Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Poison Clan Appreciation Week, Day 8: Home Team

Ok, so the original line-up of The Poison Clan was DeBonaire and JT Money. Deb's little brother Drugz was loosely down, too (he speaks briefly on the first album and has a skit on the second album called, "Drugs Bullshittin'." After the first album, DeBonaire quit The Clan to form Home Team.

In 1992, they put out one album (Live Via Sateliite From Saturn) and the hit single "Pick It Up" on Luke Records. JT talks about the split in this Murder Dog interview, "I never knew to this day really why. He just wanted to do what he wanted to do. Maybe he felt like he wasn't doin the typa music that he wanted to do. Cause remember when he went and did Home Team with his brother, they did 'Pick It Up Pick It Up,' when I was doin 'Shake Whatcha Mama Gave Ya.' But we were always tight, we still tight."

In 1993, they followed that up with this second (and unfortunately final) single, "Back To the Bronx," produced by DeBonaire himself. It's the Home Team formula at its best: a classic old school beat and familiar samples retooled to boom even deeper while the MCs kick ill freestyle verses. They're not really saying much, though there's a few clever rhymes; but it's mostly all about their use of dozens of short, clipped staccatto rhymes, their voices kicking almost like another set of drums. The actual drum track is a short loop that's continually re-scratched in (ok, the scratching is probably looped, too... but it still sounds great); and the hook is nothing but them letting the beat roll in silence until one of the MCs grabs the mic again for another crazy verse.

Then once again, regular Poison Clan contributor Frank Ski is back on hand to issue another exclusive 12" remix, the "Blunted Remix." He's added a bunch of new vocal samples (mostly on the hook, but really throughout) and an extra-old school hand-clap track to the original, unchanged instrumental. It downplays the bassline, which dominated the original, and plays up the snappy percussion. It's hard to pick a favorite - both versions are dope for different reasons.

The b-side is "Reminiscing," the final song on the album that stood out as the only one where they completely changed their styles. Instead of just fun freestyle rhymes, they stick to straight, simple topic-driven rhymes, reminiscing (natch) on their high school days in Brooklyn:

"Combination locks,
They got broken with a hammer.
The classroom was boring
Like they threw you in a slammer.
Girls that wanted to wear them bamboos,
They got them yanked out;
Brothers that was illin' gotta fight
For gettng ranked out.
Teachers couldn't stop us
When we roamed the whole buildin';
We had a crazy fat mob
When we was in Tilden.
We used to go up to the mall
They call The Kings Plaza.
Kings Plaza was kinda cool;
I think it has a
Macy's, maybe JC Penny, and some others.
We used to boost the gear
From out the store with other brothers.
If you was a sucka
And you wasn't actin' proper,
You would get a hundred stitches
From somebody's chopper;
Or maybe I should say a shank,
A razor, or an axe.
We used to wear the funky outerwear
and sport the backpacks.
People got robbed
For stuff like Polo gooses;
People carried handlers,
Knives and deuce-deuces.
We used to cut school
And go up to the ball court;
Slap-boxin' everyday
Like every day we fought.
I really can't forget
How we made the rap tapes,
Then brung them up to school
And let the suckas catch the vapes."

It's also produced by DeBonaire, and uses the same piano loop The Geto Boys used on "Six Feet Deep" the same year. The 12" also includes the instrumental version of "Reminiscing."

Home Team were all set to drop a second album, Malignant Graffiti, but Luke never put it out. I've blogged about that here; there's even an image of the cover. The Poison Clan have also talked every so often about reuniting - first on Luke Records (one reunion song, "Movin' Along," was featured on Luke's third solo album, which I've already blogged about here). But then Luke's label went bankrupt and all that got shelved... They talked about it again years later. In the interview I quoted earlier, JT had this to say on the subject, "We're gonna do an album. I went and talked to him a coupla months ago. Like right when I get this out we're gonna put this thang down. He's just waitin. He's still doin his music, but he ain't did no deals or nothing. He might be waitin on his boy, might be waitin till I come back to the hood." Most recently, in March of '08, they had a Poison Clan reunion concert that featured JT, Deb, Drugz and Uzi.


  1. Very insightful stuff. I Still have my original HomeTeam CD. I wish there was a way to get there second album. Even a torrent would do me fine. If you have any leads please email me

  2. The P.C. was the shit J.T. & Deb one of the duos...the baby 2 Live Crew

  3. One of the best duos J.T.& Deb Rock