To the casual hip-hop fan, Wreckx-N-Effect will always be synonymous with their 1992 smash hit single, “Rump Shaker”. And if you’re a little more seasoned hip-hop head, you might remember they had earlier success a few years prior to “Rump Shaker” with a bop called “New Jack Swing” from their self-titled debut album. But I’d be willing to bet that very few of you knew that Wreckx-N-Effect had a self-titled EP a year prior to their debut full-length album. Don’t feel bad if you didn’t. I didn’t know it existed either, until a few months ago when I stumbled across a used vinyl copy at one of the record stores that I frequent.
Wreckx-N-Effect (they originally spelled the group name Wrecks-N-Effect, but later changed it before releasing their second full-length album, Hard Or Smooth in 1992) was comprised of the three childhood friends: Aqil Davidson, Markell Riley (Teddy Riley’s younger brother) and Brandon Mitchell (rip), who all grew up together in Harlem. After witnessing Teddy Riley start to become a legitimate producer in the industry, the threesome decided that they also wanted to get into the music game. They formed Wreckx-N-Effect, and with Teddy’s help were able to get a deal with Atlantic Records, releasing their debut self-titled EP in 1988.
The EP’s credits only list Markell Riley and David Guppy as producers on the project, with Teddy Riley credited as a musician on all five of the EP’s songs, but I’m sure he had more input on the project than just playing what he was told to play. Legend has it that Teddy Riley thought it would be a good idea to add Keith K.C. Harris to WNE, as he felt he had great vocal presence and prior recording experience that would help the teenaged threesome. The EP would make very little noise, and Keith K.C. would leave the group after the project.
I haven’t listened to the EP since I bought it a few months ago. I’ve never been a huge Wreckx-N-Effect fan, but the hip-hop history buff in me had to buy it and see if there were any hidden gems on it waiting for me to discover, but I honestly don’t have any expectations going into this.
Go For What U Know – WNE starts off the EP with an aggressive but average at best instrumental that finds a very energetic Keith K.C. talkin’ his shit. I like K.C.’s energy, but unfortunately, his flow and content aren’t as entertaining.
Mafia – The song title might lead you to believe this is some gangsta shit, but it’s not. It’s just another average instrumental with a hyped up K.C. spitting forgettable bars over it.
Wrecks-N-Effect – Markell and company lay down a hard backdrop for K.C. to big up his crew and talk more shit. Once again, K.C. sounds pretty mediocre on the mic, but this instrumental is a banger.
I Need Money – Aqil makes his only appearance of the evening, as he uses this one to stress his need to obtain the almighty dollar, while Keith K.C. plays his hypeman. “C.R.E.A.M.” this is not. The instrumental was trash and Aqil was clearly not ready to carry the weight as a lead man on the mic.
Let’s Do It Again – Markell and ’em loop up The Staple Singers’ classic of the same name for this one. K.C. uses it to celebrate reuniting with a former lover, as the two attempt to rekindle their old flame. K.C.’s rhymes come off borderline corny, but it’s hard not to find yourself groovin’ to the soulful sounds of Curtis Mayfield’s music playing underneath Keith’s contrived romantic bars.
Wrecks-N-Effect (Instrumental Version) – Wisely, WNE brings back the instrumental without any distractions, so the listener can enjoy it uninterrupted for the marvelous monster that it is.
Except for the “Wrecks-N-Effect” instrumental, Wreckx-N-Effect doesn’t give us much to remember on their debut EP. Bringing in Keith K.C. backfires and proves that “vocal presence” alone doesn’t make you a dope emcee; but after listening to Aqil rhyme in his puny teenage voice on his sole appearance on the EP (see “I Need Money”), I can see why Teddy felt they needed reinforcements on the mic. Speaking of reinforcements, WNE could have also used some help on the boards, as most of the instrumentals are averagely plain and easily forgettable, which pretty much sums up this project in a nutshell.
It’s easy to avoid disappointment when you don’t have any expectations.