlayed his night-time passion into deal and released his solo debut Droppin’ Funky Verses on the now defunct label, 4th & Broadway.

I wasn’t aware this album existed until I ran across it in the used bin at a Pawn America nearly 20 years after it’s released. I also didn’t know that Tony D was caucasian until seeing the album cover. Today will be the first time I listen to Droppin’ Funky Verses in its entirety.

Sadly, Tony D died from injuries suffered during a 2009 car accident. He was only 42. RIP.

Check The Elevation – Tony opens Droppin’ Funky Verses spitting battle lines aimed at any would be competitor within earshot.  Tony’s flow is pretty nimble as his vocal reminds me of MC Serch and the flow is reminiscent of Kool Keith. Tony’s instrumental wasn’t stellar but serviceable. His mispronunciation of  “Ralph Kramden” and “competition”, was pretty comical. All in all, nice start to the evenings proceedings.

Buggin’ On The Line –  This song opens with epic horns that lead you to believe this is going to be a high energy monster instrumental, but once the beat drops you’re left a little disappointed as Tony instead provides a laid back funky groove that is enjoyable, just not what was expected.  Tony takes on the media who negatively criticize hip-hop, and he makes a few good points along the way. Not great, but decent.

Tony Don’t Play That – Our host borrows the song title from the slogan of a Damon Wayans In Living Color character Homie the Clown, substituting “Homie” with “Tony”. Cute. All cuteness aside, I didn’t care for this one. Tony’s instrumental is garbage and his flow sounds extremely sloppy.

E.F.F.E.C.T. – Tony reduces his vocal to a few levels above a whisper in order to match his smoothed out instrumental. The Rakim vocal sample was a nice touch on the hook.

Don’t Fall For The Gas Line – As the title indirectly suggest, this is the first (of many more to come) dis record aimed at 3rd Bass (playing off the title to one of their biggest hits “The Gas Face”). Tony apparently had an issue with 3rd Bass because he felt they were dissing their own people. It’s always comical to hear one white rapper refer to another white rapper as a “bleach boy”. First 3rd Bass disses The Beasties, then Vanilla Ice, and now Tony D goes after 3rd Bass. What’s up with all this white on white violence? Tony lands a few jabs but nothing hard enough to knock Serch or Pete off their feet.

Birdie Disease – This is Tony’s ode to the female crack head. None of Tony’s lines will make you lol but they’ll at least make you smirk. This was decent.

Droppin’ Funky Verses – I didn’t care much for this one. Tony’s instrumental is all over the place and it sounds a bit too airy, if that makes any sense. To make matters worst, Tony’s not saying anything worthwhile, either.

Listen To Me Brother – Tony uses this one to address the lack of support for real hip-hop as he vows to never sellout to sell records. I’m pretty sure the second verse is delivered by an uncredited guest. Tony sounds like a carbon copy of his arch-nemesis, MC Serch on this one. Tony’s instrumental is pretty interesting. I would love to hear how it sounds with a cleaner mix. Our host does his best Kid Capri impersonation on the hook as he shouts random statements as if this was a mixtape.

Harvey Wallbanger – Our host turns into his sexed crazed alter-ego Harvey Wallbanger (or Harvee Wallbangar, which is how it’s spelled on the album cover) as he spends the course of  this one bragging on his sexual prowess. Tony, or Harvey (or Harvee) turns in some pretty entertaining verses (he actually uses the forbidden “C” word) over this funky instrumental. I love the soul vocal sample added in during the hook.  Clearly there was a beef that developed sometime in between the recording of this song and its final mix as Tony (attempts to) censors YZ’s name in a shout out at the end of the song. This is easily the best record of the evening so far.

Keep On Doin’ What You’re Doin’ – Over a Barry White sample infused instrumental Tony (and his other alter-ego Tone) big-ups the east coast while taking several shots at the west coast (at one point he even labels the west coast the home of the sellout, even though they tried to censor it out) and an indirect one at the south. Unfortunately, this was the climate of hip-hop at the time, which would come to a violent head in the next five years. But I digress. Back to the song. It was solid.

I Know Who I Am – Tony continues his onslaught of 3rd Bass, but again only manages to land mild body blows.  Did he really just say he’s “the caucasian complexion of a tan man”? Huh? I’m diggin’ Tony instrumental work. This was pretty dope.

Stop Racism – Good intention. Poorly executed.

Shoe Polish – This is a bonus track on the cassette and cd version of Droppin’ Funky Verses. What better way to wrap up the show than with our host taking one final shot at his favorite target? But 3rd Bass isn’t the only white group to receive a lashing from Tony, the Beasties get a mild shot as well. It was pretty hilarious to hear Tony borrow a term often used by his Five Percent Nation brethren Poor Righteous Teachers, referring to Serch and Pete as devils, especially since the term would also apply to Tony D according to the Five Percent doctrine. Which also calls in to question the authenticity of the PRT’s faith in their doctrine since Tony D produced their first two albums. Regardless, the song sucked. And we’re done.

My expectations for Droppin’ Funky Verses weren’t set high. Since I’ve heard Tony D rhyme before, I wasn’t expecting exceptional lyricism from the man, and in return I did not receive that. Tony is not a terrible rapper, in fact, on a few songs he’s actually a smidge above decent, so lyrical he actually surpassed my expectations. On the flip side, I did have high expectations set for his production and that is where Droppin’ Funky Versesdisappoints. After all, this is the same man who created the backdrop for “Rock Dis Funky Joint”. The instrumental for “Harvey Wallbanger” is fire but after that the majority of the rest of the album sounds pretty vanilla (no pun intended).

-Deedub

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