Sunday, June 13, 2010

Further Rumors

Here's a record I think pretty much everybody's slept on: "Rumors 2002" by T.O.N.E. on Select Records (I'll leave you to guess what year it dropped). So let me start by answering your primary unanswered questions about this record:

1) Is it...?

Yes, it's an unofficial sequel to Timex Social Club's hit "Rumors" that uses largely the same instrumental, subject matter and samples the chorus for the hook.

2) Who the heck is T.O.N.E.?

Since it's a Select Records release, you might be thinking it has something to do with Red Hot Lover Tone, but no. T.O.N.E. is the artist formerly known as Style, who put out a Hollywood Impact-produced album on Select way back in 1990. He's also the younger brother of old school legends T-La Rock and Special K (yeah, no shit!), and is still putting out music, now under the slightly altered name T.O.N.E.-Z. Here's his myspace.

So yeah, it's kinda wild that Select still apparently had this guy on their roster twelve years after releasing his one album. Unsurprisingly, Hollywood Impact is no longer involved - instead this one is co-produced by someone named Rock Stardom (never heard of him - maybe a pseudonym to go with the song concept?) and T.O.N.E. himself. Like I said, it's basically a riff of the TSC instrumental, but they do flip the drums etc and make it more contemporary. The fun of this song, really, is the lyrical content anyway: T.O.N.E. just drops a barrage of crazy, silly name-dropping rumors about everybody in the industry:

"Funkmaster Flex...
Ran up in Mary J,
And robbed Jay-Z,
Wrote all of Biggie's rhymes,
Made Stevie Wonder Blind!
Krs ate pork,
Then slobbed down Monifah!"

...And so on. Yes, it's more than a little gimmicky (think "Bomb MC" or "Ghost Writer," both of which preceded this) and some of the rumors are just too childish and corny ("Jackie Chan's bionic! Bruce Lee's alive!") at times, but it's amusing. And for the final verse, he does flip it and kick a serious verse about the rumor mill ("See how you laugh when I spit those bars? See how easy it was for you to believe bars? It's the rumors, the lies, the gossip, the tabloids."). You get a Main Pass, Radio Edit and Instrumental for this track on the 12".

But that's not all! There's also "Rumors (Part 2)," which is a total lyrical and instrumental remix with a completely different hook as well. This time the instrumental is essentially Nice & Smooth's "Hip-Hop Junkies," though chopped a little differently; and it's basically an opportunity to throw in a couple hundred more zany name-droppings ("Did you hear about Dr. Dre? He made a gay porno flick that'll drop today!"). This one has a serious third verse, too; this time settling rumors about himself ("ain't shit changed for the assassinator").

It's definitely not a great record; but it's a neat little dollar bin pick-up with some unexpected old school roots.

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