By 1993, Father MC already had two albums under his belt (you can read my reviews on both of them by clicking here and here), and pretty much established himself as the lover boy r&b rapper. Even though it felt like he was never completely comfortable playing that role, he stuck with the formula, as it helped him obtain his only gold record to date (“I’ll Do 4 You”) and made him a modestly successful act on Uptown Records, which in the nineties was to r&b music what Motown was in the sixties and seventies. Father MC would return in ’93, dropping the “MC” from his alias (a suggestion I made during my Close To You write-up after seeing the list of writers he had on the album in the liner notes) and releasing his third effort, Sex Is Law.
Father would recruit a host of highly touted producers for Sex Is Law, including Teddy Riley, DJ Clark Kent, Pete Rock and Mark Spark, just to name a few. It would also be his first album to include an “Explicit Lyrics” sticker. Father would not only drop the “MC” from his name, but according to the liner notes, he would also lose the team of writers credited on most of the songs on his previous album. Sex Is Law would produce a few singles that created a little buzz, but the album failed commercially, and that’s probably why it would be his final album on the Uptown imprint.
I’ve never listened to Sex Is Law before this write-up and based on the title I’m expecting more of the same that he gave us on his two previous releases. But I must admit, the producers list has me intrigued.
69 – Father jumps out the blocks in freak mode, as he spends four verses trying to convince the ladies to give him a taste, while they simultaneously, taste him. Teddy Riley builds the mid-tempo backdrop around an infectious Bill Withers’ bass line and a few loops taken from Kool & The Gang’s “Jungle Boogie”, resulting in a funky groove that’s hard not to vibe to.
R&B Swinger – Now here’s a collab I would have never imagined would happen. Pete Rock loops up En Vogue’s “Hold On” to create a banger for Father, who attempts to, temporarily, shed his “r&b lover boy” persona (even though the song title contradicts that) and gets into some real emcee shit; and while he’ll never be mistaken for Kane or Rakim, he does a decent job with PR’s dope instrumental (I found it hi-larious to hear Father refer to his jimmy as his “love muscle”, a term he uses several times throughout the album). I was hoping to get a CL Smooth cameo verse, since PR produced it and Father shouted him out in the second verse, but no cigar. Regardless, this one still goes hard.
Sex Is Law – For the title track, DJ Clark Kent samples the same Dennis Edwards’ song that Eric B. & Rakim used for their classic record “Paid In Full”, as Father quickly switches gears back to love mode, spitting more lustful bars. Father’s rhymes are fluff, but his flow sounds decent over this irresistible groove (the bass line from “Don’t Look Any Further” may be the greatest bass line in the history of American music), and Horace Brown’s solid vocals on the hook complete this enjoyable rap and r&b fusion.
Once She Gets Pumpin’ – Our host spews more raps aimed at getting the ladies out of their panties, and he becomes the second rapper in the past few posts (see my Hard Or Smooth write-up) to try and convince me that putting honey on a woman’s body is sexy (it still sounds like a hot sticky mess, and I’m stickin’ (no pun intended) to my story). Father’s rhymes were forgettable, but the mellow Teddy Riley and Tyrone Fyffe produced instrumental was decent.
On And On – Our host uses this one to boast and toast, and I’m still trying to figure out what his line: “I’m known for makin’ niggas out of singers” is supposed to mean. Father sounds a bit more calm than usual, but his relaxed tone matches Mark Spark’s melodically subdued and cloudy backdrop, which I found enjoyable.
I Beeped You – I believe this was the lead single from Sex Is Law, and it’s the only song I remember off the album from back in the day. Eddie F builds the instrumental around a super obvious Jackson 5 loop that Father uses to rap about ignoring chicks who blow up his pager (Remember those? Damn does that subject date this song), giving several excuses to why he doesn’t respond. The instrumental is uncreative, Father’s rhymes are cheesy, and the hook gets annoying very quickly.
Ain’t Nuttin’ But A Party – Ski (also known as Ski Beatz) gets his only production credit of the night, as he taps a very familiar source for hip-hop producers: Bobby Caldwell’s “What You Won’t Do For Love”. Thankfully, Ski’s flippage of the sample is more original than most of his contemporaries. Father reverts back to the mellow style he gave us on “On And On” , which was kind of weird to hear, being he’s attempting to get the listener into party mode (By the way, “Buttnaked” is a horrible name for a crew). Once again, our host’s rhymes don’t leave much of an impression, but I did mildly enjoy Ski’s instrumental.
Now Is The Time – No thanks. Next…
For The Brothers Who Ain’t Here – Father is joined by Little Shawn (that some of you may remember from his minor hit “Hickeys On Your Chest”), as the two dedicate this one to the brothers who are no longer with us. Someone named Boogie borrows a loop from Hall & Oates’ “Sara Smile” to create a twangy melancholic backdrop to set the mood for the duo’s somber rhymes. This was definitely a much more serious song than we’re accustomed to hearing from Father, but I found it decent.
The Wiggle – Now, I’m pretty sure the wiggle that Father attempts to get the listener to do on this song is not the same dance featured in Fortnite, even though I’m not sure what either version of the dance looks like. Needless to say, Father’s attempt at making a new dance craze didn’t take off, which is a shame, because Clark Kent’s instrumental is fire.
Something From The Radio – Slick Rick’s long time production partner, Vance Wright gets credit for the final song of the evening, as he provides a smooth groove that several radio personalities jump on to show Father and the Sex Is Law album love. Father comes in to shoutout all the HBCU’s for supporting him through the years, before introducing then, Vice President of Promotions at Uptown Records, Jimmy “Love” Jenkins, who shares his vision of a global takeover with this album. Needless to say, the takeover never came to fruition. And that concludes Sex Is Law.
Somehow, some way, Father manages to MacGyver his way through Sex Is Law and creates an overall decent listening experience. I’ve always felt that Father had a solid flow, but his rhymes have always been filled with fluffy romantic cliché and repetitive Prince Charming-esque bars, and while the rhymes still aren’t top-notch on Sex Is Law, it was kind of nice to hear him mix up the content a bit. I was more impressed by his production team, as their quality batch of instrumentals does a solid job of masking and making up for everything Father lacks as an emcee. Sex Is Law doesn’t have a definitive hit record like a “I’ll Do 4 U” or a “Treat Them Like They Want To Be Treated”, but pound for pound it’s a stronger album than his two previous releases. Take that for what it’s worth.