Well, let’s go ahead and add another one to the list of one and doners. One hitters and quitters. One pump chumps. That last one probably isn’t the best analogy, but you get the drift. Anybody remember the Rumpletilskinz?
No, I’m not talking about the children’s fairytale. I’m talking about the four man crew (consisting of The Capitol L.S., Sha-Now aka Remedy Man, Jeranimo and the group’s deejay/producer, R.P.M.) from the Long Island suburb of Uniondale, New York. The first time I heard Rumpletilskinz was their cameo on The Leaders of The New School cipher joint “Sound of The Zeekers”, and if you read my blog on a regular basis you already know how unimpressed I was with that song (if you don’t read my blog on a regular basis and want to read how unimpressed I was by that song, click here). Fast forward to 1993 (or rewind?). One day while I was watching one of the hip-hop music video shows, a video of four grimy looking cats rapping over rough drums and one of the illest horn loops my ears have ever heard comes on, which happened to be the lead single for Rumpletilskinz debut album. Earlier I mentioned the first time I heard Rumpletilskinz was on the LONS joint, but I didn’t know who they were by name (I actually didn’t realize that Rumpletilskinz was on the song until I was thumbing through the liner notes while revisiting A Future Without A Past for this blog). The instrumental on their lead single (which we’ll discuss in more detail in a bit) was dope enough to make me cop their debut album What Is A Rumpletilskin?
R.P.M would handle the bulk of the production duties on What Is A Rumpletilskin? with an occasional assist from his crew members and two outside sources. What Is A Rumpletilskin? was not critically acclaimed upon its release, and it’s probably still about 150 sales short of earning a wood plaque. Ultimately, the boys would close the Rumpletilskin shop after one album, giving up their dreams of becoming hip-hop legends, and get jobs at the local Home Depot.
My memories of What Is A Rumpletilskin? aren’t great ones, but lets see how it sounds nearly 25 years after its release.
What Is A Rumpletilskin? – Over a simple drum beat, our hosts attempt to answer the question posed in the title of this interlude. And while they do manage to spit some forgettable bars, they never give a proper answer to the question. Props for actually punctuating the song title, though.
Attitudes – This was the lead single from What Is A Rumpletilskin?, and the song that was so pleasing to my ears that I couldn’t resist buying the album back in the day. R.P.M. hooks up, in my opinion, one of the best instrumentals of 1993, and one of the illest horn loops in hip-hop history (yeah, I said it). Capitol L.S., Sha-Now and Jeranimo aren’t great lyricists, but the catchy hook combined with the rough drums and beautifully warm horn loop laced throughout the song make up for what the foursome lack lyrically.
Hudz – R.P.M. hooks a dope mellow backdrop for this one, as his crew uses it to spit more forgettable lines over.
Mad M.F.’s – I’m not a fan of Chyskills dusty backdrop or Rumpletilskinz below average rhymes on this one. By the way, Capital L.S. sounds like a poor man’s mixture of Busta Rhymes and Sticky Fingaz.
I-N-I – By this point it should be pretty clear to the listener that they will not be memorized by lyrical wizardry from the Rumpletilskinz. But you should be able to enjoy the smoothness of the R.P.M. and Jeranimo concocted backdrop.
Sweet Therapy – The self-proclaimed “mad muthafuckas” get in touch with their softer side on this one, as they sing praises to and serenade the ladies in their lives. Someone going by the letter “E” gets credit for the instrumental, which is built around a loop from The Stylistics’ classic “You Are Everything”. This was a decent listen.
Snikslitelpmur – Simple drumbeat interlude that the boys decided to title the group’s name spelled backwards.
Earthquake – Capitol L.S. takes a stab at the production thing, and manages to hook up a pleasantly laid back jazz flavored backdrop that he and the crew spew more mediocrity over.
Mushroom Talk – This is a song that I completely forgot about. R.P.M. flips a dark piano loop and turns it into a gem of an instrumental for the crew to sang praises to weed and shrooms. But back to the instrumental: it’s really, really good.
Is It Alright? – This was the second single released from What Is A Rumpletilskin? I didn’t know that until recently when I discovered the video for this song (or video for the remix of this song). The melodic backdrop on this mix is a lot more entertaining than the hot mess of an instrumental used on the remix.
Theramixx – This is a remix to “Sweet Therapy”. E’s backdrop for the original wasn’t spectacular, but it was a lot more entertaining than the bland mess R.P.M. provides for the remix.
Dacumin – Dope mysterious-sounding instrumental interlude, courtesy of R.P.M.
Hi Volume – Rumpletilskinz closes out What Is A Rumpletilskin? with an eerie-slightly dark R.P.M. produced backdrop that the boys use to spew out more underwhelming bars.
I have to admit that revisiting What Is A Rumpletilskin? these past few weeks has been a pleasant surprise. Maybe the massive amounts of other quality hip-hop albums I was vibing to back in the day when it came out caused me to give it limited attention, as I remember only really getting into the first two songs and writing the rest off as trash. But after living with What Is A Rumpletilskin? for the past few weeks, it’s actually a pretty decent listen. Don’t get it twisted, their rhymes are still trash, but the bulk of the production on What Is A Rumpletilskin? is vintage east coast hip-hop, and pretty enjoyable to listen to.