Saturday, November 7, 2009

Ed O. G & da Bulldogs Week, Day 3 - Dedicated

So, Ed O. G & da Bulldogs followed up their debut album with another, Roxbury 02119, on the same label(s) in 1993. The main difference between this and the last one is that it featured a lot of Diamond D production (certainly nothing to complain about) and it's decidedly less commercial (no kid friendly song, no love song, etc). That fact, and the poor choice of a lead single ("Skinny Dip (Got It Goin' On)?" Really?), seemed to seal another short but dope hip-hop artist's career.

But then came the 90's independent boom, a gratifying time to be a hip-hop fan; and everybody was pressing up their debut 12" or making a comeback. Rumors circulated that Ed O. G was to be no exception and sure enough, he returned in 1996 on his own, one-off label called Solid Recordings. He dropped a six-song EP with a nice, understated soulful feel, thanks to his continued collaboration with The Vinyl Reanimators, who produced the whole thing (goodbye, Awesome 2!).

By the way, this is the first (I'm pretty sure) pressing, with the more dramatic red labels. There's another pressing, which is exactly the same, except with white labels. Solid Recordings also issued a 12" single featuring two of the songs on here ("Dedication" and "Acting"), which is worthwhile if you're interested in the instrumentals. Apart from these, Solid Recordings has put out no other releases.

As "Streets Of the Ghetto" (off Roxbury 02119) played like a sequel to "Life Of a Kid In the Ghetto," "Dedicated" could be the third installment. Ed O. tells us anecdotes of the Boston ghettos dedicated "to all the killers and the hundred dollar billers," we're told by the Mobb Deep sample cut up on the hook. "What U Got," "Showing Skills" and "Actin'" are just about kicking some freestyle rhymes, and "304's" takes the typical shots against the women he perceives to be after his money. It ends gracefully with "Nights Like This," a mellow mood piece.

The production is simple but perfect... basically every song features a slow, fat drum track, a couple head-nodding samples, and a vocal sample nicely cut up as the hook (except "Nights Like This," which has an uncredited female vocalist; but she plays it smooth and relaxed, too). That, combined with Ed O. G's calmer delivery, makes for a smoother, more "adult-sounding" record. I want to say "mature," but I just can't with a song called "304's" on here. Ed has also absorbed some of the 90's obsession with "punchline" similes, giving us lines like:

"I get open like doormen,"
"So dark where George couldn't see Scott" (get it? Actor George C. Scott? 'Oy vey),
"Don't get yourself scarred like Seal,"
"Fuckin' around with more dangerous minds than Michelle Pfeifer,"
"My shit be bangin' more than Little Rock" (Bangin' In Little Rock was a popular documentary on HBO at the time),
"I got Faith in myself like Evans,"
"They get no wins like the caliber of teams that's expansion"
"Ed O get ya jumpin' like Tourettes."

...To pull out a few at random. And yes, he even has one about Christopher Reeves' being paralyzed (smh). But he plays them down and they never really stand out as being too out of place.

Basically, Ed's never been exceptional on the mic, but he shows on this EP that he's still able to get nice with his. And he has a good voice that meshes perfectly with Reanimators' flavorful production. He came with exactly the right tone and vibes that heads were hoping he would at the time (strictly underground), and even to this day, I just get a warm feeling of gratitude that this EP dropped and we hadn't heard the last of him in '93. Yeah, there's valid criticisms to be made (mainly lyrically), but Ed O and the Reanimators (notice? no Bulldogs) managed to create a nice, inconspicuous little gem for our crates.


  1. Yes. Great, great EP, IMO.
    You're right, the red one is the first pressing, white label is second.
    I've been after the sample for "Acting" since this EP dropped.:)
    But my memory is so shoddy, I might have it and
    This has always been one of my many favorite EPs from the mid 90's indy
    Great write up.

  2. I need your help:

    Is Sean C. from the Vinyl Reanimators the same Sean C. (Sean Cane) that was down with the X-Men and along with Knobody and Dahoud did production on many mid-nineties New York records?

    Always thought they were the same. But in that recent DJ Shame interview, Shame mentions that Sean C is no longer active. But at least one Sean C is still in the game, doing lots of production on major records recently together with LV.

  3. Nah, they're two different guys. Sean C of the X-Men is from Harlem, and the Vinyl Reanimators' Sean C is from Boston. It can get a little confusing when an east coast artist just has a "produced by Sean C" credit sometimes.

  4. OK, thanks for clearing that up!

  5. OK I'm about to add some confusion:

    in the current issue of German rap magazine Juice there's a Sean C & LV interview.

    Sean C. says (I quote) "ich bin eines der Gründungsmitglieder der X-Men und der Vinyl Reanimators"

    translated: I'm one of the founding members of the X-Men and Vinyl Reanimators

    sadly, in that interview they don't go deeper into that

    according to discogs the Sean C from Harlem is Deleno Matthews, next week I'm back at home and check my Vinyl Reanimators produced records for that name:)

  6. Checked some Vinyl Reanimators records, it was not so easy to find real names on independent records:)

    But on the L The Head Toucha record there's S. Dinsdale, J. Mansfield and S. Corrigan, so I guess Sean C. is S. Corrigan, from Boston, and not Sean Cane from Harlem - as you already told me:)

    Don't know what's up with that Juice interview, they probably made up that question..WTF