Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The NEW LA Dream Team

So, after The LA Dream Team broke up and Rudy Pardee brought it back as a solo act disguised as a Posse, Rudy and the Team dropped out of the scene again.  But they returned again, after some further retooling, three years later. This time they came out as DTP (not to be confused with Disturbing tha Peace), with some new members. It's a single called "100 Proof (To the Zoom)" on Excello Records, from 1993.

You might assume DTP stands for Dream Team Posse, like their last single... or maybe even Dream Team Productions or something.  But while I'm sure it's not just a coincidence that they have the same initials, apparently it stood for Diverse Thought Process, in honor of their newer, more diverse MCs... a white guy named Frenzy and a reggae rapper named Ragaman-T So unlike the Dream Team Posse record, it's not just Rudy rapping; all three cats are spitting here.

The first, opening track is "100 Proof," featuring DBS (Deep Brown Style) Mob. DBS is a group the Dream Team was going to produce and put out after their own project, but it never happened. So I'm pretty sure this is their only appearance on wax. I have to say, introducing the listeners to a new line-up of MCs with a posse cut featuring a whole other line-up of new MCs is kind of confusing. I had to listen to this a bunch of times just to sort out which verses were by who: who was a Dream Team guy, and which one? Who's one of these DBS cats? Is Rudy on here?

He is, but that's the other thing. Pardee has updated his voice and flow to fit in with the 90s, so his super-distinctive voice and flow is gone. It's a little disappointing, but he actually sounds alright like this, so it works for this record. The production style has also totally entered the 90s: harder, on the outer fringes of gangsta rap. Lyrically, they're weak; it's all substance-less just stringing words together for the sake of it, without even the clever wordplay of your average freestyle rhyme. I mean, none of it's really bad... it's just lyrical filler. But their flows are decent and distinctive; and the production - also by Pardee - is predictable (lots of samples we've heard before) but quite respectable.

Then we have the B-side, "Rockberry (Revisited)," a asequel to the Dream Team's oldest and still biggest hit, "Rockberry Jam." Old school artists making sequels to their classic hits on their comebacks pretty much never works (which doesn't seem to stop them from doing it), but this is actually not bad. It helps if you don't stress comparing it to the original and just take it on its own terms. The hook is almost exactly the same; with a girl doing her best impression of the original to the point where they might as well've just sampled the original. But apart from that, it's very different. The production isn't old school electro at all, it's another gangsta0ish track, including that famous horn riff from "Rump Shaker" and that N2Deep track. It does have a bouncey rhythm, so it's not totally dark or hardcore; but it's definitely inspired by the kind of sounds early Cypress Hill and the like were putting out back then.

There's a little reference to the Dream Team's break-up here... "What was the Dream Team now's DTP.. One minus one means you're funking with the three" [shouldn't that be "two minus one?"],  But for the most part, it's just more breezy freestyling.

So those are the only two songs listed on the cover; but there's actually a third track. It's a skit, just over 90 seconds long. that's, uh.... meant to be light-hearted and amusing, but it's more than a little bit racist against Indians. Anyway, it's really just a jokey ad for their upcoming DTP full-length, Foot Soldiers On Maneuvers. However that album never actually happened, and this is all we have of that project, or this new Dream Team line-up.

And that's actually a disappointment for me. This is no great, slept-on masterpiece I'm telling you guys about here, and it's no wonder this didn't blow up across the nation. Lyrically, it's riding on fumes and nothing here really stands out. The MCs sound like imitators of others who came before, and there's no fresh samples or catchy hook that's gonna get anybody excited. But I gotta say, this is endlessly relistenable. When I first got this, I had this in the car and just kept repeating it after it ended (except for the skit, once was enough for that). Rudy Pardee knew how to make a quality record sound good. And here he shows he could've done so with more styles than just the super old school throwback style he's always been associated with. I don't pine for the artistic loss to the hip-hop community that never got to hear this Frenzy dude or anything. But my biggest complaint about this single is that it feels short at only two songs long. If Foot Soldiers had come out, I would've gotten it, and I would've enjoyed it... which is more than I can say about most hip-hop albums being released today.


  1. I have a demo by Rudy Pardee/D.T.P. that must have come out between the "Bounce" single and this release. It's a full album with lots of shouts out to 91/92. See pics below. It's not the "Foot Soldiers" album, it must be something else. It's dope!



    1. Dope! Very interesting...
      Does it have any other MCs on it, or is it all Rudy going solo?

  2. Yes, it has one other MC, but it's mostly Rudy Pardee rhyming. Fast raps in a Lench Mob style, nothing G-funk inspired.

    Here's where it gets interesting: I found out that a some (but not all) of the song titles are featured on a 1992 tape-only release from L.A. from a group named II S.M.F. called "Death of a Klansman." The liner notes mention nothing about Rudy Pardee or the Dream Team -- maybe he was trying to distance himself?

    Here's a Youtube link to one of the songs: http://youtu.be/GQAL3iVgZM4