Sunday, January 18, 2015

When Sly and Robbie Met BDP

In 1989, we saw a new side of Boogie Down Productions when Krs-One teamed up with Sly and Robbie to collaborate on their twentieth or so album, Silent Assassin. I don't mean reggae-influenced instrumentation or ragamuffin vocal stylings Krs sometimes broke off into... he'd already been doing that before this album. No, what we saw were some of the other members of the crew we barely knew. Like, name some BDP members besides Krs: Scott La Rock of course, D-Nice, Ms. Melodie... Kenny Parker... Did you say Willie D or Shah of Brooklyn? I think it's safe to say the only people who might've are the people who had this album.

I know hip-hop; I don't know other genres of music. But even I knew Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare were big. They've won Grammies and shit. And they're known for innovating and pulling reggae forward into each new decade. And so it made since that they would take the dive into hip-hop in the 80s, bringing in Krs-One to produce their entire album and getting American rappers on every single song.

Anyway, just look at that great album cover. Sly and Robbie (and... is that Sidney Mills?) up front and Krs reaching up out of the smoke behind them. This is no token "let's get a guest rapper on a song" thing, this is a real blending of their styles. Krs produced every single song on here, and (unfortunately) Sly & Robbie have no other record like this.

The big single was "Dance Hall." I just remember Yo! MTV Raps playing this every single day without fail. You had BDP stomping through the streets of Jamaica in full 80's American rapper gear. They're not trying to show how reggae they can look or sound here (as, again, BDP had done a couple of times in the past). They're in full-on New York rap crew mode. Meanwhile Sly & Robbie are jamming a very hip-hop sounding instrumental with a fast, funky bassline, popping drums and killer horn stabs. And on the mic is Willie D doing actually fairly average party rhymes. Yeah, this isn't the kind of song where it's rewarding to sit and contemplate the lyrics; but he sounds great over a brilliant instrumental. And on the album the song runs almost twice as long, letting each of the instrumental elements break out for solos and come alive to show that they're not just programmed sound-bites.

The only programmed sound-bite, really, is the hook, where they've got the one line ("just dance, y'all, to this dance hall beat") on a sampler so they can keep repeating it, stuttering it and changing the pitch. The 80s kinda got enamored with the technology, as you do, and went overboard with that production technique; but I think the pendulum has swung too far since then to where nobody ever uses it anymore and I miss it. If you want to discuss the current rap generation and if this is a good or bad time for hip-hop, just check and see if they've got any records like "Dance Hall." Nope. They're missing out.

The rest of the LP isn't necessarily as strong as the single. It's up and down and we'll get into all those peaks and valleys in a minute. But one cool thing is that it isn't an album trying to be eleven or twelve "Dance Halls." The album is more varied and often darker, more street and serious. More like a BDP album.

So WIllie D has one other song on here... And no, I don't care what discogs connects; this is not the guy from the Geto Boys. This song, "Ride the Riddim" doesn't actually sound reggae at all. Willie's just kicking freestyle rhymes over a sparse drum track with a little DJ cutting in the background and some electric, guitar riffs. Sort of like a softer version of "Ya Slippin'." You'd never think it was from a Sly and Robbie record, but it's presumably Sly behind those funky drums.

There are a couple of non-BDP members on hand as well. Queen Latifah does a nice little duet with Krs called "Woman for the Job" where she both raps and sings her own hook. Krs doesn't actually rap proper verses on it, but he does ad-libs and back-up vocals all over the joint. In fact, he does that all over this album. He's actually only properly featured as the lead MC on one song, "Party Together" (which, yes, is a rap/sing-songy track where they cover the tune of the original 60's song "Happy together" - or, as my generation knew it, the theme song to Golden Grahams cereal). Everything else is just him tagging p the album to make sure you know it's his project.

So, anyway, Queen Latifah is one, and Young MC is the other. Hey, it was 1989 and I guess they really wanted him, but they shouldn't have bothered. The instrumental to "Under Arrest" is surprisingly R&Bish, with Young rapping in full "Principal's Office" style. It's alright if you're in the mood for a pop rap tune; the hook's catchy and even though it's simple and superficial, there is a message to it. But it sure sounds out of place surrounded by the Boogie Down. And "Living a Lie" is even worse.

So, tallying it up so far, that's two Willie D songs, one Latifah, one Krs and two Young MCs. That leaves five more songs, or eight if you have the CD version with three additional bonus tracks, all of which are fronted by Shah of Brooklyn. Yeah, this obscure BDP guy who I don't think has ever rapped on any of the BDP albums or anything else, has the majority of this album all to himself. You could practically replace Sly & Robbie's names with Shah's and no one would blink.

And how is he? Pretty dope. He's obviously replicating a lot of Krs-One's flows and mannerisms, but that's not a bad thing at all. He sounds a little younger and his voice isn't as deep. He's like a Krs-One junior, or "Krs-Two" from "Poetry." He's pretty good, and he's rapping over BDP records with Sly & Robbie adding extra instrumentation. It's kind of hard to lose. Like I said, there are a few valleys. "Adventures Of a Bullet" is a great concept for a song (years before Organized Konfusion's "Stray Bullet"). The lyrics kill on paper. But the style of delivery they go for is like a weird, jazzy thing that just doesn't work. "Steppin'" is cool, but it sounds like he should've passed the mic to Kris who could've done it better. And "Letter To the President" is on some corny, sappy "We Are the World" sung bullshit.

"Man On a Mission," is a little poppier than your typical BDP album, like maybe they had younger audiences in mind. But it's still pretty fresh. It's a really good overall album, in fact. The CD version especially, because it actually features most of Shah's strongest tracks. "Come Again" is tight, with loads of funky scratching, too. It really has me wondering about Shah Barrett... who is he, where did he go? Why didn't he ever get a project, even a single 12" of his own after this huge, major label showcase? After listening to tracks like "No One Can Top This Boy," I just think yo, this guy could've made a good album. I would've bought it.

Well, regardless, this is still a pretty great lightning in a bottle-style moment for hip-hop. Yeah, there's one or two tracks that should've been dropped. But especially if you get the CD version which adds a lot more raw BDP flavor, it's great. I used to regret that Sly & Robbie didn't try another album like this, but I guess it doesn't matter as Krs-One didn't miss a step and kept putting out great music at a steady pace. But yeah, man. If you somehow missed this, don't sleep on the Silent Assassin.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Our First Father MC Of the New Year!

It's the second week of January, and I haven't posted about Father MC yet - what is wrong with me? It's time to correct that right now. And if you'll indulge me, I'd like to start by making something clear.

I don't like, or pretend to like, Father MC ironically. I know we have our fun on this blog; but do you really think I'd have all these Father MC records in my collection if I didn't actually want to hear them? The guy has definitely made some questionable decisions in his music career, and some of his records definitely aren't as strong as others... and I admittedly do find pleasure in tracing many obscure, indie releases of his later output above and beyond the amount I'd enjoy most of them musically on their own. There are a few indie 12"s I would certainly have skipped if the whole process of diving in and collecting wasn't appealing to me. As pleased as I was when I finally found a copy, I don't think I'd recommend "We Got Doe" to anybody, ever. But he would have never gotten on my list in the first place if I didn't sincerely like some of his music, and if you go back to his best records, I don't think you can deny he's both a talented guy: both a capable rapper and with a good ear for music to make some quite enjoyable records.
 
This particular single really surprised me back in the day. Father MC had just worn out his welcome at Uptown Records in 1994. And usually when rappers were dropped, that was the last you ever heard of them... Especially when you lived in suburban New Jersey and not necessarily hip to independently pressed 12" singles you might come across in the cities. I spotted this 1995 Moja Entertainment cassingle in the malls of central Jersey and snapped it up unheard.
 
It was also nice to see that Father had added the MC back to his name. Following in the footsteps of Hammer after he'd already been branded a sell-out pop star by removing the most hip-hop part of your name didn't seem like a good look back in the 90s. Nowadays, no one would care. But seeing the MC back suggested maybe he was returning to his hip-hop roots a little.
 
That doesn't actually come across in this song at all. But what does come across, which was just as if not more welcome, is the gentle, even romantic tone of the song. Father had gone from a guy who rapped about love and directing a lot of his songs to the ladies in the audience, to a pimp character whose last couple singles were about his beeper and 69ing. I wouldn't presume to know which, if either of the two, was closer to the real Tim Brown in his heart of hearts; but it felt a lot at the time like he was changing who he was to follow the clichés, and therefore the dollars, of the industry.
 
"Hey... How Ya Doin'" is "meant for the brothers who have a special someone in their life who likes to hear when they say, 'hey, how ya doin'?" That's sweet. It's like the nicest song Father had ever done, and it's also a catchy, appealing concept for a popular song. Sure, he wasn't exactly going to win over Necro fans with this material, but it's what a lot of Father's fans were waiting to here.
 
Unfortunately, the production (by two guys named Fabian Ashe and Mark "I.Q." Adlam) is low budget; so it was never going to really pop even if Moja had the power to compete with the majors. It's a decent, piano-y R&B-style track, with a little bit of that G-funky slide whistle effect. It's got another female singer, credited only as Jodi, belting her heart out on the hook; but she's actually kinda low in the mix because there's a simpler, male part of the chorus which is a lot catchier. But the whole thing sounds pretty generic and is really lacking a strong sample to kick it properly into gear.
 
This single wound up leading to the album This Is 4 the Players later that year. It's got Radio and Club mixes which are practically indistinguishable, as well as Dub, Instrumental and Acapella Mixes. This was a nice little surprise for Father MC fans - Father brought the goods this time around. But his team didn't have the production power to turn it into a hit, so your average listener will probably just find it kinda boring. I was just happy to see Father back in stores... unironically.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

A New Release for a New Year

After dropping his debut full-length LP earlier this year, Whirlwind D is back with a brand new single. ...Not from the album, but two new cuts. Still on B-Line Recordings, D has a nice, little 7" single, pressed on white (white) vinyl in a cool picture cover and limited to 250 copies. And there is no mp3 download or streaming alternative this time - it's vinyl or nothin', kids.

The A-side is "Time Waits for No Man," produced by Phil Wilks, the guy who did the "Star" refix on his last album, and features some especially nice cutting Specifik. D always has the best scratching on his records; I love it. The track's a great blend of funky percussion, a cool, headnodder bassline and a fresh 80s-style stuttering guitar riff. And the cuts. They mostly come in for the hook, switching between a few, fun time-related vocal samples; but they really blend into the instrumental nicely. They're an integral part of the track, not just a DJ getting busy over a beat. And lyrically, the song's got an appealing - if a little self-helpy - message with a nice, off-bar rhyme scheme: "Time to/ Make a plan, look around and scan/ Your peers, woman to man, every single damn/ Detail. Never fail to cover your trail/ In search of life's treasures and the holy grail." And it's hard not to notice, again, falling nicely into the "grown man rap" niche.

Comparatively, the B-side, "One, Two," is more of a casual, back-and-forth freestyle song with Rola (of the Numskullz), who also produces. Once again, Specifik provides cuts, this time saved for the end. It's fun, with a funky, slow beat and breezy punchlines (although I'm not sure what it means to "glow like Eddie Deezen?"). But the A-side's the one you're going to latch onto; this one's more like filler. Enjoyable, high quality filler, but still filler.

You can't argue with the price; just £6 direct from B-Line. You can hear sound clips here and judge for yourself. The presentation's great; and it's hard to deny he's got a good sound.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Quick! One Last New Release for 2014!

(Happy New Year from my new roommates)
My first thought was: I'm not just going to add to the infinite pile of year end top ten lists with today's post. No way, not gonna do it. So what should I do? Pontificate about how much better/worse 2014 was than 2013? Summarize every post I made over the course of the year? Write a retrospective on "A Surf M.C. New Year?" [Note to self: that's actually a good one; save that idea for 2016!] No, what we need most right now is just a good, new release. And fortunately, one just arrived in the mail last week.

A new, limited (100 copies - mine is #67) cassette release from Megakut Records. It's a split/ double A-side release, two EPs roughly 15 minutes each. Dankslob on one side, and J-Eazy & Brycon on the other.



Who the hell is Dankslob? No, you're right not to recognize the name; but you should recognize the actual artists. Dankslob is Luke Sick's latest project. Pretty much every time he works with somebody new, he makes a new group name for it... Underbucket/ Grand Invincible, Brougham, Get the Hater, The Disturbers, Rime Force, Motel Crew, Yole Boys, Grand Killa Con... all these groups can be explained as "Luke Sick and ____." And this is the latest, and this time he's teamed up with G-Pek, the producer who made Z-Man's Don't Forget To Brag. Now that's a sweet match!

and it really works here. G-Pek really switches tones to work with Luke; he's got a real feel for tailoring his sound to match Luke's vibe. As dark and dank as their name and cover art imply, full of soundbites from The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (plus a little Barfly.and a few assorted clips), and Luke sounding as worn and world weary as ever. So many rappers seemed to have peaked around their second or third albums, but Luke just keeps getting better as he gets older, aging into perfectly tragic Hemmingway-style raconteur:

"Pop shit,
And loogie spit on everyone.
We on the couch.
Tell the bitch to shut its fucking mouth.
We like to slouch,
Think about how it's turning out.
We take our time;
Greg Pek knew this shit had clout.
I wasn't caring
'Till the hash all runnin' out.
Now we out,
But my feet hurt; I got the gout.
Them Earls bounce;
Suckers front like they really down.
But they never was;
They just some pussy clowns.
I made enough to eat and sleep;
That's how I got down.
I ate ribs,
Tried to live at the titty bar.
Don't even trip,
Holmes, ounce in the jelly jar."


I was all set to be disappointed, then, when I flipped this tape over. I mean, that would be fine, since Dankslob was perfect and more than worth the purchase in and of itself. But I've never heard of J-Eazy, this was gonna be some new jack piggybacking on Luke Sick. I know Brycon, though. He's the other half of Grand Killa Con with Luke Sick, and that was a solid album. So gotta give it a fair shot, at least.

Well, it's pretty good, too! I prefer the A-side (here's hoping Dankslob isn't a one-off!), but Damaged Goods, as its titled, is a cool bonus B-side. It's got a whole different feel to it, at once scrappier and more indie, but also bouncier and more upbeat. Think of it this way: if Dankslob is vintage Wu-Tang; Damaged Goods is vintage Killarmy. And just like with those Wu spin-off groups, it certainly doesn't hurt that the original Wu always drops by for a profile-rising guest appearance. Yeah, Luke Sick drops in and adds a verse and hook fora song called "Shattered Up" near the end (there's no track-listing or anything with this tape; but both groups posted song titles on their bandcamps).

This tape is really, really good. I mean, these Gurp City cats are consistently good; but I would even put this above their average. And like all their tapes, they're so well priced ($8, which includes shipping), it's a wonder there's any still available after an hour. Obviously, most of you people are still sleeping; and you're only going to regret it once you eventually realize how much they've been killing it over the years. Cop it here or continue missing out into 2015.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

For the Big Daddy Kane Completists...

It's been a long road, hasn't it, Kane fans? From the earliest singles on Prism to the final one on Mahogany Records, plus the lost catalog material finally unearthed by DWG and and Hot Chillin'. All the classic albums, all the soundtracks and killer guest appearances. You've amassed it all; it's finally time to close the book on collecting Big Daddy Kane records, at least until Primo finally kicks his butt back into the studio. Ah, but wait... do you have this?

Remember "Do My Love Onta You?" Not many people do. It's a song from Kane's last album, Veteranz Day in 1998, and not one of the best. That's already pretty obscure. But now, how about the "Do My love Onta You (Royal Gardens Remix)" only released in Germany? There's one missing from the history books.

Royal Garden is one of those production groups put together by a label to remix American imports. Like ZYX Records after ZYX Records closed up shop. From Lauryn Hill to Tom Jones, these guys made new versions of a lot of great artists' records without actually meeting any of them. And in 1998, where Veteranz Day was getting more love in almost every other country except ours, it was Kane's turn to receive the Royal G treatment.

Now originally, "Do My Love" wasn't actually so bad. Despite the title, it's not a token love song; it's Kane in full Count Mackula mode, with lots of punchlines and jokes. "Shinin' kinda like a half moon. Catch me tryin' to get it on inside the women's bathroom. (Nah, he wouldn't.) Yes, I would for the puddin'. Just come inside the toilet booth and everything is Cuba Goodin'." It's a little corny, but his flow is still great. The production is decent but unremarkable and he's got a pretty talented girl singing back-up vocals on the track. What possibly holds it back the most is the hook, "Now how do I do when I do my love onto you? Show me love when you want to." Repeated four times. It's just stilted and uncomfortable, and while the studio-produced keyboard riffs are enough to support the rhymes, they just can't keep the hook afloat.

The Gardens recognized this problem and fixed it by taking it the fuck out. Now all Kane does is a few ad-libs while the singer has the hook essentially to herself. So much better. And instrumentally, they take out the original keyboard line that has a bouncy piano feel and replace it with smoothed out lines. I'm not really sure which is preferable. It reminds me of the "Chicks Pack Heat" remix in that respect. What is clearly an improvement, however, is the new horn sample they add to the hook, replacing a very G-funk whistle sound laid into the original mix.

It feels less like a brand new remix than a corrected version, like the original was some unfinished demo mix that should never have made it to the retail album. It won't blow you away, but it will definitely make you like the song more.

The 12" is nicely equipped with both the new remix, the original, and the new instrumental. It's also a double A-side, paired with the great "Uncut, Pure" remix, which was easily the gem of Veteranz Day. The album version as alright, but the remix with its blaxploitation-style Rufus Thomas sample, is killer. Classic Kane fit for a greatest hits album. And clearly The Label knew it because they released it over and over again. It was given its own single, with the original on one side and the remix on the flip, then it was paired with "2 da Good Tymez." Then it was paired with "Hold It Down," and then it was paired with "Earth, Wind & Fire." And it's also been paired with this. So chances are you already have the "Uncut, Pure" remix, rendering it pretty unnecessary here; but at least its a great song.

The good news is this single isn't limited. Nor is it on collectors' radar. So you can easily find copies super cheap. The bad news is, it was only released in Europe, so if you're state-side, you'll never find a US seller listing this. So, a super low price matched with high overseas shipping kind of balances out to a slightly overpriced record. But if you're rounding out an otherwise complete collection, I do think it's worth going slightly out of your way to throw this into the mix. It's better than you'd think and actually improves the song you've already got and forgotten about, bringing it up to par with the rest of his catalog.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Odd Men Out, part 2: The First Phony Newcleus

So after "Dynamic (Total Control)," you might be wondering what happened to those Total Control guys, since they seemed to be the artists to actually watch on that record? Well, Frankie Dee broke off, leaving Dynamike and DJ Johnny Juice to... join Newcleus! Yeah, this is now after the foursome all left Newcleus, leaving only the label-owner with the rights to the group name, and the two little kids. It would be like if Disney lost all the rights to their Marvel superhero characters and just made Avengers 2 with Stellan Skarsgård's character, telling the press, "we're still in continuity!"

These guys didn't stay long, and most people think of Newcleus's second iteration of The Next Generation, featuring later members like Money Mike in the early 90s. But there was this brief period in between. As Cozmo put it in our interview, "there were two incarnations of the phony Newcleus." The first was definitely the better of the pair, and this is one of their records, "We're So Hyped!" on Super Power Records in 1988.

This was actually their third 12". Their first was "Huxtable Houseparty" in 1987, which I've already written about. I think that was Dynamike taking the primary microphone duties there, along supporting vocals by the famous Newcleus kids, who also turn up on the second 12", "She's Bad." But apart from a little talking by those computerized kids, "She's Bad" is mostly a Michael Jackson-y style R&B record. You'd never guess it was even meant to be a Newcleus record if it didn't have those kids on the intro. I mean, granted, with records like "Why," Newcleus - the real Newcleus - had already dabbled in non rappity rap stuff. But this is really totally removed. I also have no idea who that is doing the actual singing on the bulk of this record.

So by this third 12" - also their last on Super Power Records and the last of this iteration of Newcleus - Dynamike may've already been out of the picture. "We're So Hyped!" swings back to hip-hop, though. In fact, it's kind of their most traditionally, non-spacey/electro hip-hop record in their catalog. It's some funky old school samples over a beat with only some drawn out synth lines coming up towards the end that really signal "Newcleus" to the listener.

There's also no kids. I mean, I think the actual kids probably are on this. But 1) being older, they no longer sound like the youngsters on "I Wanna Be a B-Boy," and 2) they don't use the computer effects on their voices that make them sound distinctly like "Newcleus kids." So there's just some generic male voices doing back-ups and fill-ins. In fact, there's practically no rapping, which is why I think Dynamike might've taken off even before "She's Bad." There are little tiny rap bits early on in the record, almost more hooks and pieces than rap verses, and certainly nothing that would require a particularly adept MC. It's all just basically two or three guys saying things like, "come on, give it all you got" strung together.

But I'll tell you who's definitely still around: DJ Johnny Juice. He gets big credit for the writing and arranging of this song in the notes, and he even has a big scratching breakdown mid-song, while the guys make barking dog(!) sounds. I think you can basically consider this basically his record. And it's not bad. It's a fun, if silly, hook over a collection of solid samples. The only drawback is, without much proper rapping, the song can feel a bit sparse. It comes alive when during the scratching and the spacey keyboard parts, and the basic instrumental is certainly catchy enough. But it can feel like a long wait between the funky horn stabs during a lot of the song. It just feel s a little incomplete.

My copy I've got pictured here is actually a German pressing. The US release doesn't come in a picture cover, but otherwise they're pretty much the same. Both just have the vocal version on the A side and the instrumental on the flip, though this foreign press does play at 45 rather than 33. "We;re So Hyped!" was the end of Stage 2 Newcleus; I don't think Johnny Juice stuck around after this. It wouldn't be until the 90s that Newcleus would make more records with new members, and then jumble things up even further by including songs from all 3 Newcleus Stages onto the Next Generation album. Anyway, Stage 2 Newcleus certainly didn't hold a candle to the original line-up. But if you're a big fan of upbeat 80s hip-hop and can put aside the comparison, these aren't so bad. Heck, I bet if these same songs came out under the name of Total Control they'd have some fans after 'em.

Friday, December 19, 2014

The Odd Men Out, part 1: Dynamic Breakers

So for the next two days, I thought I'd take a look at a pair of records by a couple of the more overlooked and forgotten releases in old school rap history. They also happen to share an interesting connection. Up first is a record by The Dynamic Breakers... without Total Control.

See, the Dynamic Breakers/ Dynamic Rockers were a break-dancing crew (I know, you never would've guessed) in the movement's heyday. They were one of the biggest and most well known right behind Rocksteady Crew and the New York City Breakers. So, they were great dancers, not rappers or musicians. But in the 80s, everybody was getting deals. Rocksteady had an album, graf writers like Futura 2000 and Fab 5 Freddy were getting money to make records. And so it followed that Sunnyview Records signed The Dynamic Breakers in 1984.

I once interviewed Cozmo D (of Newcleus, of course, who were Sunnyview's biggest hip-hop act), who did the music for that record; and he explained how it went down better than I could, "Now, they already tried to do a record, and they had these cats named Total Control who were rapping for them. Now they broke off with the managers, so Joe comes and gets us to produce a new track for the rap record. So we helped them write rhymes, and he gets Total Control to come in, too. So we do a whole new beat, called 'Dynamic' and Total Control are on there, but they didn’t get any credit… just the Dynamic Breakers. So the whole thing is Total Control rapping with Dynamic Breakers coming through with some weak raps here and there, because they were horrible. We had written rhymes for them, but they were really horrible so they had to get Total Control back in."

So yeah, Total Control never got credited as the artists on that record, but the song was at least titled "Dynamic (Total Control)" on the original 12" label. And it's a hot record. The MCs Dynamike and Frankie Dee rock pretty well over a fresh track by Cozmo, and their DJ even gets in some nice little scratching. The Dynamic Breakers parts are really brief, like cameos. There's just one part near the end where each member goes, "I'm Deuce. (He's Deuce!) And I'm just too fresh. You can put me on the floor and put me to the test." And they repeat that with each of the Breakers putting their own name into that couplet. All the other rapping is by Total Control. And while the record never became a huge hit, it's definitely a well-regarded electro-hop record that has stood the test of time. You'll still hear old school heads bring it up and copies still pass back and forth amongst record collectors.

But you know what record people don't talk about? "Kim," the follow-up record The Dynamic Breakers did in '85, without Total Control. This was their second and last single, which they did all on their own. You know, except musically. It's credited as a "Newcleus production," and instrumentally it's pretty fresh. It's a little more rock-ish with some live guitars, but still funky electro. It sort of reminds me of a softer "The Mexican" by Jellybean, except with raps.

Yeah, the raps. If the guys from Total Control ever wanted a little vindication, to support claims that they're responsible for the strength of "Dynamic," this experiment without them definitely demonstrates how keenly their absence is felt.Their voices, stilted flows and super-simple rhyme schemes are amateur, just riding the line of being embarrassing. The rhymes are contrived, too, like, "what's this all about? I don't wanna shout. Who's the guy you're seeing, does he have clout?" Or, "only a fool would fall for that kind of trap. That's why I'm singing to you this rap." Admittedly, some of the guys are vocally stronger than others, but it's the catchy instrumental really saves them. And it helps that they went for a concept song rather than freestyles to show off their (lack of) skills.

Like the title suggests, it's about a girl named Kim (not to be confused with Biz Markie's thing) who they're sweating but who may not like them back. In other words, a Roxanne record, except this time she's named Kim. Except with no clever or amusing raps. This time the rhymes are entirely generic and the weight is carried by a Newcleus-y instrumental. But... that's not a terrible thing. It really does sound good, and the Roxanne concept certainly worked for a reason. I actually do rather like this record.

I do wonder how they came upon the name "Kim" for this record. Apart from being a single syllable name they can shout for the hook, it could be any girl's name. And The Dynamic Breakers already had a member named Kim. Kim-A-Kaze wasn't involved with either of the records, but she was a dancer with the crew who formed a smaller, spin-off group called the Dynamic Dolls, who had just appeared in Beat Street the year before. She also choreographed the famous break dance performance for Ronald Reagan. I don't think the song's actually meant to be about her (if so, there must be some fascinatingly tumultuous behind-the-scenes stories of her running around breaking all the guys' hearts), but there's a good chance they chose the name as a deliberate reference. I mean, you can't go around performing a song where you're constantly professing your love and desire for a girl named Kim and not make the connection that one of the people on stage with you is named Kim, right?

So yeah. After hearing this, it's not surprising that the Breakers' recording careers didn't continue. But, taken on its own, this single is actually quite enjoyable. And check back tomorrow for another interesting little off-shoot record that time forgot tomorrow.