After Father MC and Uptown Records Vice President of Promotions, Jimmy “Love” Jenkins’ plan for Father to take over the world with his third album, Sex Is Law, failed miserably, Father MC found himself without a label to call home. Between 1990 and 1993, Father MC released three albums on the Uptown label and was able to develop a solid female fanbase, thanks to his fluffy lust/love raps over heavily r&b flavored production and hooks. While Father was able to score one gold selling record with his 1991 hit single, “I’ll Do For You” (which would introduce Mary J. Blige to the world), at best his three albums only produced modest numbers, and left Uptown Records with a decision to make. Like basic addition and subtraction, Father would regroup, and in 1995 he released two independent albums: Sexual Playground (on Top Dogg Records) and This Is For The Players (on Moja Entertainment).
I didn’t know either album existed, until a few months ago when I found them spooning in the used cd bins at one of my favorite frequents (shout out to Cheapos!). I immediately noticed that the album covers looked similar and that they had some of the same song titles listed on the back of their jewel cases. I searched the internet, high and low, looking for an explanation for this, to no avail. So, I came up with my own theory. You wanna hear it? Here it goes: Father released the first album (I’ll guess it was Sexual Playground), and after it didn’t get the backing and exposure he hoped for, he then left Top Dogg Records, made a few alterations to the original album, and re-released it as This Is For Players through Moja Entertainment Group. After both albums failed to make noise or sell any records, I’m sure Father had to take a long look in the mirror, but that’s a discussion for another day. Maybe next Father’s Day? (*rimshot*)
Since a lot of the songs on the albums overlap, I figured I’d combine them on the same post and kill two birds with one stone. I’m sure most of you could give two shits about Father’s music, but hopefully one of my faithful readers and Father MC fan, Vinny enjoys this post.
Random factoid : I just found out that Father MC is married to the actress, Theresa Randle (Malcom X, Bad Boys, Girl 6). Sounds like his love raps paid off.
Lets Get Into FMC – Sexual Playground opens with what sounds like a transistor radio, repeatedly cycling through the same three stations: One station is playing the hook to the album’s title track. The second, an eerie but beautiful jazzy organ, and the third features a male voice warning that “the world is under attack at this very moment.” This intro left me both, perplexed and intrigued. Is Father going to get into some deep shit? Make joints for the ladies? Or mix things up? We’ll find out soon enough.
You Can Do Me Right Tonight – A few years before the Trackmasters would loop up Rene & Angela’s classic record, “I’ll Be Good”, and turn it into a hit song for Foxy Brown, Father MC sampled it to create the backdrop for this high energy joint that finds our host trying to verbally seduce the ladies, as usual. Apparently, his seduction works, or at least that’s what the singing female on the hook (simply credited to Chan) leads the listener to believe, as she basically begs him to come take the booty. Not a bad way to kick off the evening.
Sexual Playground – Father lays down an instrumental dripping with summertime vibes and commences to invite the ladies to play on or in his jungle gym, as he punctuates each verse with: “If you want some TLC, creep with me, into ecstasy”. The hook is borderline corny but catchy, and the song makes for decent background music while driving in the whip on a nice summer day.
Do Me – Father stays in sex mode, spewing feeble pick-up lines to get his prey out of their panties, and he proclaims himself as the black Gotti, which I’m assuming is his weird way of calling himself the gangsta of love. Female vocalist, Sarisa, sings her heart out and her ass off on the hook, as her contribution paired with the infectious bass line and smooth instrumentation makes this an enjoyable rap r&b-fused bop.
This Is 4 The Players – Father places his Prince Charming persona on ice and puts on his sinister pimp voice, as he warns other players to keep a watchful eye on their ladies before he snatches them up and adds them to his harem: “You better check your chick, cause your chick’s checkin’ me, what’s the law? Pimp or die”. I never knew there was such honor amongst pimps. I enjoyed hearing this callous and cold-hearted version of Father, and the dark instrumental backing him was dope.
Am I What You Want? – Father samples Teddy Pendergrass’ classic “Close The Door” to create this soulful groove that finds our host listing the qualities that he looks for when selecting a woman, which includes being black and simply, having a job. I chuckled during Father’s opening bars when he gives his lady “permission” to say hello to his homies, but nothing more. Apparently, his insecure ass doesn’t think she can stay faithful if she holds a conversation with another man: “I want a girl on the mellow, represent, never disrespect, to my homies you can say hello…not too much convo, cause when I go away you might play on the down low”. Father’s rhymes have all types of sexist male chauvinistic innuendos that he dresses up and presents as charming and vulnerable to win over the female audience. I can see right through his bullshit, but I love this beautiful instrumental and what Sarisa does on the adlibs and hook.
Treat Me Right – Father builds this backdrop around a loop from Luther Vandross’ “Never Too Much” (another loop that never seems to get old) and kicks more of his cliché love raps. This song is dripping with feel good vibes, and once again, Sarisa does her thing on the hook.
Playground – This is pretty much a house/techno remix of “Sexual Playground”, and I like this version way more than the original. It had me pumpin’ my fist like them dudes on Jersey Shore.
4 The Players – Father brings back the instrumental from “This Is 4 The Players”, so you can practice your freestyles over it.
That’s All – The album ends with a female voice asking, “That’s all?” and fittingly, a loop of a moaning woman, who apparently enjoyed the hell out of our host’s playground.
Now let’s jump into This Is For The Players:
Treat Me Right -This one starts with Father being interviewed by a female reporter, and their flirting quickly escalates to a full-blown sexcapade. You would think that Father would follow-up their sexy exchange with a super sexy song (like Sexual Playground’s “You Can Do Me Right Tonight” or as it’s titled on this album, “I Want Your Lovin”), but no cigar. See “Treat Me Right” on Sexual Playground.
This Is For The Players – See “This Is 4 The Players” on Sexual Playground. But you won’t get the super rare Father MC “muthafucka” on this version, as it’s censored for some reason.
Sexual Playground – See title track on Sexual Playground.
You Can Do Me Right – This song is simply titled “Do Me” on Sexual Playground (which the horny interviewer from the album’s intro says is her favorite song on the album). Don’t be fooled (or confused) by the unnecessary extra words in the song title, it’s the same version that’s on Sexual Playground.
High Rollers – Father takes a break away from his love/sex raps and dedicates this one to all the players, G’s, and high rollers. His rhymes aren’t spectacular (I’m still trying to figure out why he thought the line “Father means player, MC means G” was dope enough to say twice), but he sounds decent rhyming over this chill backdrop.
Sexual Healing – Short interlude that finds Culture sprinkling some reggae vibes on Father’s playground.
Am I What You Want – See “Am I What You Want?” on Sexual Playground. The song title is written as “Am I What You Want” in the liner notes of This Is For The Players, but as “I Am What You Want” on the back of the cd jewel case. This might be a minor editing issue to most, but it’s a major pet peeve of mine that screams lazy and unprofessional. But I digress.
Funking With Father – Father’s looking to get the party started with this one, and he manages to talk a little shit as well. It sounds like he takes a shot at Uptown Records during the second verse: “I took a minute, studied, listened, came back on a mission, to rule the industry division, with no bs, no budget, no political, no fake A&R’s that’s when it’s critical”. I’m not sure if Father was intentional trying to sound old school with his rhyming scheme as an homage to the pioneers, but it works well and matches the dope instrumental that implements elements of Whodini’s classic record “Five Minutes of Funk”.
Hey…How Ya Doin – I found a video on YouTube for this one (where I discovered that Father rocked a baldy at some point), so it must have been one of the album’s singles. I could have done without this one, but I did enjoy Jodie’s adlibs at the end of the song. Speaking of Jodie, I wonder why Father only credits his female guests by their first names in the liner notes but lists his male guests first and last names. Probably because he’s a male chauvinist. And what’s up with these ridiculous crew names he comes up with? In ’93 he was rollin’ with Butt Naked and in ’95 it’s Sex? Wait…I just put the two crew names together. I’m so juvenile.
I Want Your Lovin – See “You Can Do Me Right Tonight” on Sexual Playground, not be confused with “You Can Do Me Right”, which is “Do Me” on Sexual Playground. Are you confused yet? Father adds opening adlibs on this mix, and he stacks his vocals, which makes him sound like he’s screaming at the listener, and it gets annoying to listen to by the middle of the song.
Life – The previous song ends with a short interlude that has Father saying goodbye to his daughter to run the streets with his crew. Then the dark instrumental (built around an ill Isaac Hayes loop) drops and Father details the struggle and frustration that leads him to attempt a robbery with his crew. Needless to say, things don’t end well. This is definitely the darkest Father MC song that I’ve ever heard; and even though it doesn’t remotely fit in with the rest of the album, I enjoyed it.
For Sexual Playground and This Is For The Players, Father sticks with the formula that brought him moderate success during his stent at Uptown Records, as he continues his tradition of catering to his female fanbase with his charming ladies’ man persona. This Is For The Players has a slightly darker feel than Sexual Playground (I can’t count how many times during this post I accidently typed “Sexual Chocolate” instead of “Sexual Playground”), but at their core, they’re the same album with a few alterations, with love and sex as the main themes. Father is far from a great lyricist, but he does have a solid flow and a credible rapping voice that sounds nice when paired with his clean r&b instrumentals and hooks, which have aged well on these two albums.
If you didn’t enjoy Father MC’s music during his Uptown years, then you probably won’t enjoy Sexual Playground, or This Is For The Players. But if you’re like me and occasionally like your hip-hop drenched in predictable r&b, you’ll find a lot to enjoy on both albums.