Most of you will skip this review all together, but since it’s part of my hip-hop collection (I use the term “hip-hop” loosely, folks) I felt I had to review it. So, here we go…
When I hear the term disposable music, or kiddie pop, one of the first names that come to mind is Kris Kross. Kris Kross was the kid duo out of Atlanta who were discovered by Jermaine Dupri while hanging out at mall. Chris Smith (aka Daddy Mac) and Chris Kelly’s (aka Mac Daddy) original style of dress (they were rockin’ their shirts and jeans backwards) caught the eye of Dupri who got the bright idea to turn the duo, who were dancers at the time, into a rap group. Since their names were both Chris and they wore their clothes backwards, he cleverly named them Kris Kross. Dupri would sign them to his So So Def imprint, get them a deal with Columbia/Ruffhouse, and they took the world by storm with their debut album Totally Krossed Out, fueled by their smash kiddie pop single, “Jump”.
I did buy Totally Krossed Out on cassette when it came out back in the day, but have since lost it. And even though I’ve come across the cd version in the dollar bins a million times over the past twenty years, I never felt compelled to give up another dollar for the gimmicky-four-times-platinum-selling pop-project posing as a hip-hop album. But I did repurchase their second album, Da Bomb , for a dollar a few years ago on the strength of the lead single that we’ll dig into shortly.
Da Bomb would follow the same format as Totally Krossed Out (only with their clothes worn the correct way): All rhymes written (with the exception of two songs, in which Mac Daddy receives co-writing credit) and all beats produced by
Geppetto Jermaine Dupri, and rhymes recited by Pinocchio Kris Kross. Da Bomb didn’t move as many units as their debut, but it did earn the duo a second consecutive platinum plaque.
Before their 15 minutes ran out, Kris Kross would go on to release one more album, with their 1996 release, Young, Rich & Dangerous, before fading into hip-hop (or pop) obscurity. Sadly, Chris Kelly, aka Mac Daddy (the dark skin one) would die from a drug overdose on May 1, 2013. He was only 34 years old. May he rest in peace.
Intro – Da Bomb opens with a few Ice Cube soundbites taken from “Steady Mobbin”, before going into the first song…
Da Bomb – The Krises invite Da Brat to join them, on what I believe to be, her debut to the world, and she murders the duo on their own shit (I don’t know if that’s even praise worthy, considering who’s she rhyming with, but, whatever). JD’s instrumental isn’t terrible, but he somehow manages to strip the soul out of the Isaac Hayes “The Look Of Love” sample.
Sound Of My Hood – Oh, I forgot to mention that Dr. Dre’s The Chronic happened at the end of 1992, which pretty much changed the landscape of hip-hop. JD thought it would be cool (or more so, lucrative) to turn Kris Kross into baby Snoop Doggy Doggs on Da Bomb . Brothers Krisses don’t even bother to chew what they bite on this one, and swallow Snoop’s style whole. Hell, JD’s instrumental even sounds like a poorly constructed Dr. Dre backdrop, complete with a Snoop soundbite from The Chronic. This was terrible.
It Don’t Stop (Hip-Hop Classic) – Over JD’s stripped down backdrop, Kris Kross pays homage to “the old school”, more so, to Run DMC. Side note: This is one of two songs in which the liner notes give Mac Daddy (the dark skin one) co-writing credit along with Jermaine Dupri. Props for the intent, but this was trash.
D.J. Nabs Break – Kris Kross’ deejay, D.J. Nabs, gets a chance to display his skills on the wheels of steel on this one. I wasn’t impressed, but, whatever.
Alright – This is easily the best song on Da Bomb , and one of the few Kris Kross songs I actually really like. Jermaine Dupri takes the bass line from Slave’s “Just A Touch Of Love” and adds a dope loop (of what, I’m not sure, but it gives the song a nice melodic touch) on the hook, along with a slick Super Cat chant, that makes for a smooth backdrop, suitable for summer cruising. Daddy Mac takes a quick jab at Da Youngsta’s (“see, I ain’t come out wack I came out right, unlike those moles who chose to pass the mic”) who criticized Kris Kross for not writing their own rhymes (which was pretty hypocritical, because I’m sure Treach penned most of Da Youngsta’s rhymes for the “Crewz Pop” record). This groove still holds up well twenty plus years later. I literally just listened to it seven times in a row.
I’m Real – Yeah, right. Kris Kross continues their blatant robbery of Snoop Dogg’s style, as they try to convince the skeptical hip-hop audience that they’re authentic and worthy of street cred. They even have the nerve to call their competition soft…Ha! JD again, tries to create a Dr. Dre beat, and after one listen, even a babe can tell it’s fugazy.
2 Da Beat Ch’yall – Mac Daddy gets his second and final co-writing credit of the evening. Too bad it’s a contribution to a trash record.
Freak Da Funk – This is the song that Mac Daddy commits blasphemy on when he compares himself to the god emcee (“Cause when I break niggas off I keep ’em broke down, I’m like the R-A-K-I-M, I aint no joke, clown”). Kris Kross definitely had chips on their shoulders on Da Bomb . On “Alright” they fired shots at the Da Youngsta’s, rightfully so, since they fired the first shots at the Brothers Krises. But as far as I can remember, on their mega hit record “Jump”, Kris Kross fired the first shot at Mike Biven’s short-lived gimmick, Another Bad Creation, aka ABC (“don’t try to compare us to another bad little fad, I’m the Mac and I’m bad giving you something that you never had”…”and everything is to the back with a little slack, cause inside out is wiggity wiggity wiggity wack”…”to the back you’ll be sportin’ the gear, is that coincidental? Act like you know and don’t be claimin’ that it’s mental”), and Mac Daddy continues what appeared to be a one-sided beef on this one (“Unlike them other teenyboppers that continue to say and jay and never ever come my way, I’m waiting for that Alphabet crew to make my day…so I can chop and chop and drop those little punks quick, and teach them never to mess with this Krossed out kid”). What was the beef? ABC came out first rockin’ their clothes inside out, so it’s not like they bit Kris Kross’ style (if anything one could argue that Kris Kross’ backwards style was inspired by ABC). The better question is why have I spent an entire paragraph analyzing this kiddie beef and garbage record?
A Lot To Live 4 – JD’s mellow instrumental on this one is actually kind of decent. The Krises use it to encourage the youth that no matter what your circumstances are, there is always something to live for. It’s kind of sad when you considering Mac Daddy’s unfortunate demise.
Take ‘Em Out – Kris Kross has already taken shots at ABC and Da Youngsta’s on Da Bomb , so why not go for the trifecta and target another kid group? This time it’s the duo, Illegal. Mac Daddy: It ain’t my fault you and your crew came soggy, and didn’t think about being hard until you saw me, so what you did made a cut, “Head or Gut”, but from me to you it sounds like you’re swingin’ on “these nuts”. Daddy Mac also says something about “how you gonna dis by sayin’ we ain’t real g, when them niggas that you run with is straight r&b?”. Not sure, who that was aimed at, but whatever. Hot garbage.
Alright (Extended Remix) – Same lyrics and instrumental as the original mix, but with a few more breaks and Super Cat adlibs.