Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Frontier Is Over

Here's what I like about how MC Ren struck out as a solo artist. Eazy E focused a lot on drama and other novelty-value type gimmicks (high profile disses, silly videos, a Christmas song... even a lottery ticket-style scratch-off album cover), Dr. Dre obviously went the g-funk route, and Yella did, uh, whatever it was he was trying to accomplish with his solo album, Ren just came with no frills hardcore beats and rhymes. Everybody was waiting to hear what The Ruthless Villain would do, and when "Final Frontier" dropped in 1992, it was just what we were all hoping he would do.

This is a pretty straight-forward single. Still on Ruthless Records, "Final Frontier" just features the Clean Edit (which I of course never listen to) on the A-side and the Uncensored version on the flip. Ren's not saying much here... no shots disses or break-up talk as you might've been expecting, just straight-forward hardcore raps ("DJ Train'll grab the gauge, just in case the motherfucker talk shit - he's the victim of the front page. He's on his way to the morgue to kick it with the rest of them motherfuckers that I gave free room and board"). He occasionally flips a little tongue rolling style, which is cool; but would've been more impressive if he ran with it a little harder. But he's not really out to impress with his lyrics or delivery, so much as kick the basic hardcore fundamentals; no frills: "I hit a nigga off in the head with a chair. The reason for that? The motherfucker, he was standing there!"

Actually, to go back to the Clean Edit real quick. One thing that makes it interesting and possibly worth owning is that the lyrics are altered and re-rapped. They don't just bleep or reverse the curses. So the lines I quoted above become, "DJ Train'll grab the gauge, just in case somebody pisses me off - he's the victim of the front page. They're on the way to the morgue to kick it with the rest of them suckers, yo, that I gave free room and board," and "I hit somebody off in the head with a chair. The reason for that? Because the sucker, he was standing there!" Even the hook is changed to say "the black brother that they call Ren" (which, amusingly, still manages to be as redundant as the O.G.). So it's a fun alternate version at least for the serious fans and collectors.

Anyway, the label doesn't say so, but the track's produced by Bobcat, and it's pretty rugged and simple. It's got some cool vocal samples cut in (though don't expect any fancy scratching) and a little horn sample. But basically it's just "The Bridge Is Over"'s beat and infamous piano riff.

...And that's actually why I guess I don't really revisit this record much anymore. Once the popular NWA fever has calmed down, we're left with the fact that I'd rather listen to the "The Bridge Is Over." Ren comes off well, and it was the right statement for its time; but Krs-One's version is still the definitive use of this track. Listening to this, you want to hear Kris skat "a de de da da, de de da da, da da day - hey!" and take shots Roxanne Shanté. Listening to it today, it'll still get your head-nodding and you can appreciate everything you liked about Ren; but unless you're going on an NWA nostalgia kick like I happen to be today, it's not the winner. And life is too short to be spinning the runner-ups much.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Lesbian Hip-Hop on Wax

"This joint right here? Don't nobody take this serious right here; this is ghetto comedy."

"I'm just playin'; I don't want anybody to take this serious here."
And the phrase "I'm just playin', but I'm sayin'" is repeated constantly as part of the hook.

So I gather we're not meant to take this song too seriously... Well, reckless maniac that I am, I'm about to talk seriously about Madee's "Dreams [2001]" on Sure Shot Records anyway. There's no date on the label, but I think we can all hazard a safe guess. Sure Shot's a pretty dope little label... it put out records like Craig G's "Welcome To the Game," Special Ed's "Think T.W.I.C.E." and Nine's comeback 12". So when you see something you've never heard of on that label, you check it out.

Madee is someone I'd certainly never heard of before - though a quick search online shows she has another 12", as well - but the concept is definitely familiar territory. It's a follow-up to Biggie's infamous B-side "Dreams [of Fucking an R&B Bitch]" from 1999. So, like I said, familiar territory... I mean, a whole grip of MCs recorded their own follow-ups... Lil Kim, Ras Kass... eventually Thirstin Howl III capped it off by raising the absurdity levels off the charts with "Dreams of Fuck'n a Cartoon Bitch" about sex fantasies involving cartoon characters. Let's face it, the whole strength of the original was the shock value novelty, so all the follow-ups just feel tawdry and desperate. But there is something that makes this one interesting.

The unspoken full title of this song - like "Dreams" would be "Dreams of Fucking an R&B Bitch" - is "Dreams of Licking an Industry Chick." Bearing in mind Madee is a woman, that makes this pretty much the only openly lesbian rap song I can think of on wax. Don't get me wrong, we can google "lesbian rapper" right now and get 1,000 hits of lesbian MCs none of us have ever heard of with a couple songs on their myspace players and interviews on websites that specialize in homosexual hip-hop. And I understand there may be a couple *known* MCs who are lesbians in their personal lives. But none of them have any openly songs about lesbianism that I can think. The closest I can think of are some of those controversy-seeking "I'll kiss a girl if it'll get me on MTV News"-type songs by artists like Queen Pen or Nicki Minaj, which flaunt a generic bisexuality for attention. But I can't think of any other "I'm a lesbian; this is my song about being a lesbian, and here it is pressed on actual wax" records.

Production is credited to one Kenny Cash, but Madee's just rhyming over Biggie's "Dreams" beat (which wasn't even original then), so that's no great accomplishment. But he's also credited with writing the song, which is both interesting and disappointing. Lyrically, it's completely predictable anyway - not particularly funny punchlines about wanting to have sex with "industry chicks," like: "I'll take Britney Spears, get her wetter with gin. Justin asks what happened? 'Oops - did it again!'" The appeal of this song rests entirely on how excited you are at the prospect that a female is making a litany of sexual innuendos at female celebs.

So that song comes in Clean, Club (read: dirty) and Inst. versions. Then on the B-side there's a second song called "Controversy." It's produced by Q Banga and again written by Kenny Cash. The beat is far less appealing than the A-side (Hey, what do you know? stealing from Biggie works). It's not bad, but pretty generic and boring. Anyway, the song is all about how controversial she is ("whole industry shook when I got the deal"). She makes sure to name drop a lot of people in punch-liney references ("I'm the type to see Trick, then say Trina should beat it. Then the type to see Trina and say Trick should eat it."), so it's basically chasing the same appeal of the A-side. This song also comes in Clean, Club and Inst. versions.

So, it's an interesting, but certainly unexceptional 12". Considering fewer and fewer artists are putting their music out on wax, it's sort of sad to think of this song being the lesbian community's sole flag planted. But maybe her second single's better. It came out a couple years later on Slammin' Records, and though I haven't heard it, I notice it doesn't mention anything about being written by Kenny Cash on the label - that may've been a smart move. And it's at least fun to collect all the "Dreams" response records. :)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Take a Drive With The Zulu Kings

If you've ever wondered why Busy Bee had a Rhyme Syndicate logo on his second album, or how it came that Melle Mel was writing songs for Ice-T ("The Tower); it originates back to a dope but short-lived indie label called Posse Records. There, way back in 1986, Syndicate producer Afrika Islam combined forces with Melle and his crew to form Afrika & The Zulu Kings.

This single is called "Cars," and it's a pretty simple, old school song about... cars. It features Melle Mel, Ice-T, and Bronx Style Bob back when he rapped instead of sang. It's of course produced by Afrika, although all the other members share co-production credit. And, interestingly, Grandmaster Caz gets credit for mixing this record with Afrika.

This song follows a fun structure: it's just a dope (though very dated) instrumental - drum machine beats, a large groovy bassline, and lots of horn stabs, bells, cuts and change-ups - and at first it goes your traditional: MC's verse, hook, MC's verse, hook... but soon they're skipping the hook all together, and each MC is just jumping on top of the other, grabbing the mic. There's even a few skits mixed in where they talk about their cars over the beat, so you never know what's coming next.

The song features a lot of talent, obviously; but are ultimately light, casual songs, as opposed to anybody really flexing their skills or kicking important messages. Melle Mel starts it out, sounding like he did on his classic records with The Furious Five, shouting out all the types of cars, "I drove a Chevy and even a Ford; I pushed a Lincoln Continental, a Honda Accord, limousines, a Porsche Audi, a Honda Seville, a Savannah Brougham and a Coup Deville. You ride a Saab or a Subaru, a Corvette or a BMW. Now you're movin' like a car stayin' up to par. You're seen even parkin' a Mercedes, you're a superstar! But you are what ya are, behind the wheel. I never ever let a car control how I feel. You feel you're big time 'cause you're driving a Rolls? Well, you better watch out for telephone poles!"

And of course Ice-T immediately takes it to the west coast, "Word! This is all I got to say: you gotta have a car if you live in LA." ...So they're not out to impress with their lyrics, but if you pay attention to the writing, you can still see why these guys are better than their less successful peers.

There's just the one song on here; though it comes in vocal (called he Zulu Club Mix), Zulu Dub and Zulu Beats versions. But this is not the only collaborative release of Afrika & The Zulu Kings... they released a second single that same year called "The Beach," which is equally fun.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Classic Shy-D and DJ Man

Remember the intro to MC Shy-D's first album? Where the host excitedly tels you the man who brought you the Pink Panther and the Sanford and Son is back? When I first heard that, I was like, "what's he talking about? I thought this was his first album?" A first album called Shy-D Is Back. Hmm... Obviously I wasn't hip to pre-major label 12"s in my younger years, but that intro really made me want to hear these Pink Panther raps and such. And thankfully I was able to track them down.

This is his second 12", from 1986: "D.J. Man Cuts It Up" on 4 Sight Records (his first was "Rapp Will Never Die" from 1985 on the same label). This title was familiar enough to me... "DJ Man Cuts It Up Again" was on Shy-D Is Back (and so was "Rapp Will Never Die Part 2"). And I have to say... Shy-D went through a lot of phases and styles in his career, but this remains my favorite of his releases.

DJ Man is the name of his DJ; it's not just an awkwardly titled song. As you might guess, this is a showcase of Man's skills. Now, this is Miami bass before there really was Miami bass, so if you've steered clear of this because you expect some Quad City Boys-type junk, don't worry. This is real, old school hip-hop. It surely helps that Shy-D is originally from the Bronx and even Afrika Bambaataa's cousin. So there is a super funky bassline to this cut, but not the ultra-deep speaker-testing stuff Miami became known for. This is the kind of bassline Fats Comet might've come up with. But this isn't disco band music; it's snappy drum machine hits and of course constant fast cuts. Stylistically and lyrically, this is as old school as it gets ("all the bad DJs want to be his friend"), but Shy-D's voice was killing it back then.

So you've got that song and the instrumental version, and then, just before you hit the end of side one, there's a little mini-cut called "XX Rap." I'm talking 44 seconds short. Now, you might think from the title that this is gonna be some filthy, juvenile sex rap. But this is 1985, so it's called "XX Rap" just because he uses the word "damn" and "motherfucker" in his verse. Hey, this was pre-2 Live Crew and Prince getting warning labels put on music albums, after all. It's a fun battle rap spit over a human beatbox.

Then, onto side B, we get one more song (with instrumental): "Shy-D Is Back" (and no, this song isn't on the Shy-D Is Back album). At first this sounds similar to the first. DJ Man is cutting while Shy D is rhyming over a fast drum machine rhythm with a lot of hand-claps. But after Shy's first verse, it kicks in: The Sanford & Son theme. Not, I believe, sampled from the television show, but replayed here, with a harmonica, keyboard and funk guitar. The combination of Man's slick cuts over the bassline and the chintzy sitcom music is surprisingly effective - the cuts and bass add enough quality that it doesn't turn into a a tacky mess, like so many 80's rap songs that used TV themes did. The fact that they use it sparingly, just for the hook, helps too. The music only kicks in as DJ Man gets busy, and Shy-D is allowed to rhyme over the purely hip-hop elements of the track.

So yeah. Though he continued to record well into 1998, this to me is Shy-D's greatest release. There's even a moment towards the end where Shy-D commands, "give them a taste of our first song," and DJ Man lets his cuts over the Pink Panther theme from "Rapp Will Never Die." There have been other quality moments, but this is the record his reputation stands on.

Friday, June 18, 2010

If You Haven't Been Hipped to I-Power Yet...

...Please, allow me to do so. I-Power is an indie 90's hip-hop group, as authentic as it gets; finally releasing all their lost material on vinyl. Yeah, we've heard that story before, but it ends well every time, doesn't it? 8)

Well, I've just reviewed their latest 12", "Systematic" over at DWG. As always, there's mp3 snippets as well, so check 'em out and see what you think.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

New and Upcoming Music

The jury's still out on how 2010 is gonna be for hip-hop music, but there's some stuff out there and on the horizon that's pretty promising, at least. Let's break it down:

* Buck 65 has a new EP out called Avast. So far, it's just available as a CD extra packaged with his new DVD; but he promises on his website that vinyl is coming soon. "Soon" better mean soon, and not one of those situations where we're posting on a message board in December 2011 asking, "whatever happened to that vinyl EP Buck said he was about to drop?" Apparently, Avast is the first in a series of monthly EPs he's gonna be dropping from now until October. Want, want, want!

* Branesparker of The Freestyle Professors has a 6-song collaborative EP with Nutrageous coming out called Da Gritty & Da Grimey. They've "leaked" (it's not really a leak if you put it out yourself, is it?) the first song, and it's nice. Check it out here. Freestyle Records has also announced a new Freestyle Professors 7" and "Showbiz Presents: The Big L / Silky Black Double Pack (limited collectors 2x12" in pic sleeve)." 0_o

* Speaking of collaborations, Neila and Vrse Murphy have been promising a collaborative effort for years, but oh shit - there's a rough edit on Youtube now! (There's a couple other dope rough tracks on her channel as well, so poke around while you're over there.) That loop has the classic Vrse Murphy vibe to it; I'm amped. Someone once told me they weren't feeling Vrse because he sounded like Timbaland. ...I'm still trying to wrap my head around that one.

* If you haven't yet heard, K-Def is dropping an unreleased LL Cool J monster jam from their 90's sessions on 12" called "Year Of the Hip Hop." It's b/w an unreleased Real Live cut, too; but A-side sounds like the clear winner to me. This site has clips.

* Hydra Records is back with Godfather Don's unreleased third album, Donnie Brasco. I listened to the snippets on ughh, and it sounds like a step down from Diabolique and some of the stuff DWG and them have unearthed. But I'll still be picking it up.

* Grand Invincible released their second CD, Cold Hand In the Dice Game, practically in secret. As far as I can tell, you can only order it from this one site. But trust me, it's worth it.

* If you've been paying attention to my Twitter feed, you should've caught me retweeting Grand Daddy I.U. who says he's about to release "a bunch of never before released joints. from years back." I also mentioned an upcoming Themselves remix album of Crownsdown, which isn't quite as exciting; but could be worth checking out.

* You may or may not've caught Z-Man's free digital EP by now (if not, download it), but I bet you didn't also know that his label has a compilation album out that features a bunch of exclusive Z-Man songs (and other artists like Gift of Gab of Blackalicious). It's just $7.99 and only available from this site as far as I can tell.

* Finally, Phill Most Chill is coming with a full length (including lots of vintage, unreleased material) from DWG. Details are being kept under wraps, but what more do you need to hear?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Unarmed Soldiers of Lust

Unfortunately, this single from Buck 65 is only available on CD. The song, confusingly titled "Woodmatches (Square 2)," was originally featured on an unreleased (but leaked on the internet) album called Boy/Girl Fight. It was a nice album, and at the time I was really disappointed it never came out as it had a lot of good material - this song being a stand-out.

"Boy/Girl Fight" actually wouldn't have been a bad title for this song, as it illustrates the nightclub/party hook-up scene of young men and women:

"It's just like dodge-ball

But instead of a ball,
The contestants throw around
The head of a doll.
Now I don't know what it means,
But it makes it worth the cost alone,
Even with the overflowing
Load of testosterone
And sexual appetites.
Sorry, it's a circus;
The circuits are faulty
And everybody's uptight.
Sweat stains and jet planes
And hot rod love songs,
Blistering kisses
For every mister and missus.
In the same amount of time it takes
For you to make a sandwich, love;
You can probably find someone
That you can take advantage of.
'Cause the girls are desperate,
But the boys are even hornier;
The rose smells sweet,
But the stem is even thornier.
It's a match made in purgatory.
What more do you want to know?"

Fortunately, Buck wound up savaging pretty much all of the material from Boy/Girl Fight and including it on other albums. This song was no exception, and found its way on his 2002 album, Square. This version was different though... the vocals were all rerecorded, and this time they're not delivered in that high-pitched nasally vioce he sometimes used on his older material, but a more natural cadence. Fortunately, he manages to say the lines in the same perfect way he did the first time... that's a problem he's often had when he recorded many of his previous older songs ("Wildlife" or "Centaur," for example) - that he may have improved it technically, but he actually rapped it better the first time. Well, not here.

The annoying thing about most of Buck's old albums, though - and Square is no exception - is that they're all done in as "mixtapes," meaning they're all continuous mixes with every song blended into each other and padded with a lot of instrumental noodling. Also none of the songs were given titles or broken into tracks. Square is just broken in 4 parts (sides A, B, C and D of the double LP). So you can't pick it apart and just enjoy the songs you're interested in. That's where this CD single comes in.

It isolates just "Woodmatches (Square 2),"as a stand-alone song, without any of the blending that mixes into the instrumental of the version on the album. It's the only way to hear this re-recorded version of the song unmixed.

Unfortunately, it's the Radio Edit. Now this is hardly a profane song, so there's not a lot of cursing to be removed. But there is one like that's censored "card tricks and hard dicks." It's not song ruining, but it's enough to be annoying. It's a shame they didn't bother to include the unedited version as well as the Radio Edit on here (it's not like they couldn't fit more than 3 minutes on the CD)... Hell, I could imagine a proper 12" which includes the album and Radio Edit, the Boy/Girl Fight vocal version, the instrumental and even an exclusive remix. But oh well.

It's also worth noting that this has exactly the same cover as Square, right down to the title (it doesn't say anything about this being a single on the front cover, or what song is on here). The only difference is it's a little purpler, while the album is more blue.

So, all in all, it's an underwhelming release... But still something us completists will want to have in our collections. It's a great song; just wish they could've done a little better by it.

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.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Sally Got a Four Track 12"

Anything off of Diamond D's first album shouldn't need much by way of introduction. I'm sure you all remember this second single off his first solo outing... "Sally Got a One Track Mind" followed a common theme in hip-hop in the early days: warning against women being too materialistic in their relationships. The only thing hip-hop heads were warned against more than money chasing women by their favorite musicians were sucker MCs. But Diamond's expert production, highlighted by the slow, soft flute sample, gave the song a feeling of sincere maturity: a wise grandfather pointing out a flaw in our social fabric rather than a sexually threatened young man trying to demonize womens' sexual freedom. This cause was furthered by Diamond's smart lyrical structure, too: each verse visits the same character at a different stage in her life. First verse she's underage, next she's 18 and finally she's a young mother with an expanding consciousness. The tone's a little different than Poison Clan's "The Bitch That I Hate," even if it's ultimately the same message.

So that track in a picture cover already makes this 12" a crate staple, but this single shines with some nice B-sides. First up is the Remix by Showbiz. This track is ferocious; and belongs right at the top of any DITC greatest beats list. Fast drums, squealing trumpets. deep bass... it's really only the light piano(?) notes that make this fit the "Sally" song as opposed to some Percee-P and Big L fast rap bonanza.

Then we get the album track, "Check One, Two." Diamond kicks some fun, arbitrary freestyle rhymes over a very cool, jazzy track which was co-produced by The 45 King. There's some nice references to his first group, The Ultimate Force (in fact, he even samples a brief moment from "I'm Not Playing" when he brags about how he flipped a blues loop for that track (and he should brag; that song was incredible). But it makes you a little sad that there would be no more Ultimate Force records.

Finally, we come back for another pass at "Sally," this time with the Two Track Beat Down, again produced by Diamond D. This is more stripped down; just a big, fast drum break. It's definitely dope, but is even further removed from the tone of "Sally" than Showbiz's mix. So much so, that it really doesn't fit. It's cool and worth checking out, but this beat should've been used for a battle rap, not Diamond's reminiscent morality tale. It's a misstep, still worth a listen for DITC fans; but that's about where it ends.

Anyway, it doesn't matter how screwy the last track is, the Showbiz mix already makes this a must-own. And like I said, even if it was nothing album track, I'm sure this single would be pretty popular. But if you've passed on it 'cause you didn't know what else was on here, I can assure you it's worth your time. I mean, some instrumentals would've been nice; but you can't have everything.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Wu Mortal Kombat

video
(Youtube version is uploading very slowly... I'll link it later. Ok, it's here.)

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.