Monday, April 27, 2009

What We're Gonna Do Right Here Is Go Back... Way Back

E.S.P. are a pretty cool - not exceptional, but consistently good - crew signed that were signed to Select Records for several years and worked regularly with producer Howie Tee. The name stands for each of the members' names: Elliot Ness, Mr. Speed and Professor Paul[I'm not sure if the P was technically for "Professor" or "Paul"]. This 12", "Back Rappin'," is their earliest release, dropped back in 1987, and as such has a more rudimentary, old-school sound... like early Whistle. By the time they released their album four years later, this didn't fit in at all with what they were doing, so the songs on here remain a nice little 12" exclusive.

The song is all about this new style they've invented, "Back Rappin'." They spend way more time talking about it than actually using it, but when they finally get to it, it sounds a lot like MC Marvelous's double word style (for the record, this one came first), where they basically say something and then rephrase it using almost all the same words backwards, like "Every time I rock, things get merry. Merry get things, rock the time every." So, yeah... it's a fun but not at all important record. Did I say the beat sounds like classic Whistle? Because it really does. Imagine something like "Buggin' Out" without the infamous "bug" sample. I believe this is also the first record Chubb Rock - who co-produced this along with Howie - ever worked on.

The same pair also co-produced the B-side, "Ready To Rock 'N' Roll." It's a fun ode to 50's rock ("yo, I'm Elliot Ness, not Wolfman Jack! We know it's not the fifties but we're bringin' it back"). The beat is really pure hip-hop, but they randomly drop some signature rock samples over the hook and a few other spots. This isn't about them trying to get on the Run DMC bandwagon, so much as them rhyming about jukeboxes and poodle skirts over a funky beat with the occasional guitar riff popping up.

ESP is probably better known for dropping a couple, fresh "random rap" joints. But this is different. It's a cool score, though, if you're in the mood for something a little more rudimentary and throw-back. There's also an acapella for the lead track (also an instrumental, which is cool because acapellas were pretty rare inclusions back in those days.


  1. yo werner, been peepin your sites for a while! i'm going to link you, hope you don't mind. peace

  2. No, I definitely don't mind. 'Preciate it. =)