Friday, March 14, 2008

Vooodu, Runnin' From My Magic

A couple years after Western Hemisfear split apart and Patchwerk closed its doors, Vooodu - who'd been killing it with hot Wake Up Show freestyles, some ill, atmospheric production for Ras Kass and his crew, and putting out a hot EP called Dark Regions, Vooodu seemed to disappear. It was definitely a loss to the underground, west coast scene.

But, actually, Vooodu put out one more project a few years later, though if you live in the US you probably never heard of it (unless you did some internet searching for Vooodu like I did). "Confessions" dropped in 1999... it's got a couple labels credited (Lavish, Epic, Diverse), but they all seem to be subs or at least associated with Sony's German division. To add to the confusion, a label called Superb Records made a webpage (which is still up, all these years later), claiming "Confessions" came out on Superb and Epic in 2002, and that he's working on his 2004 album for Superb, titled Dog Day Afternoon (which never happened). Damn, confusing European releases. :P

I asked Danny Halloway (see my last, also Vooodu-related post, Werner's Back With the True Sound) what happened to Vooodu - maybe his Sony deal tied him up, and kept his album shelved? But no, he said, "vooodu was very unique when he first came out and he worked very hard. then he got 4 girlfriends that did not know about each other and started having kids. soon, he didn't have enough time to concentrate on his music career. it's a shame coz he was spittin' fire in '92/'93."

So, anyway, this "Confessions" single is his last effort; and it's pretty disappointing after his previous releases... gone is the slick, hardcore wordplay. "Southern California Nights" was apparently the direction he was heading in after Patchwerk, and this goes further in that direction. It's got big studio production handled by a guy named Shiro Gutzie (who also does some instrumentation), studio R&B vocalists Al Berry and Niki Carson on the hook, and live strings by Johnny Todd.

The 12" has three mixes and the CD single has six. West coast producer M Boogie handles the "Act:2 - I Confess... Remix" and Vooodu gets behind the boards himself for the "Act:3 - V3 Hypnosis Mix." Two of the other mixes are just radio and TV versions of the main mix, but then the CD single also offers one more remix, the "Revenge Mix," apparently also done by Shiro (I'm assuming, since no other credits are given).

The singing isn't bad, but it's pretty damn cheesy. And the live instrumentation is nice in a way, giving it a little richer... it all sounds like something Nas or any mainstream NY rapper would do while we all wished they'd go back to working with Primo or Buckwild. Wisely, M-Boogie and Vooodu opted to replace the happy dappy singing with a spoken chorus by Vooo, but unfortunately, his delivery is kinda lifeless and flat; which makes the whole venture boring and entirely forgettable. M-Boogie goes for a kind of Alchemist-like beat, with short horn stabs and sounds; but never reaches those heights. And Vooodu loops these short guitar samples, giving the whole thing the atmosphere of a film soundtrack, which works with the narrative style of the lyrics... but it just isn't hot enough to really pop; and again the hook just falls flat. The "Revenge Mix" is pretty close to the original... it's a bit longer, and elements come in and out at different times, but essentially it's the same music, hook and vocals as the original.

The song itself is definitely on some crime story "Good Dwellas" type ish. He doesn't come off as impressively ill as his freestyle HemisFear rhymes, but he's still nice with his wordplay and is clearly a skilled MC who's mastered this kind of criminology material as well:

"We arrive at the compound;
Start the countdown.
You have orders to swiss 'em
If they hostile.
Tag 'em like Wild Style;
You know how it's done.
It's a quarter after one,
Time to tick it.
Six minutes for this mission,
Let's get this shit movin'.
I'm headin' for the safe
And the place they hide the rubies,
Just like the movies,
Tied everybody up.
Any talk, slap 'em with the burner -
'Shut the fuck up!'
We started fillin' the duffel bags,
Cleanin' 'em out;
Stacks and stacks of green,
You should've seen the amount;
After we got
Everything valuable.
Now back to you,
You took my niggas out,
Now take these two
To your think-tank.
Our steps they won't retrace;
Left the scene with the spree,
If you know what I mean;
And scorch the place.
What an expensive price
To pay for treason,
But fuck 'em,
They made it open season."

So, it's a decent song. Vooodu fans should be happy to find at least one more song they can add to their collections. But for all the different versions, even on the CDS, it still just needs one strong remix to get it off the ground. Someone like Nick Wiz could've really given it what it needed to catch on and be a worthwhile addition to anyone's collection. As it is, I'd say it's just for Vooodu fans... although casual fans might dig one or two of the remixes enough to pick it up if they come across it cheap.


  1. Vooodu's Dark Regions was one of my favorite EPs of the time and I even saw his Confessions online in 2000 and wanted to imported. Something stopped me from doing it and it looks like I did not miss much.

  2. hey there! i ran into your blog doing a Meen Green search on it looks like i missed out on your blog for long time, because if i knew about it, i wouldve been on it a looong time ago! anyway, im glad someone out there still cares about dope older hiphop others have long forgotten about...its a damn shame about vooodu, since i still bump dark regions to this day...i wanted to ask you tho, do you know what happened to Bird??...i havent looked at all your blogs yet so excuse me if you already addressed still trying to find that true sound sampler...stay up brother, and im glad i found ur page...


  3. Thanks for the comments, guys!  Yeah, Dark Regions was hot... "Confessions" wasn't garbage, but it definitely wasn't up to Dark Regions standards.
    Bird hasn't been that prolific, but he's still around.  He produced one of King Saan's solo 12"s not too long ago.