Raw Fusion is the Oakland based two-man team of Money B and DJ Fuze, which was a direct offshoot of the larger collective, Digital Underground. The duo’s connection with DU is without question what helped them parlay a side deal with Hollywood Basic, where they would release two albums: their 1991 debut, Live From The Styleetron and the subject of today’s post, Hoochiefied Funk.
According to the liner notes, Money B and DJ Fuze would handle the bulk of the production load, with a few assists from their DU affiliates. I’ve never heard Live From The Styleetron before, and this post marks my first time listening to Hoochiefied Funk (an obvious candidate for worst album title), an album I didn’t even know existed until I stumbled upon a copy of the cd a few years ago in the dollar bin at one of my favorite spots (shoutout to Cheapos!). Other than the incredibly reasonable price, I bought Hoochiefied Funk because of Raw Fusion’s connection to Digital Underground, a group that I’ve respected through the years, and I was also curious to see if Money B could carry an entire album as the lead emcee.
So, lets see how this one pans out.
The New Jazz (Intro) – Hoochiefied Funk begins with a minute and a half of what’s supposed to be a “new jazz”. I’m not a fan, but it’s short, so whatever.
Hoochiefied Funk – Raw Fusion gets the title track out the way right away. The duo lay down a very average instrumental, while Money B spits even less impressive rhymes about the importance of having that “hoochiefied funk” playing in your ride if you’re looking to attract, um, hoochies. Yes, the song sounds just as bad as it reads.
Freaky Note – Raw Fusion slows things way down, with some live instrumentation brought to you courtesy of John Wilson on bass guitar and The Piano Man on keys. Money B uses the smooth instrumentation to talk extremely dirty to the object of his erection, while Shock G stops by to sing the hook, which compliments the instrumental well. I actually enjoyed this one.
A Penny For Your Thoughts – Over an awful instrumental, Money B disses all the gold diggin’ chicks (that he refers to as “tricksters”) who are down to spread ’em for the right price. This was almost unbearable.
I Got Flavor – No, you don’t, an neither does the instrumental. Wait…did Money B just say “When I’m rhyming like Common”? When did he ever spit that nice?
Red Riding Good – Money B turns the kid story of Little Red Riding Hood into a raunchy misogynistic debacle. The instrumental is decent, but Money sounds mad pervy with rhymes like “I don’t know the age, I never checked the ID, but she’s just another woman for me” and “Red, what nice breast you have”. Next…
Bumpin’ ‘Em – I love the Cold 187um (from Above The Law) vocal sample. Everything else about this song is trash.
Action Packed – Money B takes a break from talking about hoochies and goes into “battle mode”. He even throws a flailing swing at Das EFX with “I mean I’m sick of suckas flexin’ they need to get that ass tapped, diggidy this diggidy that trying to lose me with the fast rap”, which is kind of corny considering Das was done with the “diggidy thing” by 1994, and the fact that both Dray and Skoob would wash Money on the mic if they decided to pull the style they originated back out. Undaprivileged Courtney Skankkin (that’s a mouthful) joins Money on the hook with a short chant that gives the song a pinch of a reggae vibe (and is probably my favorite part of the song). This isn’t a terrible song, but I’m not crazy about it, either.
Do Doo Mc’s – Pot, meet kettle.
Word For The Day – Raw Fusion, with an assist from Big D The Impossible, creates a dope mid-tempo groove, and DU affiliate, Clee stops by and lends a misogynistic verse to match Money B’s. Clee’s verse fairs a little better than is his buddy’s, but neither of them really impress. The true star of this one is the instrumental.
Do Your Homework – On this one Money B’s warning all the fellas to be careful in how you treat your lady, before a player, like himself, creeps in and bangs her out. Shock G lends another helping hand, as he sings the hook and he and the rest of The D-Flow team get a co-production credit for the funkdafied instrumental. I wasn’t really feeling this one, but it did spark me to come up with a new segment that I’ll call “Tribe Degrees of Separation”, that will somehow tie a song, album or other randomness to a Tribe Called Quest: This song incorporates a sample of the hook from ATCQ’s “Buggin’ Out”.
Dirty Drawls – Apparently this was a bonus track only available on the cd version of Hoochiefied Funk. D-Flow gets another co-production credit for this one and Shock G makes yet another appearance contributing a partial verse and helps with the hook, as he, Money B and Clee playfully tell their side chicks that in order to gain main chick status, you have to love them down to their dirty drawls. The song, including the instrumental (shoutout to The Piano Man, credited for arranging the keyboards and samples), has DU’s signature fun, light-hearted good vibes dripping all over it, and is easily the strongest song on the album. Well, at least the cd version.
Yo Daddy Yo – Raw Fusion samples The World’s Famous Supreme Team’s “Hey Mr .DJ” for the backdrop, as Money B celebrates his dad, which unfortunately, is rarely heard in hip-hop songs. Money is not a great lyricist, but his rhymes on this one come off honest and heartwarming without sounding corny.
To Hell With It – Speaking of hell, this song (even though it gives us yet another Tribe Degrees of Separation moment when Money says “Now let me kick the last scenario like Tribe and the Leaders”) is hot garbage.
As I suspected going into this post, Money B doesn’t have enough lyrical ammo to carry an entire project on his own, and his impotency will begin to lull you to sleep three songs into the album. I was hoping that he and DJ Fuze would call on their DU brethren (D-Flow Production Squad) to at least help them give Hoochiefied Funk some flavor on the production end. D-Flow does get two co-production credits (and Shock G adds some swag to a couple of tracks), but only one of them ends up working, sonically, rendering the majority of the album as bland as bread and crackers. There is really no reason why Hoochiefied Funk should exist. But if it must, it should have been a maxi-single with “Freaky Note”, “Dirty Drawls”, “Yo Daddy Yo” and the instrumental from “Word For The Day” on it.