Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Timex Social Club Meets the Dangerous Crew

The Dangerous Crew formed, I think, because Too $hort and his producers realized his records were a goldmine, but he could only plausibly release so many himself. So he signed a bunch of mini-Short Dawgs, released a plethora of records (mostly through the same label - Jive) and probably made a mint. Now, it's true, they all didn't sound exactly alike... Father Dom had a smoother, less dry voice, and Spice 1 was more on some hardcore killer shit. but basically, all those guys: Ant Banks, Pooh Man, Goldy... were all releasing interchangeable songs that could've just as easily turned up on one of the other's albums. It was a good time if you were a Too $hort fan, and I was happily eating all this stuff up in the early 90's.

Father Dom's "Rumors," off of what would have been his 1995 "debut" album, Mellow Madness. I put "debut" in quotes, because that's the way Jive Records was billing it, but he'd actually put out an independent album a few years earlier (hey, Jive pulled that stunt with Goldy, too!). And I said "would have been," because the album wound up getting shelved. I'm petty sure it was recorded, though, because the track-listing has been widely available, and there's probably even some official promo tapes from Jive floating around amongst the collectors.

Anyway, the first single did come out. And the cassette single even had a picture cover. It was called "Rumors," and it was more grist for the mill. Production credit goes to "Father Dom and the Dangerous Crew," and the subject matter is well-trod ground. The hook is based around on an old Too Short vocal sample ("Keep your jealous ass thoughts to yourself"), but what makes this song stand out is Dom's ultra-smooth flow, along with a smooth, bass-heavy track.

But the Jealous A. Remix is more than just some cool Father Dom album filler. Now, there have been a number of songs to use Timex Social Club's hit "Rumors" pretty liberally... The South Central Cartel's "Hookaz," Master P's "Stop Hatin'," and of course The Vicious Rumors Club provided the oficial rap version ("official" because I believe the lead singer of TSC was actually the rapper there). Bobby Jimmy and the Critters parodied it, Club Nuveau blatantly ripped it off, and there's a bad 2Pac song that replays all the music of "Rumors" for the track. So I guess it was a pretty predictable idea that Dom and his co-producer on this remix, Tone Capone, would decide to use the music of the original "Rumors" for their "Rumors." But this version one-upped all those who simply ripped the TSC off.

He actually found them and featured them on his version (or at least lead singer Michael Marshall, who was pretty much the sole remaining member in the group).

The music on this remix is completely different than the album version... it's essentially the music to the original "Rumors" but replayed. I'm sure, even if you haven't heard it, you can imagine it: the main riffs replayed as Ant Banks-style keyboards and a slower, deeper bassline. Anyway, unlike the 2Pac song, this blend of old and new really works. The music is tight, TSC's hook sounds great... he might've actually sung it better here than on the original. And if you're unsure who's preferable on the mic: Father Dom or Master P, then you have an anti-west coast bias that's way out of control! ha ha This is one of those rare old school updates that works, and I think surpasses the Vicious Rumors Club song (though that gets credit just for being fun and old), that both captures the original vibe and updates it for the 90's:

"Now if you're tellin' lies on me and my crew,
In Oakland, you might get the old 1, 2.
'Cause if your mouth's writin' checks your behind can't cash...
We're gonna have to get the ski masks."

The B-side, "Let 'Em Know," features what would've been just another album track, had it come out. But since it didn't, it's a rare treat of Dom's Jive material. He gets to flex his style here (which - did I mention? - is smooth), over a fresh, laid-back track with some great live music vibes by Tone Capone. "Rumors" (especially the Original Version) is pretty generic Dangerous Crew material in a lot of ways... but this is uniquely Father Dom, and shows why he was a noteworthy artist in his own right.

The "Rumors" remix is what really makes me glad this single got released, and "Let 'Em Know" is what makes me disappointed the album never did. Damn, I might have to go do some googling and see if there're any leaks out there.

1 comment:

  1. You can easily find a rip of Father Dom's unreleased album, circa 1996. It's entitled "Bombay," and the rip I have is 18 tracks of pure pimp rhymes and head-nodding beats. Some of the tracks are even instrumentals, presumably all mixed by himself. Honestly I was not disappointed at ALL by "Bombay," and would highly recommend it. Or search youtube for tracks like "Playarea Dreams" and "Falling." Classic Oaktown funk! Peace, love the blog. Michael