Monday, February 9, 2009

Poison Clan Appreciation Week, Day 10: Warlock Records

Ok, now I'm starting to get a little tired of The Poison Clan, so I'm gonna start looking to wrap this up. But I can't quit without addressing their Warlock years. After Luke went bankrupt, The Poison Clan were left without a home, but they still managed to come out with an album the very next year thanks to Warlock Records. It was called Strait Zooism, and spawned two singles: "Shine Me Up" and this precursor, "Fire Up This Funk."

The first thing you'll notice about this record is that it's fuckin' orange - yeah, baby! Apparently, not all pressings are on the neat colored vinyl, though; so make sure you're getting the one you want. And if you prefer picture covers, here's the cassingle (left).

This sometimes gets dismissed as second shelf Poison Clan, but really it's pretty solid and consistent with their previous efforts. Just from this single alone we can see that producer Mike "Fresh" McCray came with them on their exodus from Luke Records, and Madball and Uzi (now known as The Rufftown Mob) stayed down, too.

First up is the Radio Version. It's a hype, high-energy track with a nice funk guitar riff and horns and some nice DJing on the hook. Madball and Uzi don't really rap on this one, though; they just do backup ad-libs and provide the hook. Make no mistake, this is a genuine banger.

I don't know why the previous owner (Shabazz, apparently) decided to cross the "Instrumental" out of the track-listing, because it is on there. It's also followed by the accapella, which is something you rarely get from the Clan.

Now, interestingly, on the b-side we have the Album Version, which is more than just a few flipped curse words different from the Radio Version. Instrumentally it's the same, but the lyrics are completely different (oh, and for the record, that accapella was of the Radio Version).

sample of the Radio Version opening:
"Once again it's on!
Rufftown Mob in the house;
Representin' true funk
Comin' straight from the South.
East Miami:
Bottom of the map;
Dead in the city
When ya don't bring ya strap (Believe dat!)"

sample of the Album Version opening:
"I'm down with the youth
Of the motherfuckin' C I,
And you
Can motherfuckin' see I
Don't fuck around,
But I do sleep around;
And if you're mad about your bitch,
Well... (Then you can keep her, clown!)"

Finally, there's one other b-side: "Ahead of My Time," a slower JT outing, also produced by McCray. It's got some nice atmosphere, with a nice soulful instrumental and JT talking about his former label, its pres ("On the videos lookin' all pretty. Frontin' like you're loved, but can't walk through your own city. It's a pity the way you went out like a sucker; your records only hit 'cause I was on the motherfucker. Me and Mike Fresh gave you nothin' but hits, but I'ma tell you we're beyond that bullshit") and the Clan's new direction. It might not be the obvious choice for a single that the A-side was, but don't overlook it; this track is a nice little jewel.

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