I was a bit skeptical when I first saw the trailer for the NWA bi-op movie Straight Outta Compton. Then I started to hear some positive reviews from a few dependable sources, and I became interested in seeing it, and I actually enjoyed it. The movie is about the NWA collective’s rapid rise to stardom and their eventual unraveling as a group, mainly focusing on the lives of Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, and Easy E (rip). In the movie, the lives of the other two members of NWA, DJ Yella and the subject of today’s review, Ren, are almost insignificant as the characters who play them are just pawns in the game, or movie. Coincidentally, the same could be said in reality. Ren is the black sheep of NWA. A talented emcee who went unsung, mostly do to being overshadowed by greater talents and bigger personalities in the group.
After Cube dropped four niggas and started making all the dough, and Dre left to go build the Death Row empire (on Snoop Dogg’s back), NWA was officially over. Ren found himself in a tough spot and was pretty much forced to pursue a solo career. He would stick with Easy and released his debut project Kizz My Black Azz on Easy’s Ruthless label.
Kizz My Black Azz was a 6 song ep, with the bulk of the production being handled by west coast hip-hop pioneer, DJ Bobcat. The ep was well received, and would be followed by 4 more full length solo albums from the Compton villain over the next two decades.
I got nothing else, so lets just jump into this one.
Intro: Check It Out Y’all – One would think if you only have 6 tracks on your ep, you would make good use of each song. Instead, Ren lets a pretty nasty Bobcat instrumental play without dropping any rhymes on it. He could have at least spit one quick verse. What a waste.
Behind The Scenes – Ren kicks off the official first song of the evening with a topic he’s no stranger to: bangin’ out broads. Ren takes a trip down memory lane back to high school, as he recalls the beauty and the body (his line about her having “ass hanging out by the pound” is pretty hilarious) of an anonymous young honey who at school gives the impression that she’s a sweet and innocent straight A student. Ren discovers another side of her when he decides to
stalk her follow her home from school and witnesses how much of a freak Anonymous is. And when I say freak, I mean freaky. Bobcat’s instrumental is dope and its sonic energy compliments Ren’s outrageous but entertaining story line, perfectly.
Final Frontier – This was the only single released from Kizz My Black Azz. Bobcat’s instrumental opens with a sick Premo like loop, before he completely switches things up and revisits the instrumental from BDP’s “The Bridge Is Over”. Ren’s in a violent mood as he spits threats of bodily harm, promotes hitting women, and voices his disdain for r&b singers singing on hip-hop records. I’m not an advocate for beating women, but overall this was a solid record.
Right Up My Alley – This is hands down the best song on Kizz My Black Azz. Bobcat provides an epic instrumental for Ren’s dark and bleak rhymes. The bombastic and pulsating drums compliment Ren’s booming baritone as he matter of factly talks about teenage prostitutes, random acts of violence and murder, as every day occurrences in his alley. Listening to this song will leave a depressing hole in your soul or scare the shit out of you, but either way it will tug at your emotions, which is what great songs are supposed to do, right?
Hounddogz – This is the only song on Kizz My Black Azz that Bobcat didn’t produce. Instead, Ren recruits someone going by the alias of “The Torture Chamber” and DJ Train (with a co-production credit going to Ren) to provide the backdrop for this one. They hook up a soulful mid tempo groove that Ren uses to create his version of the “Vapors” (which happens to includes a Biz vocal sample from that song). Ren sounds sharp on the mic and does a nice job of serving this instrumental real proper like.
Kizz My Black Azz – Ren saves the title song for last as he invites all haters and non-believers to pucker up. Ren sounds decent on this one, the problem is Bobcat’s mediocre instrumental that sounds like a poor man’s Bomb Squad beat. I guess they all can’t be great.
Kizz My Black Azz is a solid EP and a nice introduction to MC Ren as a solo artist. Bobcat provides quality production to which Ren matches with quality rhymes. I’ve never heard any of Ren’s full length albums, but I’m curious if Ren would be able to entertain and effectively hold the listener’s attention over the course of 10 to 13 songs. But that’s an adventure for another day. For now, Ren’s Kizz My Black Azz is the best hip-hop EP release of 1992.