Insert this one right after Brand Nubian’s In God We Trust
Anthony Peaks, better known to the world as Apache, was one of the original members of Queen Latifah’s emcee collective known as the Flavor Unit. He got his start ghostwriting for different rappers, and while the liner notes don’t confirm this, many in the know claim he penned most of the verses on Latifah’s debut album All Hail The Queen.
The first time I heard Apache spit was on Naughty By Nature’s cipher joint “1, 2, 3” from their debut title album. While it would have been a hard task for anyone in the earlier nineties to murder Treach on his own shit, Apache gave him a run for his money with his hungry flow and tenacious verse on that song (go ahead, give it a listen). That verse and the fact that he was part of the Flavor Unit (which was poppin’ at the time), helped the Jersey City native ink a solo deal with Tommy Boy Records. Apache would release his debut album, self deprecatingly titled, Apache Ain’t Shit .
Apache Ain’t Shit did produce a modest hit (that we’ll get to in a bit) but didn’t move a ton of units, and despite production work from some of the best hip-hop producers of the era, it received underwhelming reviews upon its release. This would be the only solo album from the Flava Unit emcee, and as the nineties came to a close Apache found God and church and would walk away from his microphone and explicit rhymes.
Sadly, on January 22, 2010 Apache died from undisclosed causes (but natural, no foul play was suspected) at the age of 45. Rest in peace.
The Beginning – This intro introduces Apache to the world and coincidentally (I use the term “coincidentally” loosely, as I’m sure it was intentional) uses similar drums used on the intro to Sugar Hill Gang’s “Apache”.
Tonto – Apache uses Double J’s understated, yet dope instrumental (he borrows the drums and bass line from David Axelrod’s “Holy Thursday”, that most of you kids will recognize from Lil’ Wayne’s “Dr. Carter”) to introduce the ladies to his penis, that he affectionately named Tonto. Nikki D drops by to assist with adlibs and the hook (wonder what she’s up to these days). This one was pretty entertaining. You’re definitely laugh at at least one of Apache’s clever punch lines.
Do Fa Self – This was the second and final single released from Apache Ain’t Shit . Our host stops by a children’s classroom to share his struggle and the lessons he learned coming up in the hood, and he doesn’t hold any punches, or curse words for that matter (one of the kids even jumps on the mic to help Apache on the second first). DJ Mark The 45 King hooks up a nasty backdrop built around an eerie and slightly spooky organ loop that will have you vibin’ as you shake your head listening to Apache’s unfiltered advice to the youth.
Gangsta Bitch – Apache was never a huge name in the rap game, but casual hip-hop fans will remember him for this single, which was a modest hit back in ’92-’93. Q-Tip (even though the liner notes credit A Tribe Called Quest) slides our host a beautiful instrumental that he uses to speak about the type of woman he desires and all the attributes and qualities that come in a gangsta bitch (which include great sex, doing stick ups, drug dealing and taking her son gun shopping). Apache’s wittiness and personality shine through on this one. Hip-hop classic.
A Fight – Apache’s ready to drop bombs on the first white boy he comes in contact with on this one. He even borrows the old hood playground chant (“a fight, a fight, a nigga and a white, if the nigga don’t win, then we all jump in”) for the hook. Double J’s instrumental samples the same JB’s bass line first made popular on Showbiz & A.G.’s “Soul Clap”, which just reminded me that I missed reviewing the duo’s debut album Runaway Slave, but I digress. Not a big fan of this song.
Kill D’White People – Short interlude that kind of goes hand in hand with the previous song.
Hey Girl – Apache uses this one to call out a money hungry chick that’s trying to play him. He invites Milo and Collie Weed (I’ve never heard of that strand either) to do a little reggae style chanting and assist with the hook. This is a song I completely forgot about. When I read in the liner notes that Large Professor produced it, I got a woody. Then I played the song and my woody quickly disappeared. It’s not terrible (The Meters’ lifted bass line is kind of nice), I just expect so much more from an Extra P produced track.
Apache Ain’t Shit – Over a frantic paced S.I.D. produced backdrop, Apache boasts about being a womanizing no good dog. Apache’s content is kind of juvenile but as long as you don’t take him too serious you’ll enjoy this one.
Blunted Snap Session – This is the longest, most unnecessary and unamusing, interlude in the history of interludes. It was included to set up the next song, but the insults the guys and girls are throwing at each other aren’t funny, and are kind of uncomfortable to listen to, especially when one of the dudes threatens to rape one of the ladies pussy.
Who Freaked Who – Nikki D makes her second appearance of the evening, providing the women’s perspective, as she and Apache take part in this battle of the sexes. Literally. Apache and Nikki deliver solid verses (Nikki’s second verse paints a sexy visual that might leave you with a stiffy), but Diamond D’s instrumental is very underwhelming…and where is the question mark in the song title, dammit?!!
Get Ya Weight Up – Apache’s on some emcee battle shit on this one. Diamond J’s hard instrumental (I love the horn loop on the hook) serves as the perfect canvas for Apache’s aggressive boasts, threats and shit talking.
Woodchuck – Apache gets the production credit for this cipher joint, as he invites his Flavor Unit brethren (Latee, Cee, Double J, Vin Rock and Treach) to brag about how much pussy they get. Unfortunately, Apache’s instrumental is dry (no pun intended) and none of the parties involved say anything worth quoting.
Make Money – Our host uses this one to give advice to the fellas and the ladies (I love his line “Sex appeal, be real, I don’t understand, fake hair and nails and you’re looking for a real man”) on how to make money, which Apache apparently thinks can only come by criminal activity, which is kind of sad. Double J’s instrumental is decent. I like the bass line, but a better mix would have made it and the horn loop on the hook stand out more.
Wayz Of A Murderahh – This was useless and a pretty weak way to end the album.
You can’t judge a book by its cover, or a cd by its liner notes. Based on the list of all-star producers who worked on Apache Ain’t Shit (i.e. Extra P, Diamond D, Q-Tip and DJ Mark The King), one would think that if all else failed at least the production would bang. Granted, each of the producers listed above are only accountable one track each, but even those four instrumentals are hit and miss, which also rings true for the rest of the album. Apache is a decent emcees and at times his wit and charisma shine through, but his abundance of sex talk becomes a bit monotonous after a few listens. Ultimately, Apache Ain’t Shit ain’t all that good.