Blahzay Blahzay is a Brooklyn based duo made up of the emcee, Outloud and his deejay compadre, PF Cuttin, which is an amazing alias for a deejay. Blahzay Blahzay will forever be remembered for their hit record (or at least regional sensation), “Danger,” which was an East Coast boom bap anthem that hit radio during the summer of 1995 and was officially released as a single the following September. Despite the buzz the duo created with “Danger,” Blahzay Blahzay wouldn’t follow up with another single for another eight months and would finally release their debut album in August of ‘96 on Mercury Records, cleverly titled, Blah Blah Blah.
All thirteen tracks (three of which are interludes or skits) on Blah would be produced by Blahzay Blahzay. Strangely, the label didn’t release another single after the album dropped and the project went underpromoted and virtually unnoticed, which would lead to the end of Blahzay Blahzay’s relationship with Mercury. The Blahs would release a three-song maxi-single on Game Recordings in 1999 (which included a nice nine-page fold-up poster of the “Game Girl,” Jenna Lopez, who unfortunately has more clothing on in the poster than she does on the cover artwork for the maxi-single), but a full album would never materialize. The duo would again emerge in 2018, releasing their second album, ENYthyng Iz Possible on the independent German label, Smoke On Records, but like me, I’m sure you’ve never heard it either.
I have heard the Blah album, though. It’s been a long while, so in honor of its twenty-six anniversary which just passed last weekend, let’s revisit it together and allow me to break it down, and feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.
Intro – Over stuttering drums, a faintly sassy horn sample and a drowsy acoustic guitar loop, Outloud and PF Cuttin welcome the listener to the album, apologize for taking so long to release the album (in a roundabout way), awkwardly remind the consumer that you “can’t take it back, you bought the album already,” and finally, they promise to explain what the “Blahs” means and to make you feel (“like pliers on your nuts”) what the “Blahs” is. Sounds painful, but I’m gonna hold them to it.
Blah, Blah, Blah – The first track of the night is built around dope drums and a pretty piano loop that finds Outloud in battle mode looking to prove that he’s the “Fabulous Vocabulist” that he proclaims to be at the beginning of the second verse. Outloud gets off some pretty sharp bars and you immediately notice the similarities in he and Jeru The Damaja’s style. Regardless, this makes for a solid opening track.
Medina’s In Da House – This short interlude apes portions of Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg’s “Nuthin’ But A G Thang” to set up the next song…
Danger Part 2 – Part 2 of Blahzay Blahzay’s biggest hit turns into a Brooklyn cipher session, as Outloud is joined by Trigger Tha Gambler, LA The Darkman, Smooth Da Hustler, and of course if Smoothe or Trigger are involved, the East Coast Nate Dogg, DV Alias Khryst is going to show up, as he closes out the record with a few manly moans and groans. Despite Outloud’s “tail between your ass” mishap (in hindsight, his “think we one hit wonder” line was also pretty amusing), all four emcees sound hungry, focused and locked in over this rugged boom bap beat that replaces the Ol’ Dirty Bastard “danger” snippet with a clever flip of a Biggie soundbite but wisely keeps the Gwen McCrae moan from the original track. My only issue with this record is its placement on the album, as the original should have come first, but this joint is fire!
Don’t Let This Rap Shit Fool You – The Blahs mix a wicked bass line with a muted organ loop that sounds like it’s swimming underwater, and Outloud sends warnings to anyone who thinks he’s gotten soft since getting a record deal: “It’s absurd, ‘cause you heard the way I talk and speak, from that alone should have known how I walk the street, go ahead and grab the breaka burners, you wanna combinate, and I’ll abominate, like the seed of hate just wait, you want to give it, then you definitely not seeing vivid, not like the rest talkin’ mess and don’t live it, ‘cause if I jeopardize my future, ‘cause I have to shoot ya’, for being connivin’, word to moms you ain’t survivin’, now ya got the blues, I’m the man you not should choose, a lot to lose, baby need new shoes, so my uzi ooze, don’t let this rap shit fool, get yourself in a duel, it ain’t cool, shit is different in the new school.” This was hard.
Pain I Feel – Don’t let the song title fool you. Outloud continues to issue verbal lashings on any would be competitors, as well as the soulful instrumental backing his verbal darts.
Posse Jumpa – Outloud is joined by Mental Magician and LA The Darkman on this one, as the three emcees takes turns reprimanding dudes and warning them of the dangers that come with constantly changing crews. Strange subject matter, but all parties involved handle it fairly well and the nasty rock guitar riff paired with the ill piano loop sounds super dope.
Maniac Cop – Skit that sets up the next song…
Good Cop/Bad Cop – Outloud tries his hand at storytelling on this one, as he raps from the perspective of a crooked racist cop, detailing the wicked shenanigans of he and his “good cop” partner. Outloud proves to be a decent storyteller, but he sounds much more entertaining spittin’ battle raps and talking shit. Plus, this instrumental sounds parched.
Sendin’ Dem Back – This is probably my favorite joint on Blah. Our hosts hook up tribal like drums that sound epic when paired with the dope Kung Fu flick chords. Speaking of Kung-Fu flicks, Outloud gets off one potent verse and kicks all types of ass with his lyrical Taekwondo, before handing the song over to vocalist, Tanya Brewer, who issues a few warnings to any sucka emcees or singers thinking of stepping to her. This is a certified banger.
Long Winded – Outloud’s joined by Verbal Fist (who reminds me of Jeru’s protégé, Afu-Ra), Mental Magician and Verbal Hoods on this posse joint. Each emcee stands their ground, but the true star of this record is the creepy instrumental and the semi-haunted partially drunken piano loop that its built upon.
Jackpot – Outloud stays in war mode, showcasing more of his battle-ready bars over this dark and rigid backdrop.
Danger – The final song on Blah is also the song that introduced the world to Blahzay Blahzay. The fellas swipe a loop from Gwen McCrae’s “Rockin’ Chair” for the dusty backdrop that not only uses classic snippets from ODB and Jeru The Damaja (who along with Gang Starr and Fat Joe, appears in the video for this song), but it also includes a Q-Tip soundbite (“Oh My God!”) taken from the Beastie Boys’ “Get It Together” off their Ill Communication album (Tribe Degrees of Separation: Check). This song was well over a year old by the time Blah was released, but it’s a classic record that will forever define Blahzay Blahzay’s musical existence, so they had to tact it on to the album. Side note: On the “Danger” maxi-single (that also includes “Danger Part 2”) there’s a Premo remix that’s worth checking out.
After just a few listens to Blah Blah Blah, it becomes crystal clear that Blahzay Blahzay were influenced by the Gang Starr Foundation. Outloud’s voice, cadence and delivery sound undeniably similar to Jeru The Damaja’s, while the duo’s style of boom bap beats and PF Cuttin’s crisp cuts are kindred spirit to Premo’s iconic brand of production and scratches. There’s a thin line between imitation and inspiration, and while that line gets severely blurred on Blah Blah Blah, there’s no denying it’s an entertaining listen. Besides, can you really call it biting if the fathers of your style co-sign for you?
Over the course of the album, Outloud proves to be a more than capable emcee, spittin’ smart and strong battle-ready bars in his authoritative preacher-like vocal tone over he and Cuttin’s rough and dusty beats that capture the true essence of nineties East Coast hip-hop, culminating into a hidden gem of an album that’s far from…blah.
During the “Intro,” Blahzay Blahzay promises to explain what the Blahs means and to make you feel Blahzay Blahzay “like crimp pliers on your nuts.” I still don’t know what the meaning or origin is of their name, but the music definitely lives up to the crimp pliers metaphor.