D-Nice will never be on anyone’s top 5, 10, 20, or 100 emcee list, and that is not a knock on Derrick. I’m sure he’ll even tell you he’s a deejay first and emcee second. The former BDP deejay had a great rapping voice, solid delivery, the ability to drop quality rhymes, and he parlayed that into a solo deal that spawned two full length releases on a major label. He’s kind of like the Horace Grant of hip-hop.
We last left Derrick “D-Nice” Jones in 1990 with his solo debut Call Me D-Nice, which I thought was a decent effort (read my review if you want to see my full thoughts on Call Me D-Nice). He would return in late ’91 on some Superman shit with his follow-up effort To Tha Rescue, and just like Call Me D-Nice, Derrick would handle the bulk of the production duties with a few assists that we’ll get to in a bit.
Another similarity To Tha Rescue shares with Call Me D-Nice is that it failed to move many units. To Tha Rescue would be D-Nice’s last album as he would hang up his microphone but he continues to deejay around the globe. Plus the man was briefly married to the beautiful Malinda Williams (she played Bird on the old Showtime series Soul Food), so he has that to rest his laurels on as well.
808 Prelude – Useless intro that leads into the following song…
25 Ta Life – This was the lead off single from To Tha Rescue. Over a familiar funky bass line D-Nice kicks a fictional tale of a hot summer day that quickly turns into drama. D-Nice sounds sharp and smooth over the mid-tempo groove, and the live sax brought to you courtesy of Vincent Henry was a nice added touch.
Rhymin’ Skills (Featuring KRS-One) – Over a ragamuffin flavored instrumental D-Nice puts his rhyming skill on display and does a serviceable job. Unfortunately, KRS-One only stops by to chant on the intro and the hooks. It would have been nice to hear a verse from the teacher. I guess he didn’t want to murder the little homie on his own record.
Time To Flow (Featuring Naughty By Nature) – This was the second single released from To Tha Rescue. The liner notes give credit to Naughty By Nature but really only Treach is involved as he and Derrick exchange verses. David Bellochio, who worked extensively on the Naughty By Nature album, provides some dark keys over D-Nice’s rough drums, making this one sound very similar to Naughty’s “Guard Your Grill” record. Derrick’s verses are cool but Treach steals the show as he eats this track like Melissa McCarthy coming off a 30 day fast.
Get In Touch With Me – Vincent Henry replays a classic hip-hop bass line and provides live sax while Carl Bourelly plays keys for this poor man’s version of “Around The Way”. Bad rap and R&B at its finest.
To Tha Rescue – Over a solid D-Nice and Skeff Anselm concoction Derrick sounds motivated as he drops some solid rhymes over the aggressive instrumental. Well done.
No, No, No – Derrick and Skeff Anselm hook up this instrumental as well, but this one falls flat on its face. Derrick’s verses are all over the place on this one as he goes from boasting to dropping jewels to standing on his soapbox, in the blink of an eye. It was kind of amusing to hear Derrick bring up that he’s been accused of stealing his style, to which he responds is not true and then drops this line: “Don’t talk about thieves cause on a whole, America’s the greatest country that was ever stole”. As if he were to bite his style it would be justified because of the transgressions of Christopher Columbus and the Pilgrims over 500 years ago. The song title which doubles as the hook didn’t really make sense on this one, either.
Straight From Tha Bronx – David Bellochio returns to provide some dark Naughty like keys over a bangin’ bass line and Derrick’s heavy drums that translate into the hardest track on To Tha Rescue. D-Nice sounds solid as he puts it down the for his home town and the mecca of hip-hop. Nice.
Check Yourself – Derrick brings in Too Short to assist on this duet as they challenge gold digging women to re-examine their parasite like tendencies and to keep their damn hands out of brothers pockets. Neither D-Nice or Short impress on this one, which is more surprising in Short’s case as these kind of songs are usually his bread and butter. As a matter of fact, nothing about this song was impressive, and the hook is in the running for worst refrain in the history of hip-hop.
Time To Flow – This mix was released as the second single. It uses the same instrumental and verses as the first mix, only Treach’s rhymes are completely absent on this one. Derrick must have realized he got murdered on his own shit, so he removed Treach’s verses so he could get some shine. He could have at least used new verses, though.
And There You Have It – D-Nice hooks up a solid instrumental and invites Mr. Marvelous to the studio for this duet. Each party spits one verse and quickly gets the hell out of Dodge.
I Send This Out To… – D-Nice gives his shoutouts over a skeleton version of the instrumental use on “25 Ta Life”. And we’re done.
To Tha Rescue is not a bad album, it’s just that it’s not that good. There are some solid songs and some duds, but the majority of the record is just plain mediocre, which translates to forgettable and over time forgettable grows up and becomes forgotten. Luckily, hip-hop was pretty secure in 1991, so it didn’t need to be rescued. But if it did and To Tha Rescue was the vessel sent to save it, hip-hop would be resting at the bottom of the Atlantic somewhere next to the Titanic.