Monday, June 23, 2014
Crazy L'eggs, Not Crazy Legs
Right off the bat, let's be clear. Crazy L'eggs is no relation to the hip-hop icon Crazy Legs, of the original Rocksteady Crew break dancers. Crazy L'eggs (named after the brand of pantyhose) is best known for making a club record out of the kindergarten song, "If You're Happy and You Know It" ...which stayed surprisingly true to the original.
Crazy L'eggs is one of those rappers who didn't rap. Like Luke. His earliest singles featured Aim To Please, who did his rapping for him. But his later releases did away with rapping entirely and just relied on L'eggs doing a bunch of shouty hooks. And also like Luke, he didn't do his own production either; which always had me wondering why a label had signed him to make records in the first place. I guess he was a local DJ or something with a name to cash in on?
Anyway, this particular single is "Doin' His Own Thang" from 1993 on Pandisc Records. Pandisc picked him up after he did the admittedly distinctive hook to a successful Prince Rahiem song ("Loose My Money"), and put out all his records through the early 90s. He only released a handful in his full career, actually; and he never had a full length album, though Pandisc would sometimes sneak out more unreleased Crazy L'eggs songs on random compilation albums which were probably intended for an an unheard LP.
You generally don't see his picture on his 12"s or anything (the sticker cover to this one doesn't include his image, just the same blue background), so my cassette picture cover is interesting in that regard. It's produced by Devastator X, who of course had a hefty career in Miami bass, and so this has a very heavy instrumental. If you've heard both, you might've noticed that parts of it are actually pretty similar to 1994's "Happy and You Know It," which X also produced; and which featured several identical musical elements. In fact that's because "Happy and You Know It" actually recycles this instrumental completely - it's the same track, only with the children's song chanted over it in place of some of the original chants. In fact, some pressings of "Happy" included "Doin'" on the flipside. But between the two, this is the one I have to go with, if only because it's impossible to listen to "Happy and You Know It" without feeling like a huge goofball. But even if you put that factor aside and unselfconsciously rock out to either song, I think I'd still say L'eggs sounds better on this one.
The instrumental is ever-changing and replete with dope sounds and samples. I brought this up as an average record, but instrumentally it's actually better than average. But with no rap verses, the beat had better change up a lot; because otherwise it's nothing but a litany of unending and completely generic bass music phrases for the full duration: "whatcha wanna do? Ride it! Whatcha wanna do? Ride it! Whatcha wanna do? Ride it! Whatcha wanna do? Ride it! Whatcha wanna do? Ride it! Whatcha wanna do? Ride it! Yeahhh! To where? In the middle! To where? In the middle! To where? In the middle! To where? In the middle! To the flo', let's go! To the what? To the flo'! To the what? To the flo'! To the what? To the flo'! To the what? To the flo'! To the what? To the flo'! To the what? To the flo'! One more time, let's do it! Whatcha wanna do? Ride it! Whatcha wanna do? Ride it! Whatcha wanna do? Ride it! Whatcha wanna do? Ride it!"
Now, don't just skip that highlighted bit. Read it carefully. That's a literal transcription of just thirty seconds of this five minute song. And it just goes on like that. When he said, "one more time," I just thought oh no, please! I understand that this was meant to be played in clubs where you can just rock out to the instrumental; and I'm sure everyone who actually enjoyed this song in 1993 probably just tuned this guy out. But it's fucking tedious to actually listen to; and what does it say about a MC whose music is best enjoyed by tuning him out?
It turned out, Crazy L'eggs really needed Aim To Please. Or any MC or singer who could carry the vocal portion of a record. Oh, and a solid, established producer to make his instrumentals. When he had that combination, his records worked, and when he only had one or the other, they only half-worked, as in this case. So it's obvious why L'eggs needed those guys, but the question is, why would any of them need him?