Thursday, February 4, 2010

He's Little Run

Here's another fun one from the annals of Virginia rap history, again courtesy of The Old School Rap King (see my Fayze review). It's Little Run "I'm Little Run" on So-Def Records from 1990. I've never heard of the label before - don't get it confused with Jermaine Dupri's So-So-Def Records - and judging from the catalog number (001SDR), this is their first and quite possibly only release.

Like his name suggests, Little Run is a kid rapper (and presumably meant to call to mind Run of Run DMC, though there's no direct connection), which is interesting since it pre-dates the pig kiddie rapper phase that came about with acts like Kriss Kross and Da Youngsta's who debuted in 1992. Not that he's the first - for example, T. Omar dropped "I'm Only Nine Years Old" back in 1985 - but he's at least ahead of the curve.

But anyway, more interesting than the fact that he's a kid rapper is the fact that he's a pretty good kid rapper. He's got a pretty hardcore flow, but without getting into ridiculous Quo territory. If Basically, if you appreciate a good LeJuan Love record, you should like this. The lyrics are simple freestyle, over-the-top boasting; but they're fun and engaging enough:

"How can you rhyme and persist to diss,
And then be talkin' a lot of junk and be rhymin' like this?
'Comin' straight out the projects but I'm harder than him;
My name may begin with 'Little,' but I still get trim.
This rhyme'll get mad - furious!
The young Einstein of rhyme, you can call me Yahoo Serious.
No bad influence, girls be thinkin' I'm sweet;
Others think I'm a hoodlum 'cause I come from the street.
A new jack, I got something you lack, Mack.
Get in my face and get smu-smu-SMACKED!
I got back, yes my brothers is black;
Black folks ain't no jokes 'cause we got it like that.
When I went in 7-11, I created a fuss,
'Cause all the cashiers was lookin' at us.
Lookin' at the brother thinkin' I'ma steal a Slurpee,
Or a Big Gulp.
So tell me, what's up?

...'Cause I'm Little Run."

And, you know, I say he's a good kid rapper... but like any kid rapper, it's probably all really comes down to his production and handlers. In this case, he seems to brainchild of M.C. Tony T (not that Tony T... this one's real name is Tony Austin), who produced the track. It's a rugged, bass-heavy beat that uses a good chunk of "Atomic Dog," but also has enough unique, funky elements that it doesn't sound tired and played out like "Atomic Dog" based beats often do. The instrumental's also provided.

Then M.C. Tony T turns the spotlight on himself for the B-side, "Tony's Groove." No instrumental's included this time, but that's ok, because more than half the song is just instrumental. It's cool, kinda funky, kinda cheesy and pretty new jack swingish. He refers to the corniest synth riff as "horns," I literally laughed out loud when I first heard it. There's some Miami-style percussion and some girls singing, "let me see, let me see ya groove," and various vocal samples and ad-libbing by Tony. Finally, about midway through, he does grab the mic and rap for a single verse. He's ok, and has clearly at lest put in the effort to come with something impressive; but again it's kinda corny. "Tony's Groove" is an amusing old school tune if you're open-minded and in the mood for a throwback, but nothing more.

The A-side is worth going out of your way for, though; at least if you see it cheap. Anyway, I enjoyed it. 8)

1 comment:

  1. I agree, the Little Run track is a good for a kiddie rapper, especially for 1990. Cool production. And you're right, the flipside is way corny.

    Tony Tee was involved in another Virgina record from 1989. Not essential, but interesting for completists: