Kid N Play – Face The Nation (September 24, 1991)

 

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We last left the Chris duo, known to the world as Kid N Play, riding high on the release of their sophomore effort Funhouse, which was strategically released the same week as their first starring movie role in House Party. The movie did pretty well and is considered by many to be a cult classic, while the album would go on to earn the duo their second consecutive gold plaque. I thought the album was garbage for the most part. You can read my review of Funhouse to get my full opinion.

1991 would be the year Kid N Play build on the moment they picked up the previous year as the sequel to House Party would  be released as well as their third album Face the Nation. The movie produced solid results but Face the Nation was considered both a critical and commercial failure as it marked the first time the duo failed to go gold. Face the Nation would also mark the end of the duo’s music career, although they would continue to make bad movies (and cartoons) for the next few years before their 15 minutes of fame would run out.

Random Thought: The inside of the liner notes posts a pick of Kid, Play, and Wiz in which Kid sporting a blue and red leather jacket which has the NBA logo but with Kid’s name next to. And if the jacket wasn’t corny enough, Kid’s also holding a basketball to add insult to injury.

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It’s Alright Ya’ll – This one opens will a sound bite from JJ from Good Times (Grand Puba would later use the same clip to better results on “Prodigal Son” off his solo effort Reel To Reel) that introduces the dancing duo before Eric “Quicksilver” Johnson drops a mediocre instrumental for the Chris’ to drop mediocre verses over. If this opening song is any indication on what the rest of Face the Nation sounds like, this is going to be a long listen.

Back On Wax – The self-proclaimed “light-skinned dream” and the “dark sex machine” come off a little stronger on this Mark Eastmond & Andre Chamber’s produced instrumental. The instrumental has a roughness to it that you wouldn’t expect to hear on a Kid N Play record. The horns were a nice added touch.

Got A Good Thing Going On – Pardon me, I had some bad rap and R&B. This Dana Mozie Jr. produced track samples no less that a zillion different records and throws them in one big pot of gumbo that ends up tasting like shit. Kid normally writes he and Play’s rhymes but Play penned his own lines for this one, and you can tell the difference. Not that Kid was a great lyricist but you can hear the downgrade in quality on Play’s verses.

Next Question – The Chris’ set this one up as a brief Q&A as they field questions from fans, (or media members, or haters?). Play tackles question 1 which is some dude wondering why they don’t talk about the ladies they smashed on record. Kid takes question two which is an inquiry to why Vanilla Ice and Luke Skywalker dissed Kid N Play, to which Kid response with unimpressive jabs (wait did Kid just call Vanilla Ice soft? Kettle, meet pot). Play gets the final question from a female asking if there is any truth to the rumor that they only date light-skinned women, to which he completely dances around. Pete Rock provides a solid instrumental for the backdrop, complete with signature horns. This was decent.

Face The Nation – Our hosts intent on this title song was to inspire blacks to take responsibility for their actions and to do better. Unfortunately the message comes off preachy and kind of corny. Eric “Quicksilver” Johnson gets his second production credit of the evening for the mediocre instrumental. Noble intent fellas but this wasn’t that good.

Foreplay – Play gets his first of two production credits of the evening for this one. The Chris’ use Play’s backdrop to discuss the beauty of the fusion of hip-hop and jazz. The problem is Play’s instrumental sounds like some light jazz mess that you would hear on Muzak while you’re sitting at the dentist office waiting to get a filling.

Slippin’ – Our hosts share a tale of the life and plight of a drug dealer named Gene (who also violates Biggie’s 4th Crack Commandment) and how his tendencies to live on the edge lead to his demise. Dana Mozie Jr. gets credit for writing and producing this one. Not a great song but definitely darker than what you’re accustom to hearing on a Kid & Play record.

Aint Gonna Hurt Nobody – The sole reason I bought Face the Nation out of the dollar bin at Cheapos. Most hardcore hip-hop fans won’t approve of this one, and I completely understand. I personally have a soft spot in my heart for this synthesized R&B flavored Quicksilver produced instrumental. The hook and the instrumental borrow from the old Brick record with the same title. The production and the song’s carefree message make for a fun summertime record.

Give It Here – Play gets his second production credit of the night, and this one is actually kind of nice. The fellas use Play’s mellow mid-tempo groove (with a sick trumpet sample that comes in during the hook) to seduce the ladies into giving it up, or here. Their deejay, Wiz even attempts to rhyme on the final verse. While all three turn in pedestrian performances Play’s instrumental reigns supreme on this one.

Bill’s At The Door – This might be the most humble hip-hop song of all time. Most rappers like to brag and boast about how much money they have, but not the Chris’. They use this Pete Rock produced backdrop to discuss the never ending (until death that is) cycle of paying bills. It was interesting to hear Kid confess the only reason he continues to act, rap and tour is to pay the bills. So much for passion. I’m not realty a fan of this PR instrumental.

Toe To Toe (Fat R&B Mix) – I loved the original version of this song which was on Funhouse. This remix is a complete waste of vinyl, wax, and cassette.

I’ll keep this brief: Face the Nation is a heavy dosage of a waste of time. From the cheesy amateurish delivered rhymes to the less than spectacular production, there is not a lot to enjoy here. This album should only be purchased under one of the following conditions: you’re a fan of Pete Rock and want to have all of his production work in your collection,  or you (like me) thought “Ain’t Gonna Hurt Nobody” was a good vibe record and found it in the used cd bin for $1 and figured if all else fails their would at least be one song you liked, so you would still get your moneys worth.

-Deedub

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