Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Vooodu Is Not At Home To Guests

To true rap lovers, the internet provides. I'm sure you've been there, too. You hear a really impressive, underground MC on a freestyle or guest verse, and then spend years seeking after everything they've committed to vinyl or CD... which turned out to be not much at all. A 12" or two, another guest verse... and that's their whole legacy. Until you got online, and started finding out about indie comebacks under new aliases, white label singles you never knew existed, unearthed demo tapes and obscure regional collaborations. And even when you've been on here for years and years, and you think you've plumbed the full depth of knowledge, discovering every release there is to discover, the internet shows you another one.

Arrived in my mailbox today is a 90's 12" single by an R&B singer I can't say I remember named Elisha La' Verne, called "Elisha Is Not At Home." I pretty much stopped buying R&B music since high school (although I did recently fill a gap, picking up Keith Sweat's "I Want Her" :-D), but obscure 90's rapper appearances? I'm all over that. And this, my friends, is the final guest appearance by Western Hemisfear's own Vooodu.

Like his last release, the "Confessions" single, this came out on Sony/Epic in 1999, so surely that's how this pairing happened. It's a respectable, if by-the-numbers R&B vehicle built on the same Brick sample Akinyele used a few years earlier for "Put It In Your Mouth." The basic premise is that Elisha's not answering her ex's phone calls, and the hook is her answering machine. Then Vooodu comes in for the final act with the prerequisite rap verse as the ex who doesn't appreciate being put off.

The good news is that this is a substantial verse from Vooo, and not just one of those quick, throwaway five-second numbers like, "this is Biggie Biggie, I'm down with Puffy and we cosign Mary. Peace out" (I may've paraphrased the "Real Love" remix just slightly there). I mean, no, it doesn't compete with his sickest Wake Up Show freestyles, but some time was clearly put into the writing and it's got some lyrical integrity. And he sounds good over a smoothed out "Put It In Your Mouth;" he's even got kind of a East coast, Biggie-ish vibe going here. Granted, it's just one verse tucked away on a 4 1/2 minute R&B song, but it's genuinely worth your while and a completely respectable entry in Vooodu's limited canon.

This comes in Street and Clean Video Edits ('cause Vooodu didn't hold back on the cussing just because he was on an R&B single), and has an additional remix called the "Nite Trip - What Is It? Remix." It's produced by a guy named Lumbajack whose specialty is hard house. It's a shame, because what starts out like it's going to be a cool, dark and atmospheric remix that puts Vooodu more in his element is quickly ruined by all the zippy trance synths and clubby drums. It also completely clashes with Elisha's seductive crooning style, ultimately leaving us with just an ugly mess.

So stick with the A-side. But this isn't at all rare or hard to find nowadays, so if you're still a Vooodo fan from the Patchwerk days, it looks like the internet has come through again.

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