Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Let's Not Wake the Hurricane

So, now that I'm back online following Hurricane Irene, I thought I'd do a post on Hurricane G, because I'm a simple sort of blogger, and basic word associations rule my life. But, looking through my collection, I found out I actually don't have that much Hurricane G (and, let's face it, all DJ Hurricane records are boring), so my selection was limited. I could just find this one cassingle of "Somebody Else," her attempt at a crossover single.

This dropped in 1997 on H.O.L.A. Records, a small label devoted strictly to Latino (the "L" in H.O.L.A. - can you guess the rest?) acts. It's the main single off her limited release, CD-only album, All Woman. I believe she'd already split from the Def Squad at this point (though she did a song with Hit Squadians Das EFX for her album, probably as a final "fuck you"), so she wasn't in the best place career-wise. And this was her bid at a broader audience. She actually put out a couple singles for All Woman, but this is the only one that got mainstream distribution (i.e. you could buy the cassingle in NJ shopping malls when I was a kid). And it wasn't a good look.

First of all, let's examine this cover, shall we? It's a pair of eyes - her eyes, presumably - floating over a wing, some coins, a wooden X... what? This cover must've been made using the free stock images that came with PaintShop 2 or something. What is all that random, monochrome junk? I think there might be part of a model train and some bottle caps on the back. You guys click on that image, blow it up to 100%, and see if you can figure out what it all is.

This song uses a very familiar bassline from an old Jones Girls record you've heard on dozens of records; but this time they go whole hog, using pretty much the whole record including the hook and just making a rap version of it. This bassline works well on an upbeat, freestyle track, but here it feels slow, harder and murky on a poppy relationship track. It's produced by D-Moet, as in "King Sun and _-____," who was mounting a bit of a comeback as an indie producer in the 90's.

But it's not so much that this is a bad track, so much as it was a bad choice. Hurricane G came pretty tight, as a super hardcore, shrill, angry battle rhymer who patterned her sound pretty blatantly on the rest of the Def Squad, and did a damn fine job of it. Check out her single "Underground Lockdown" - she was one of the hardest female rappers out there. Thanks to her cameos on Redman's and Murray's albums, she was building a big buzz and people were curious about her - and this was the single with the distribution push that people would here.

Now, I can understand the logic at work here: get the most mainstream song out to the mainstream audience, and put out the underground gritty stuff on the underground level. Makes sense. Except, since this was her first outing and people were curious but uncertain, they wound up being presented with a really bland, generic song. This is like "Female Rap" taken out of any major label's home-starter kit for soundalike female rappers of the time. People heard this and were like, "oh, this is Hurricane G? I thought she was supposed to be some ill, crazy MC? I guess I must've been confusing her with Roz Noble." And close book, end of the Hurricane G story.

I mean, there are touches of her credibility trying to be hinted at in this song... she curses a lot (rendering the Clean Version confusing and unlistenable). But it's so generic and uninspired. She loves a guy, but he doesn't treat her well enough, so she's gonna go love somebody else. It doesn't even feel sincere, like she's experienced this. It's like she just listened to the song they were sampling and said, "I'll just some curses to those lyrics."

More than that, it doesn't feel quite finished. After her last verse, there's a long instrumental portion where she just ad-libs "ooh. Uh. Yeah. Uh-huh." for a minute or so. It feels like there was meant to be another verse in there and they cut it out at the last minute or something. The story - such as it is - feels incomplete. She loves the guy... he treats her bad... the end. It feels like there should be some sort of "punchline" verse, where she wraps up, telling him she found a new guy who's super awesome, or "ha ha, I'm a lesbian now!" or something, anything. Maybe she did say that and her managers panicked and had the label erase the final verse (lol there's an unusually high degree of speculation going on in this post).

I mean... there's sort of a punchline at the end. She says, "you're gonna make me turn into supe-supe-Supa Bitch!" ...Which would be funny if she sold it. But her delivery is so flat, you don't even realize that's what she's saying unless you're paying dogged attention. It's the kind of line Redman could say (and he almost did, with those Soopaman Lova songs) and make everyone crack up over. But Hurricane just sleepwalks through the whole song, and the beat is like, "shh! let's not wake her."

So, yeah, this is just the cassingle. It's got the useless Clean Version on the A-side, and the LP Version on the flip. The 12" adds an instrumental and acapella, and comes in a sticker cover. Give it a miss. But some of her other singles are worth picking up when you come across 'em cheap.

1 comment:

  1. I always liked Hurricane's flow, ever since Stretch and Bob played those "Milky" Tapes.. The joint she did with Xzibit and spanish Harlem 1 and 2.. All dope.
    But I remember copping this back in the day and listening like... wtf happened?
    Nice post.