Saturday, September 6, 2008

Buck 65 Vinyl Week, Day 2 - Sebutonedef

It's Day 2 of Buck 65 Vinyl Week, and today I'm drinking chocolate milk and listening to The Sebutones' only vinyl release, the "Sebutonedef" 12". It dropped on Four Ways To Rock Records in 1997. This is the single off of SixToo and Buck's first collaborative album, Psiorasis, and it has some nice vinyl exclusives.

The first track, of course, is "Sebutonedef (Original Mix)." The first thing you'll hear is the looped stand-up bass, in the style of Digable Planets' "Cool Like Dat," playing acappella. Soon some phat drums, scratching, and a horn sample that sounds like it's coming out of an old David Lynch soundtrack kick in. Buck 65 describes the song in his own words in his Psioriasis review on his own site,, "'Sebutone Def' has a huge, frantic sound. It's death-jazz hip hop. The drums are outrageous. The bass line is on crack. There's even a catchy hook! The turntable work is also interesting. I remember recording it without listening to the track and then flying it in randomly. It's crazy, but it works. This is the best song the Sebutones ever made. It's not saying much on the surface, but it was something very fresh in hip hop and it was a good song." He may be right about it being the best thing the Sebutones have done (collectively, at least)... it's realtively simple, but it just works.

That's followed up by "Industrial Arts Remix" of the same song. There's some new horn samples and abrasive sound effects, and the bass from the original mix is flipped backwards. It's kinda cool, but not as effective as other remixes (like Pumpkinhead's "Dynamic") were using the same gimmick. This remix is good, mind you; but the original just sounds better; and that's the one you'll keep going back to unless you're really deadset on an alternative.

That's followed up by a rare treat for any DJ or remixer: "Sebutonedef (Accapella)." Like Buck said, the song's not really saying a whole lot, but Six manages to not only hold his own, but compliment Buck's unique delivery. It's really like some classic Ced Gee and Kool Keith shit, back when they were both kicking some nice verses.

The first track on the B-side (pictured above... check that out, huh?) is "Flux Capacity (Vocal Version)," another album track. Buck and Six both kick some hip-hop history over a moody head-nodder. Both are nice, but the beat outshines the vocals on this one... so it's perfect that the following track is "Flux Capacity (Instrumental)." They kind of remind me of a dark Raw Produce here... one can't complain about that.

The 12" rounds off with another non-album exclusive, "To Mock a Killing Bird" (two punny titles on one 12" is dangerously close to overload, but I think they just manage to get away with it). After about 40 seconds of sound effects (no doubt intended to stir up even more atmosphere, but you'll probably want to just needle drop a few rings in once you've heard it a couple times), a really catchy-but-ominous piano loop comes in that sounds like it could be lifted from the score of an old episode of Nigel Kneal's Beasts or something wakes you up. The drums kick in and suddenly you've got a really good song playing. Lyrically, Buck 65 just bugs out with his content and his rhyme scheme:

"In a position
Where I'm wishin'
The conditions weren't so miserable
The movers and shakers
With the visceral maneuvers
The designated minimal
Effect upon the educated
Criminal mind
And I never need religions
When I can always feed the pigeons
Rather than going to catechism
Born Catholic with the crack addict's jizzm
I'm telepathic
You paid to see the blue suede shoes
Stamp on my soul
And swallow a used tampon
Vandalize churches
My alarm signals me to scandalize disciples
And then to purchase firearms
And as we layer the ammo
And sing battle hymns
Along with the player piano
We dress up in cattle skins
Stockpile supplies
One eye on the clock dial
And, uh, one on the executioner
For the mock trial
Cut with precision
We make a final decision
Maybe we should pull the plug
On a television baby
But it's debatable
'Cause it's the ego andthe onus
Truth is still inflatable
He's scared to die
All we need to do is cut the air supply
Tamper with the remedies
The veins feed the poison
From the heart to the extremities
Beyond potential
We command a force
The non-essential ones
That ponder the causes
And also honor the losses
And prophets
What's that?
Beg your pardon, historian?
Spill your blood upon the dust
To make a garden for scorpions"

SixToo has a tough job to follow that verse up, but he does alright... his flow stands up better than his actual lyrics (we're back to the Keith and Ced vibe here). He's bouyed greatly by a hot X-Clan vocal being cut up for the hook - you really can't miss sampling the Grand Verbalizer. And they don't miss at all on this 12" - an underground classic of its time that still holds up today. Absolutely one for the crates.

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