In 1991 Terminator X released his solo debut album Terminator X & The Valley Of The Jeep Beets, which was a compilation album that featured Terminator X as the producer with his guests rapping over his beats (or beets). The album produced a couple of singles that made a little noise, but ultimately the album bombed, both critically and commercially (click on this link to read my thoughts on that album). But no worries, his label would still greenlight a follow-up, so in the summer of ’94 Terminator X returned releasing Super Bad.
Super Bad follows a similar format to The Valley Of The Jeep Beets, with TX providing the instrumentals (for the most part…he has a few special guests produce a few of the album’s songs) for his guests to rap over. Unlike TVOTJB which featured mostly new artists, Super Bad features new artists, current (at the time) artists, and old school artists (thus the “GodFathers Of Threatt” credit). Like its predecessor, Super Bad failed commercial and critically, and would be the last time a label trusted Terminator X with his own solo project.
I came across a CD copy of Super Bad a few months ago, and since it was only a couple of dollars, I recognized a few songs that I liked back in the day, and because I’m obsessive with collecting hip-hop artists complete discographies, I made the purchase. Let’s see if Super Bad fairs any better than it’s predecessor.
Terminator’s Back – Just your basic hip-hop album intro.
Kidds From The Terror – The first song of the evening features a group called Punk Barbarians, who’s gimmicky grimy style sounds a lot like Onyx and comes off super cheesy. Groovy Productions’ instrumental is decent, but not decent enough to give this song any replay value.
Godfather Promo – Quick interlude.
Sticka – The all-star cast of Chuck D, Ice-T, MC Lyte and Ice Cube join forces and each of them spit solid verses, while the Punk Barbarians are assigned hook duties. If only Chuck D’s plain Jane instrumental had more flare to it this might have been a dope song. As is, it’s just passable.
Money Promo – Interlude that sets up the next song…
It All Comes Down To The Money – I believe this was the lead single for Super Bad. The legendary trio, Whodini joins TX as they discuss that green stuff that everyone respects. Jalil and Ecstasy’s rhymes sound a bit dated by mid-nineties standards, but they actually work over the dope Terminator X/Larry Smith concocted backdrop. The song’s thick bouncy bass line is super addictive and Khadejia Bass completely bodies the hook and her adlibs at the end of the song.
Thumpin’s Goin On – The first Kool Herc interlude of the evening finds him discussing the old school, now school and the importance of unity.
Krunchtime – Our host introduces the world to a young Long Island emcee named Melquan with this one. TX hooks up some vintage dirty and dusty east coast boom-bap for Melquan to spit two quick verses on, and the dude can actually rap. This was a pretty dope record. I’d love to hear more from Melquan.
G’Damn Datt DJ Made My Day – This interlude has TX mixing it up with Grandmaster Flash, as they scratch up the record and Flash adds some additional commentary.
Stylewild ’94 – Our host brings the pioneering hip-hop groups, Cold Crush Brothers and The Fantastic Five together for this one, as they exchange verses over TX’s stripped down backdrop. By the way, am I the only one who didn’t know Grandmaster Caz (who in my opinion is arguably the greatest emcee of hip-hop’s first decade) became a part of the Cold Crush Brothers in their latter years? Must respect to The Cold Crush Brothers and The Fantastic Five for what they’ve contributed to hip-hop and their legacies, but by 1994 both groups were well past their prime, and you can hear it. It’s like watching Shaq play his last season as a Celtic with a garbage instrumental playing in the background.
Funky Piano – Another interlude that pretty much plays as it reads.
A Side Final Promo – For good measure, Terminator X throws in one more interlude to close out side A of Super Bad, if you’re listen to it on vinyl or cassette.
Make Room For Thunder – Side B of Super Bad starts with yet another Kool Herc interlude.
Scary-Us – Similar to the Gravediggaz, the Flatlinerz were a “horrorcore” hip-hop group in the nineties that actually released an album on Def Jam, titled U.S.A. (which is an acronym for Under Satan’s Authority…spooky) a few months after Super Bad. This is my first time hearing a Flatlinerz song. I wasn’t crazy about their rhymes, but the instrumental was decent.
Learn That Poem – Not sure what the purpose of this interlude was but, whatever.
Under The Sun – Remember Joe Sinistr? This was the song that seemed would launch his rap career. The song is decent and made mild noise, but the blatant borrowing of Redman’s style (even the Jam Master Jay co-produced backdrop screams Whut? Thee Album) was probably too much for the hip-hop community to swallow, hence the reason they spit him out and he vamoosed from the scene, forever.
1994 Street Muthafukkas Gong Show – The song starts off well with TX’s hard backdrop, but things quickly fall apart with sub par performances from a few uncredited guests. Then the song abruptly goes into an unwarranted skit, and things only get worst after that.
Don’t Even Go There – Remember the female duo Bonnie & Clyde from Valley Of The Jeep Beets “Homey Don’t Play Dat”? Well, our host decided to bring them back and feature them on this track. TX provides a decent instrumental and the ladies give passable performances, but the hook is embarrassingly bad.
Herc Yardman Word – More thoughts from hip-hop’s daddy.
Mashitup – I’ve never been a huge fan of reggae, and Prince Collin chanting over this dreadful (no pun intended) TX instrumental doesn’t change my stance. Someone should mash this shit up and throw it away, forever.
Say My Brother – This was a cute play off of the Hey Love classic soul compilation collection commercial that used to play late nights on BET in the eighties. “No my brother…you gots to get your own.”
Put Cha Thang Down – I hope this was a joke. TX creates a Miami bass instrumental for the Punk Barbarians to do their best 69 Boyz/95 South/Tag Team impersonation over, which is a drastic change from the Onyx energy they provided on “Kidds From The Terror”. Whether serious or a joke, this shit was terrible.
Herc’s Message – Super Bad ends with Kool Herc sharing some parting thoughts on hip-hop and life. And we’re done.
On Super Bad Terminator X is able to cook up a couple of dope songs, but they quickly get buried in mediocrity, trash and way too many useless interludes (message: if your album has more interludes than actually songs, more than likely it’s not going to be a winner). While it was a cool gesture for TX to pay homage to some of hip-hop’s pioneers, I wish he could have found a way to use them in a more meaningful and entertaining way. Super Bad isn’t, super bad…it’s just mildly terrible.