Thursday, July 10, 2014

Bloody Cheerful

You only have to look at the cover to know that "Bloodshed Hua Hoo" by Crustified Dibbs is an oddity. Crustified Dibbs, of course, is the name RA the Rugged Man used when he was briefly signed to Jive in the early 90s (though interestingly, they wrote it up like Crustified was a group and RA was a member... but RA was the only guy).  And although RA leaked a white label of his song with Biggie and low quality dubs of the shelved album, Night Of the Bloody Apes, have circulated widely, this is actually the only record of his they put out.

1994 was the year the brief horrorcore bubble burst, and this single was right on the borderline. You could tell Jive was behind this... Picture cover with a wide release, they made a music video for it, hooked him up with one of the hottest producers of the time, and they even created a promotional comic book set in Suffolk County High School. In fact, the comic book and the music video follow almost the same "plot." Starting out in his special ed class (which was also a skit on the album called "RA Classroom"), RA turns into a monster right out of the 1969 Mexican horror film Night Of the Bloody Apes (which the album takes its title from) and murders just about everyone, leading to a sort of gruesome uprising of his fellow special ed students.And in both the video and comic, the only dialogue is at the very beginning, after which he only raps the lyrics to "Bloodshed Hua Hoo."

But it's interesting that, if you listen to the lyrics, there's actually very little horrorcore about them. It's basically just a lot of cliched hip-hop non-sequiturs strung together in a rambling Ol' Dirty Bastard-inspired flow, "wit da new-eh, style for your crew-eh, and I could just make it get to ya baby, blauuhh (Yo kick that real shit!) Now what was it? Got disgusted, now bust it, ya microphone is rusted, I buh-buh-buh-ba-bum rushed it."  It's also pretty juvenile ("check the floors with the jabber jaws. 'I got a man.' Shut ya mouth and drop your drawers!"). The "Hua Hoo" part of the title is basically just their attempt to spell out his incoherent ODB-like sputtering. He's even prone to briefly breaking out into disjointed song like ODB did, singing the old spiritual "Nobody Knows the Troubles I've Seen" and Positive K's "I Got a Man." Apart from the key word "bloodshed," which he almost refers to as a new dance rather than anything to be scared of. It's actually quite an upbeat number, and there's nothing really horrorcore about this song at all. In fact, you could say that about a lot of the songs on his shelved album ("Every Record Label Sucks Dick" hardly expresses feelings of the dark and supernatural).  A few of his songs do, like "Toolbox Murderer" (also named after an older horror film) or "Bloody Axe," but even then, he drifts pretty far off of it to make cheesy punchlines about "ya moms" and Beverly Hills 90210.

And instrumentally, "Bloodshed" doesn't have a horrorcore feel at all, either. Believe it or not, it's a Trackmasterz joint, with classically 90s New York drums and bass hits, sparse jazz notes and that Lynn Collins/ Rob Base "Yeah!" vocal sample. It sounds like something Lord Finesse should be rocking over, not a shaggy, muttering delinquent character. In fact, a lot of purists would probably feel annoyed that Dibbs ruined a dope instrumental if they'd ever bothered to listen to the song that closely in the first place.

But if you're not that uptight about it, this is a fun, screwball single. Disappointingly, the 12" only features the Clean Version, though. And since the album never came out, that makes the proper LP Version prepare rare, outside of those hissy 8th generation albums dubs. That's why I've also hung onto my cassingle version, which is missing the Clean Version (as if anybody cared), but has the curse-filled uncut original in proper sound quality. On the other hand, the 12" has the Instrumental and Acapella over the tape.

Whichever version you get, though, also features two remixes. The first is the Sunny Balls Mix, which keeps a lot of the original version's production, but puts in a new, deep bassline and a vocal sample singing softly int he background of the entire mix. The original's better overall, but if you're in the mood for a smooth jeep boomer, this one has its place.

Then on the flip, there's "Bloodshed Level 2 (Nigga Niles Crusty Remix)." You'd expect from the way they've titled it that this is a whole new song, or at least a lyrical remix. But no, it's just a second remix of the same vocal song, though it is further removed from the Trackmasterz beat, with a distorted, slightly more appropriate "bloodshed" vibe. Unfortunately, the remixes are only available in clean edits on both the 12" and cassingle. They're both produced by Marc Niles, who joined Jive with RA and stuck around to produce some of the label's other stuff (including Shaq!) during their stay, and continues to work RA sporadically to this day.

But as you can see in Phill Most Chill's Rap Sheet comic above, Crustified was fully adopted into the horrorcore subgenre by the hip-hop culture regardless of the lyrical content of his only released song. And overall, that was probably really good for his career, but it also meant Jive pushed him out the door as soon as word got out that kids didn't think rapping about ghouls 'n' ghosts was as cool as rapping about street gangs. But hopefully everybody at this blog has gotten past following the high school cool/ uncool paradigm, so you just have to decide if you're in the mood for a serious, credible hip-hop 12"... or something silly and gonzo like this.

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