Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Somewhere in season 2 of her show, Sarah Silverman praises the mysterious man who invented the phrase, "boo-yaa" because it's such a great expression. Of course, to hip-hop heads, there's no mystery. A group of wild, ex-gang members then known as the Blue City Crew coined the phrase based on the sound of a shotgun firing. And thus the Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E. (Too Rough International Boo-Yaa Empire) was born, a crew with as much kinetic force as the sound they immortalized.

Unfortunately, over the course of, like... six, seven albums, they've never really had the production that matched the crew. There were a few highlights... "RAID" had a great hook and "Walk the Line" had a fun disco-y vibe. Actually, I always thought an overlooked song they contributed to the White Man Can't Jump soundtrack, "Area Code 213," best showcased the kind of music they were truly capable of, but they never really made another song quite like it.

So, when you've got a dope crew whose production is a little dull, who would be your first choice to call? Prince Paul? Yeah! And they did. Yay!

"Psyko Funk" was already one of the better album cuts - a light-hearted story about how they went to prison for taking the mic from a wack DJ at a party, with a funky bassline, some lively horns and a catchy Little Richard sample being cut up on the hook. But the Remix by Prince Paul immediately trumps it. It's not one of Paul's most ambitious remixes... it uses a tried and true bassline for the body of the song (the one from "Albee Square Mall," etc) with some hyper percussion, and he leaves in the horns and cutting from the original hook on his mix. But there's no denying it works; the new rhythm entwines and flows with Boo-Yaa's surprisingly smooth flow on this one. He may not've re-invented the wheel, but it's pure Prince Paul good times.

So, this 12" comes with the original LP Version, the Remix, the Instrumental Remix and the... Nomad Re-Touch Version?

Yeah, there's one more remix on here, the token international remix, in this case produced by the Scottish group Nomad Soul. Now, most people probably dismiss this as some corny club junk, but I actually like this one, too. It's super heavy on synths... from constant, smooth vibe tones played throughout the whole song to fake, low-fi keyboard horns - think "The Ruler's Back." But just like "The Ruler's Back," the cheesiness actually adds to the appeal in a strange way... I mean, it's already goofy song with lines like, "I'm not a Doobie Brother, but I do be hittin'," so it's not like they're making some serious transgression here.

But regardless of what side of the fence you fall on regarding the Nomad Re-Touch, the Prince Paul version is a guaranteed sure shot. Plus, come on, you've gotta have at least one Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E. record in your collection. After all, to quote Ms. Silverman, "without boo-yaa, I'd be saying hurray or yippee or something."

1 comment:

  1. Nice post. My buddies and I used to call ourselves the "Boo-Yaa Boys" because we loved these guys, and overused the term Boo-Yaa of course.