Saturday, January 23, 2010

Missin JMJ

Everyone knows that Rev Run kept up a healthy solo output post-Run DMC, but DMC's 2006 solo CD, Checks, Thugs and Rock N Roll, seems to've rolled in well below most fans' radar. And that's just as well, considering what a mess of generic rock, country and R&Bish production mish-mosh this is. Lots of boring studio instrumentation and ill-advised guest spots by artists like Kid Rock, Sarah Mclachlan, Aerosmith (but not the lead singer), The Cars, Buck Cherry and other pop and rock bands I know nothing about. There was a single ("Freaky Chick") and everything, all of which can be yours for the price of a penny on Amazon.

So maybe you never heard of any of that, or maybe you did and just pushed it out of your mind like me, but you might be a little more encouraged to hear that the Japanese disc featured a new, decidedly better song, as a bonus track. And better still, that bonus track received a small run on vinyl as a promo-only 12".

Now, don't get me wrong. When I say "decidedly better," you still have to be feeling pretty sappy and forgiving if you're gonna give this a spin. But if you are, then you'll find a pretty respectable - even touching - dedication to Jam Master Jay called "Missin My Friend." DMC, who's at the verge of losing his voice around this time, doesn't sound like we knew him back in the day, but his sounding softer and muted works much better on this dedication track than it does on the rest of his album. The production (uncredited) is on the light, R&Bish side, but not bad for what it is, and it features a well sung hook, which is also uncredited. According to an interview in The Source, this is the first song DMC wrote without writing any lyrics down, which is interesting, since his lyrics are much better here than on the rest of his album, where they often sound simplistic and kinda dopey. Here he's sincere, authentic and really kind of touching:

"I seen you on the bus playin' video games;
You beat all of us, I ain't sayin' no names.
You was a real cool cat; you never caused trouble;
You would relax your mind doin' a crossword puzzle.
You and Run would argue: who's better in ball?
And I would sit back and just laugh at y'all.
I miss ya, Jay, I ain't gonna front,
I'd give anything to see you smoke one more blunt.
So when asked who's best, we all will say:
Jason Mizell, Jam Master Jay.
When asked who's best, we all will say:
Jason Mizell, Jam Master Jay!"

The label to this 12" gives us practically no info (just a defunct url), but playing through the record tells us the track-listing is as follows: A1) Clean Version A2) Instrumental B1) Dirty Version B2) Acapella. There's not much distinction between the clean and dirty versions since, as you'd imagine, there's not much cursing on here, but there is a single usage of the word "nigga" silenced out.

So, while steering as far clear of the album as possible, you still might want to add this 12" to your crates. Even if you're realistically not gonna break it out and spin it too often, it's just nice to have it in there as a tribute to the great Jam Master Jay.

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