Saturday, March 10, 2007

The Chillologist pt. 2

"What, baby?
What is a love jones?
Come on, girl,
That's when you love someone
Very, very much,
And you just can't seem to get yourself together..."

If you were watching the rap video shows in the late 80's, you saw this one many, many times. "Love Jones" is the second single off of The Mic Stalker. I'm not going to try to make a case for this song, you either like this rap love song with spoken word (and non-rhyming) lyrics and a lot of R&B on it, or you'll want to stay a mile away from it. This was one of the better ones, though; for sure. An update of Johnny "Guitar" Watson's classic, of course, from his Gangster of Love album; the '89 "Love Jones" features Cheryl "Pepsii" (spelled with two i's to avoid any lawsuits) Riley, who was also a member of the Full Force Family[1], and the Force themselves.

Besides being able to add personality to battle raps, Doctor Ice has a knack for being earnest in his love songs, being able to embrace the inherently kitschy aspects of the song with a subtle sense of humor, showing enough intelligence to put this type of song across without trying to seem to smart for the material (a la the recent strain of "nerdcore" comedy raps). So you can smile at his delivery of lines like, "if you can trust anyone, you can trust... the Doc" without it feeling like a hacky joke. And that humor makes, then, makes the cheesier love rap stuff a lot easier to swallow:

"You see, girl,
I not only want you,
But I need you.
And that need is so strong,
It's almost like that of a basshead."

The single opens with an extended version, then the generic single edit. The flip side offers the ridiculous "Trust Me, I'm a Doctor Mix," which, after a whispered introduction...

"Hey, baby. Where you goin'? Nah, I'm not done yet... Now you know you've been givin' my cat to some other dog. That's alright; I'm here now. And after I'm done with you tonight, you won't want nobody else. Trust me... I'm a doctor." the same as the album version. But about halfway through, it turns into a crazy clowning session with his crew, Hospital Hell[2], literally screaming, howlingand crying in the background. Very silly. Finally, there's the "instrumental," which really juststrips off Doctor Ice's vocals, and so acts as a well deserved showcase for the vocal stylings of Full Force and Riley, since their talents were definitely a key element in raising this above most songs of its type from the era.

Now, that's where my 12" stops; but there's a second pressing, which is otherwise identical, but also features the hot album track, "Bass Up - Bass Down." So if you haven't got the LP (and why, may I ask, not?), you may want to hold out for this version.

I already linked Doc Ice's myspace in my last update, but he's not the only "Love Jones" alumni still in the game and kickin'. Cheryl Riley's got her own, and for the sake of consistency, here's her myspace page. She's got a comeback album she put out on 2005, which you can still order off her site.

[1] Besides being the pop R&B group we all knew and loved for singles like "Unselfish Lover" and "Ain't My Type of Hype," Full Force produced a lot of other successful artists in the 80s, including Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam and Samantha Fox. UTFO was put together as their rap group... in fact, UTFO stands for UnTouchable Force Organization. They also chased Kid & Play around in the House Party movies.

[2] Hospital Hell = Juice and Wiz (the sick patients), Tammy Coleman (the nurse), Frankie D. (the surgeon) and Fly Tyrone (body guard). When Doc Ice came back on Ichiban in '94, Juice and Wiz stuck around as his R.O.S. (Rely on Selph) crew, along with a guy named Kay Kay. There ya go - bet you didn't know all that before.

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