Digital Underground’s 1990 debut Sex Packets was a huge success. It sold over a million units and helped the playful bay area group develop a strong following. The album would eventually make its way onto The Source Magazine’s top 100 Hip-hop albums of all time list. Check my archives for the full review on that.
1991 would be an even busier year for DU. This Is an E.P. Release is a 6 song ep that serves as Digital Underground’s bridge between Sex Packets and their second full length release Sons of the P, which would be released later in 91′ (more on that at later date). Two of the songs on This Is an E.P. Release were also included on the soundtrack (and apparently in the movie) for the Dan Aykroyd movie Nothing But Trouble (a movie I’ve never seen and don’t plan on seeing any time soon). This Is would go on to earn DU their second consecutive plaque, as it would eventually become certified gold.
Side note: The cover artwork for This Is an E.P. Release is pretty dope and the dialogue and (explanation to what E.P. stands for) are pretty amusing as well. These are the type treats you miss out on when you by your music on iTunes.
Same Song – The only single released from the EP was also included on the soundtrack for the Dan Aykroyd directed film Nothing But Trouble. This song is also worthy of note as it marks the first official appearance by the future hip-hop legend Tupac Shakur, far before he morphed into his thug-life persona. The Piano Man constructs a funky instrumental built around a George Clinton Parliament vocal sample. I don’t know if this was a bigger hit than the “Humpty Dance” but if not, it’s right up there with it. This song still bangs today.
Tie The Knot – This was the second song by DU included on the Nothing But Trouble soundtrack. Over a simple drumbeat the Piano Man plays a melancholy version of the “Bridal Chorus”, as Shock G spits a verse that I’m sure many a groom thought as they made that final march down the altar to forsake the bachelor life for marriage (ugh). Short and sweet. One of my favorite DU songs.
The Way We Swing (Remix) – Same instrumental as the original (on Sex Packets ) but different lyrics. While Shock-G won’t make anybody’s top 10 emcees list, the instrumental is a funked out banger.
Nuttin’ Nis Funky – Shock-G, Schmoovy-Schmoov (which has to be one of the worst aliases ever ) and Humpty Hump (yes, I know he is Shock-G in disguise) spend nearly 10 minutes trying to convince the listener that you haven’t heard anything this funky. I beg to differ, but it’s still decent.
Packet Man (Worth A Packet Remix) – This is without question my favorite DU song of all time. It uses the same lyrics as the original, but CJ Macintosh’s jazzy instrumental gives the song a completely different feel than the original. The trumpets during the hook and the saxophone at the end make the song sound epic and bigger than the original. Well done, gentlemen.
Arguin’ On The Funk – This one uses the same Raw Fusion instrumental used on “Rhymin’ On The Funk” (also onSex Packets ), but instead of rhyming, Shock and Humpty discuss funk music, funk’s pioneers, and who is truly worthy of props. Pretty clever way to pay homage to the forefathers of funk. Well executed.
This Is an E.P. Release is an enjoyable listen from beginning to end without interruption from filler material. Over the course of 6 songs DU brings the funk with a touch of jazz, that will satisfy the taste buds of any true head. To sum it up in three words: short, sweet, and flawless. This Is an E.P. Release is the perfect example of why EPs (as in Extended Play, not the 6th option on the album cover) can make the world and hip-hop a better place. Maybe all hip-hop albums should be regulated to an EP format.