The last time we heard from the College Boyz was back in 1992 with the release of their debut album Radio Fusion Radio. The album produced three singles, all which had modest success on the charts, but the album itself had little commercial success and even less critical acclaim. The College Boyz would return two years later with their sophomore effort (no pun intended), Nuttin’ Less, Nuttin Mo’.
The once four man crew is down to three, as B. Selector decided to drop out of college before NLNM was recorded (I’m not sure what he contributed the first go round, so I highly doubt his presence will be missed). NLNM would produce three singles that failed to chart and the album came and went with very little fanfare. Shortly after, The CB’s would call it quits as a group and go their separate ways. I’m not sure what happened with Que and Squeaky G (which is a horrible alias by the way), but the lead emcee Rom (better known as Romany Malco) would go on to have a pretty successful career as an actor.
I’ve never listened to NLNM before today, but since I own their first album, Radio Fusion Radio, the completest in me had to buy it…plus it was only a dollar.
Live On Wzack – The CB’s kick the album off with a faux female radio jockey at the faux radio station Wzack, who has made an exception of letting the College Boyz perform live on her show, even though the station has a strict restriction on rap music. Rom takes the opportunity to spew militant and politically charged raps over a funky backdrop built around a few loops from Parliament’s “Dr. Funkenstein”, making you forget that these boys is from Texas and not Cali. This one sounds better the more you listen to it.
Moment Of Truth (The Southern Version) – Over a cool laid back smooth groove (courtesy of DJ Ronski and Humphrey Riley), Rom celebrates his true friends on the hook, while calling out the fakes ones on his verses (“friends aint shit but potential foes, and potential foes aint shit but pretentious hoes”). You may find this blasphemous, but the instrumental and Rom’s rhymes remind me of Pac on Me Against The World‘s “Outlaw”. I like this one.
Rollin’ – This must have been one of the singles from NLNM, as I came across a video for it when doing a little research for this post. The CB’s hook up another super West Coast sounding instrumental and Rom spits more conscious raps mixed with street rhymes, Que rhymes for a few bars and Squeaky G sprinkles a little of his underwhelming vocals on the track. The fellas were clearly attempting to make a commercial but still street credible banger with this one. It’s not terrible, but I wouldn’t call it a banger.
On Da Stroll – They were “Rollin” and now the CB’s are “On Da Stroll”. Rom spits a pretty clever line:”The sorrow that God inflicts whether poor or rich, cause every dog has a day and every day is a bitch”. Other than that, the rest of this song is pretty forgettable.
Easy – The CB’s hook up a breezy feel good backdrop that Rom uses to show gratitude and humility on. I love the bass guitar chords on this one.
Dying Out Here – The Ice Men and Dez & Adonis get credit for the funky instrumental that Rom uses to address the high number of black men dying by the hand of each other and the police (sadly, somethings haven’t changed since the nineties). Female vocalist Sweet Pea (which is a dope alias) adds a heartfelt hook and adlib, that when combined with the organ give you a soulful church feel.
If I Wuz A Bird – Rom uses this one to call out the injustices and hypocrisy the black man faces in North America and pin points that it all trickles down from our government (“it’s all a game of pimpin’, Regan, Bush and Clinton, I showed you who the gangsters be now watch who come up missin’). Rom’s conscious rhymes are pretty solid on this one, but they quickly get overshadowed by the dry Ice Men/Dez & Adonis produced instrumental and the corny hook.
No Sets, No Drama, No Stress – This makes for decent filler material.
15 Emotions – Romany goes into his acting bag on this one, as he comes from the perspective of a gang bangin’ killer who’s starting to feel guilty for all his evil deeds, but even as he fights to get out the game, his past (and his homies) keep pulling him deeper in to it. The smooth instrumental suits Rom’s poetically introspective rhymes, beautifully. This is easily the best song on NLNM.
Conscious Weep – The CB’s continue with their “tales from the hood”. This time Rom digs into the life and family of a girl named Carmanique, who is being molested by her father. Rom shares the disgusting details and the unfortunate decisions it leads Carmanique to make due to her pain and suffering. Technically, both the instrumental and Rom’s rhymes are sound, but for some reason neither the production or the rhymes feel heartfelt.
Texas Do – The College Boyz dedicate this one to the ladies. Over a laid back instrumental, Rom brags about his sexual prowess and what he and his TX crew wanna do with/to their prey (“we wants to get drunk and have sex with you”). Hey, conscious niggas like booty too, but this song is trash.
Nuttin’ Less, Nuttin’ Mo’ – The title track finds Rom doing some introspection, as he questions and ponders his canine sensibilities and his appetite for feline (“I’ve been tryin’ to come to grips, with the shit that I kick, another nigga run by his brain, but his brain is in his dick…why am I so ungrateful, why am I unfaithful, knowing woman is the origin of my navel”). The CB’s, with a co-production credit going to The Icemen, get credit for the slick low key instrumental that works well with Rom’s content.
Run Dance Hall – I’m not a huge fan of reggae music. So, you can probably guess how I feel when a Texas dude tries to chant like a Jamaican over a knock-off reggae instrumental.
Dedication – After a horribly written and horrendous vocal opening minute and half from Squeaky G, the somber Ice Men produced instrumental drops and Rom proceeds to spit his last two verses of the evening, dedicating them to his deceased friends. Remove Squeaky G’s parts from the song and this is a solid ending to NLNM.
On Nuttin’ Less, Nuttin’ Mo‘s final track “Dedication”, Rom boasts that the College Boyz aint no “fly by night crew with a one hit”, which is true. They actually don’t have any hits. But even without a hit record on NLNM, the CB’s craft a cohesive batch of songs that don’t all work, but they hit more often than they miss. The album title is a bit misleading, as the title song sums up the black man as just a sexually charged being who only thinks with his dick, meanwhile, the CB’s spend the majority of the album focused on social issues and the black man’s plight in North America. NLNM is far from a great album, but it’s definitely an improvement from their first go round. I’m curious what they may have been able to do with a third shot.
This was a pleasant surprise.