The break-up of 3rd Bass in 1991 started the beginning (and the end) of both MC Serch and Pete Nice’s short-lived solo careers. Both would release solo albums under the Def Jam imprint, which was also the label home for all three of 3rd Bass’ group efforts. MC Serch would strike first in the summer of ’92 with his solo debut Return Of The Product (click here to read my thoughts on Serch’s solo album, and to find out more about 3rd Bass’ break-up). Pete and 3rd Bass’ deejay, Daddy Rich, would go second, releasing their debut Dust To Dust, nearly a year after Serch’s project.
Pete Nice and Daddy Rich would handle the bulk of the production on Dust To Dust, with the steadily emerging production team, The Beatnuts, handling a handful of beats as well. Needless to say, Dust To Dust wasn’t a commercial success, and it received mixed reviews upon its release.
I found Dust To Dust a few years ago at one of the used music spots I frequent. I’ve never listened to Dust To Dust before today, and even though I was aware that Pete and Rich released an album, I don’t remember hearing any of their songs on the radio or seeing any of their videos on TV back in the day. Like Serch’s Return Of The Product, Dust To Dustwould be the only album released by Pete Nice & Daddy Rich. 3rd Bass would go on to briefly reunite at the tail end of the nineties, but the trio wouldn’t give the hip-hop world any new music. It would have been nice to hear at least one more 3rd Bass album from my favorite white boy rap group.
Side note: Click this link to hear MC Serch talk about the hit Hammer had put out for 3rd Bass for dissing him back in the day. I hadn’t heard this story before, until a few days ago. Pretty interesting listen.
Rat Bastard – This was the lead single for Dust To Dust. Pete and Rich kick things off with a sleepy instrumental produced by The Beatnuts, and Psycho Les (of The Beatnuts) joins Pete on the mic. This was a very underwhelming way to start things off. Hopefully this isn’t a sign of things to come on Dust To Dust.
The Sleeper – Boy, is this one properly named. Pete Nice and Daddy Rich get together to concoct what may be the most boring instrumental in the history of hip-hop. He’ll, even the vocal sample on the hook (which is a clip of a woman performing a hypnotism telling her prey “you are getting sleepy”) encourages you to catch some Z’s. And as Pete pussyfoots through the track, you’ll become more and more woozy.
Kick The Bobo – This was the second single released from Dust To Dust. The energy level improves, slightly, on this one, as Pete and Rich hook up a decent backdrop, but Pete’s flow continues to sound choppy compared to the smoothness the listener became accustom to hearing when he was with 3rd Bass. I guess it’s all about evolution though, right?
Verbal Massage – This is the second Beatnuts’ produced track of the evening, and surprisingly, they get off to and 0-2 start. Pete Nice’s flow sounds disastrous over an instrumental that is the audio equivalent to watching paint dry.
The Lumberjack – Pete uses this one to give props to his deejay, Daddy Rich, and his turntable skills. Pete and Rich’s backdrop isn’t great, but it’s definitely an improvement from the production mediocrity that’s plagued Dust To Dust thus far.
Pass The Pickle – Fittingly, the duo follow-up the ode to Daddy Rich’s cutting skills with a comical interlude that has two old white guys (who I’m pretty sure are both played by Pete Nice) trying to recruit Daddy Rich to work in their deli slicing up meat (for $3.25 an hour), since he’s so nice at cutting things. They do make some comments that could be viewed as racist (like assuming Rich would take his paycheck and go buy a “big Jeep with big wheels” so he can “ride around with his hoodlum friends”), but it’s all in fun. It made me chuckle.
The Rapsody (In J Minor) – Pete Nice reunites with his production buddy from his 3rd Bass days, Sam Sever, who hooks a dope instrumental for his pal. Pete sounds more comfortable spitting over Sever’s backdrop than he did on any of the previous songs. Sever’s bouncy bass line and feel good vibes will make you want to listen to this a few more times. Plus, the song title itself is a clever play on words. The song closes with a voicemail from Pete’s mom, blasting him for getting involved in the rap game, which a nice little comic relief to cap off easily the strongest song on Dust To Dust.
Ho – The Beatnuts give Pete Nice yet another throw away instrumental to rap over, and he does nothing to make it even slightly interesting to listen to. This should have been called “The Sleeper Part II”.
Outta My Way Baby – Finally, The Beatnuts hook up a decent backdrop for Pete to flow over. You may recognize the piano loop that the instrumental is built around from Funkdoobiest’s “I’m Shittin’ On ‘Em” (or from the remix for Kool G. Rap & Polo’s “Ill Street Blues”…Jill Scott also used it on her song “Brotha”). I found it kind of interesting (or strange) that a white rapper would use a vocal sample of Slick Rick saying “rap money makin’ nigga” on the hook of his song. But all in all, it still makes for a decent listen.
3 Blind Mice – Pete makes a rare attempt at getting socially conscious on this one, as he invites Benz (a black man) and Kurios (a Hispanic man) to join him as they discuss racism, prejudice and stereotypes (all we’re missing is the Asian man and we could make this into a joke). Pete uses the song’s subject matter to slip in a “nigga” during his verse, which I’m not really a fan of, but I guess it fits in the context of his content. Unfortunately, the three emcees’ message gets lost in poor execution and Pete and Rich’s trash instrumental.
The World According To Hubert Dover – KMD gets credit for the bluesy backdrop, as a soundbite of Hubert Dover (I’m not sure who that is, but if you happen to know, feel free to fill me in in the comments) mumbling about being shot, plays over it. This didn’t do much for me, but whatever.
Rich Bring ‘Em Back – Pete invites Benz back to spit a verse, as well as his fellow Caucasian emcee, Cage. Pete and Rich’s instrumental sounds like a throw away MF Doom beat, but it’s not terrible. Unfortunately, Pete nor his buddies say anything impressive on the mic to make this song worth playing twice.
Blowin’ Smoke – Finally, Ebony & Ivory manage to hook up a dope backdrop. Peter doesn’t bring much to the table with his rhymes, but the rough guitar licks during the verses combined with the dope horn loop brought it on the hook make for a winning combination.
Double Duty Got Dicked – This interlude take segments from an interview with legendary Negro League baseball player Ted “Double Duty” Radcliffe, who earned his moniker for being both a quality hitter and pitcher. He died in 2005 at the ripe young age of 103. The duo take segments of Radcliffe talking about the misconceptions of the Negro League, being underappreciated and Babe Ruth. Not sure how this fits in to the overall scheme of Dust To Dust, but it’s a pretty dope historical piece that might make you think and/or tug on your emotions, like it did mine.
Dust To Dust – For the title track, Pete and Rich hook up a scant instrumental that still manages to sound pretty dope, even in its emptiness. Pete sounds as good as he did on “Rapsody” rapping over this minimal masterpiece.
Verbal Massage (Part II) – Pete and Rich invite The Beatnuts to remix the track they originally produced earlier this evening. They make just enough changes to make it a little more entertaining than the original mix, and suitable for midnight marauding.
In my opinion, MC Serch was the heart and soul of 3rd Bass, with Pete Nice being the Robin to his Batman. And after listening to Dust To Dust repeatedly for the last few weeks, that Batman analogy becomes more evident. First things first, Pete Nice does not have the personality, charisma or lyrical prowess to carry an entire solo album, which becomes painfully obvious about three songs into Dust To Dust. And unlike some other mediocre emcees who had quality production to make up for what they lacked on the mic, Pete doesn’t have that luxury on Dust To Dust, as he, Rich and (surprisingly) The Beatnuts, put together a string of boring loops and mediocre instrumentals, which gets interrupted from time to time with a dope track (see “Rapsody”, “Blowin’ Smoke” and “Dust To Dust”) or a an entertaining interlude. I’m a collector of music, so I won’t, but I completely understand if you burn your copy of Dust To Dust and leave it as a pile of ashes.