This is one of a handful of new adds to my collection that were release prior to 1992. I was planning on posting on these after I finished up the rest of 1992, but since the last post was on I Gotta Get Mine Yo!, I figured it was only right to write on this one next. I see you Tony A.Wilson.
If you read my previous post, you’re already aware of my new-found admiration for the emcee abilities of Chubb Rock. I never thought he was a wack emcee, and actually enjoyed most of his singles back in the day; I just never took the time to purchase and listen to any of his albums. Thanks to my $1 purchase of his 4th album I Gotta Get Mine Yo!, though it wasn’t a great album, it opened my eyes to the Chubbster’s skills on the mic.
And The Winner Is… was released in ’89, and is Chubb Rock’s 2nd album. Chubb’s cousin, Howie Tee (who produced Chubb’s first three albums) takes care of all the production on this one (as the album cover even credits the album to Chubb Rock with Howie Tee). This would be their last cousin collaboration, as the duo decided to go their separate ways before Chubb begin recording IGGMY.
Like IGGMY, this is my first time listening to And The Winner Is…, as I’m only familiar with one of the singles he released from this album. Hopefully it’s a better balanced listen than IGGMY.
Stop That Train – The Chubbster comes out the gate swinging. Howie Tee hooks up the same James Brown loop used for K-Solo’s “Solo Rocks The House”, as out host compares the industry to a train that needs to be stopped, so he can get onboard and show ’em how a real emcee holds it down. Chubb Rock is one of the most articulate (and educated) emcees to grace the mic, so it was a bit embarrassing to hear him say “badder side of town”, during his second verse. Even with that blooper, this was still a solid start to the evening.
What A Difference – Over a decent instrumental, Chubb stays in battle mode, spitting some impressive and well articulated rhymes.
Same Old Thing – Howie Tee lays down a simple beat with a sick bass line that Chubb Rock completely obliterates. A young Chubb sounds like he’s starving and spits with a hunger I’m not use to hearing from our chubby host. This was released in ’89, but Chubb’s rhymes (especially his first verse) could stand up to most cats best rhymes today. I’m serious, it’s that good.
Bump The Floor – Chubb boasts about he and his dancers moves (even taking a shot at the late great Gregory Hines) and encourages everybody to get on the floor and give it their all. You may have forgotten, but the Chubbster had some steps back in the day; Heavy D wasn’t the only big man who could move (rip); but I digress. This was kind of corny, and the underwhelming instrumental didn’t help matters.
And The Winner Is… (The Grammys) – Chubb takes a playful shot at the Grammys on this title song, as he criticizes them for not showing love to real hip-hop. In the process, Whitney Houston (too soon?) and Paul Simon catch stray verbal bullets from Chubb. Howie’s instrumental has a bit of a Jamaican vibe to it, which works well with Chubb’s rhymes. This was solid.
He’s Funky – Our host sounds nimble on the mic, and drops solid rhymes on this one. I’m still trying to figure out who his line “some artists mixed it with go-go, def lyrics but it sounds so-so” was aimed at. E.U.? Stetsasonic? Ace Juice? I’m sure he wouldn’t waste his time on Ace Juice, so I’m going to lean towards Stets. Unfortunately, Howie Tee’s drums and the James Brown sample leave a lot to be desired on the production side; or maybe my expectations are set too high for a hip-hop record released in 1989.
Blow The Whistle – Going completely against the code of the streets, Chubb lets you know that if he catches you with a gun at one of his shows, he will snitch on you. This was kind of corny and the instrumental was very uninteresting.
Caught Up (Remix) – Now this is more like it. Howie tee’s up a funky backdrop (pun intended) for Chubb Rock to knock out the park, and he comes through with a home run. Interestingly, Howie uses the same Inner Life loop on the break that Chubb and the Trackmasters would later build the instrumental for “Lost In The Storm” around. I’ve never heard the original of this song, but this remix is nice.
Bonus Beat (Dave & Rob) – Chubb invites a couple of his childhood friends to join him on this one. The Chubbster kicks things off and introduces his boys, Dave and Rob, who each spit a verse that confirms they made the right choice to leave rap alone and pursue education and corporate careers. This may be the most boring cypher song I’ve ever listened to, only rivaled by Special Ed’s “5 Men And A Mic”, which Howie Tee also produced. Speaking of Special Ed, I wonder why he and Chubb never collaborated on anything. Hmm…
She’s With Someone – Howie loops up a couple different portions of Brothers Johnson’s “Strawberry Letter 23” for this backdrop, as the Chubbster
sings raps the blues after catching his woman in bed with another man. Chubb’s second verse is both sad and hilarious, as he goes into detail about the act that left him heartbroken. All in all, this was decent.
Mr. Nobody Is Somebody Now – Howie Tee hooks up a funky track, complete with a well placed organ loop that is guaranteed to make you screw your face. Chubb speaks about his come up in the game, being black and proud, and makes a pretty cool analogy during his second verse, comparing the microphone to life. Well done gentlemen.
Hi Jack – The Chubbster spits more articulate, well delivered rhymes; but like most of the previous songs, Howie Tee’s production fails him.
Ya Bad Chubbs – This is the only song I was familiar with before listening to And The Winner Is… in its entirety. Howie Tee lays down a dope piano loop over decent drums and Chubb destroys it like only a giant gentleman like himself could do.
Hip Hop Rodeo – I wasn’t feeling this one.
Gonna Do It For You – Over a simple drum beat and guitar lick, the Chubbster falls in pocket and shows off more of his underrated emcee ability.
Nothing Can Stop Us Now – Howie Tee’s instrumental sounds like something De La Soul would have hooked up during their daisy age era. Chubb doesn’t disappoint and delivers razor-sharp rhymes on this one.
Talkin’ Loud, Ain’t Sayin’ Jack – Spitting battle rhymes like “words will never hurt me, but I get sticks and stones and a piece of chrome, so leave me alone” and “You should of chilled or be forced to bleed, cause when it comes to housin’, I’m the deed, I have a title, like Tyson, he broke his thumb, he’s numb, so meanwhile I’m number one”, I’m baffled as to why the Chubbster isn’t mentioned as one of the greatest during his era. Son is nice!
Don’t Trespass – Chubb is in an unusual gangsta mode on this one, as he talks about pulling his nine and mac 10 on fools who trespass. He spends the final verse looking for a drug dealing kid named Louie, and after failing to track him down, he bumps into a chick from Louie’s crew. Then Howie’s underwhelming instrumental ends and is replaced by the Young And The Restless theme song. The female from Louie’s crew has some choice words for Chubb, before the song awkwardly fades out with Chubb threating to rip her ass to shreds. And we’re done.
If you haven’t read my previous post on I Gotta Get Mind Yo!, allow me to reiterate. Chubb Rock might be the sickest underrated emcee to ever bless a mic, and I admit I was also guilty of sleeping on him. His wordplay, articulation, delivery and voice are quality enough to at least have his named mentioned in the same breath as Rakim, Big Daddy Kane and G. Rap. The Chubbster does drop a few jewels on And The Winner Is…, but spends most of the album spitting battle rhymes with a hunger that disappeared by the time he recorded IGGMY. Similar to IGGMY, Howie Tee’s production consists of a few dope beats, but they get lost amongst the vast amount of mediocre backdrops. Apparently, Chubb doesn’t believe in the phrase less is more, because at 16 songs in length, And The Winner Is…ultimately ends up resembling Chubb Rock’s frame: a bit too robust. Not a great album, but Chubb is talented enough to make me hunt down the rest of his catalog.