Saturday, November 17, 2007

It's Kinda Hard for Me Not To Do It Slow...

This is one of many, many, many R&B singles that came out in the 90's, which people only bought because of the guest rapper featured on them. I could fill a room with all the cassingles I own in this category, and I took a pass on a lot. But unlike most of the ones I've got all over my bedroom and down in my basement, this is an independent release on a small label, 4x4 Records (the same label that put out Ice Dog, of the Tuff Crew,'s solo record) that same year. The R&B grop is called The Justice League (as far as I know, this is the only release they ever put out), and the rapper is the man we all know and love, Kwamé (who also produced this).

This came out in '93, putting it after his run on Atlantic Records, but before his Wrap Records "comeback" release, Incognito. Consequently, this record sounds constrained by the budget of being on such a small label, and feels underproduced. The instrumental basically consists of a simple beat, a cool bassline, and a little live piano & sax. The singing is fine, the hook is pleasant; but overall it's lacking in energy... If this record came in a sticker cover, I think it would say, "Smooth R&B You Can Serenely Nod Off To."

But who cares? We all bought this to skip to the end for Kwamé's part anyway, right? And, thankfully, he does breathe some much needed life into the track. Still, he doesn't steal the scene and transform the whole record into something crazy and unique like he did on "Dave and Kwamé" or "Joe Cool" (where he only does back-up vocals to Joeski Love's raps and still manages to transform it into a total Kwamé experience). Even on the B-side's preferable "Hip-Hop Mix," where Kwamé does adlibs through-out the entire song over a more stripped-down beat with a harder bassline... he's a lot more subdued. I guess, unfortunately for us, he didn't want tto steal too much of the spotlight from his new, boring act.

But that's not to say that the lyrics aren't still uniquely Kwamé:

"Whassup, whassup? Tell me how's it going, darling?
I bet you didn't know, you didn't know, that I was falling.
Uh! Uh! Uh! And then I do it like thisss...
So ya body don't miss.
Miss, I ain't playing, but I bet that you'll find,
That I'll hump you so hard I'm blowing thoughts out your mind.
I'm more freaky than the freakiest thought you ever had;
Wrap your legs around my neck, and then (slurp) I catch wreck.
No disrespect, but the heck with them nuts;
Got to give it, give it up, and then I'll tell ya, tell ya what:
I give the pa-pow - uh! How ya like me now? Uh!
Let me get wild - uh! And then I'm out... Uh!"

Bottom line: it's worthwhile if you're an earnest Kwamé fan, but he doesn't do enough to make this worth the average hip-hop head's purchase.

Today, does he have a myspace? Yep, he sure does (here). As you've probably heard, he's made a new name for himself as a producer, scoring some pretty big hits with artists like Lloyd Banks, LL Cool J, Will Smith, Tweet and The Pussy Cat Dolls, plus album tracks for Talib Kweli, Young Joc, Christina Aguilera and Method Man. So he's doing alright for himself. He's also made a second myspace page as a retrospective for his career with A New Beginning, here. Check 'em both out and have fun; but if you can't be bothered, here are the two most important things he mentions for us fans: an unreleased 1996 album(!! Something must be done to get this out!) and a comeback as a solo artist, or as he puts it, "THE RETURN OF THE KID!!!!"

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