Thursday, July 24, 2014

Formerly Krushin' Gangstaz

Some time ago, I talked about the Krushin' MCs, a.k.a. the KMC Kru's, rare, indie 12" debut "The Way We Krush." Today I thought I'd flip it and look at their sorta rare, indie final 12", "Bob Ya Head." "The Way We Krush" dropped in 1986, after which they signed to Macola for an album and then Curb Records for the bulk of their career. But for their final album, and this 12" single, they came back one more time after separating from Curb on their own label, KMC Records.

For this final album, the line-up has changed considerably. For their brief time on Macola, they had a member named Stevie D.; but for the majority of their career, and certainly for their biggest, most widely distributed records, the Kru consisted of primarily two members (Sir Klank seemed to stick around in the background, perhaps as a dancer): Wonder T and The Butcher. But along with the split with Curb, the Kru lost their excellent DJ, The Butcher, and presumably as a consequence, their sound changed dramatically on their final album. It became all syrupy and west coast gangsta-y, very much inspired by the trends of the times. And a new member was brought in, Cat Man, who hit every single one of those gangsta notes as an MC. The album was called A.K.A. I.G., meaning also known as intelligent gangstas; and it's by and large their worst album.

Fortunately, they selected one of only two songs (the other being "Young and the Rhymeless") I'd really consider good and up to par with their previous albums as the one and only single. It's called "Bob Ya Head," isn't trying to be gangsta at all, and doesn't even feature Cat Man. If it just had some nice scratches by The Butcher, I'd assume it was a carry-over from their past times. But KMC have always been big on showing off their versatility and displaying their mastery of a wide variety of styles, so I trust this was just them showing they could still do something more purely hip-hop.

This is a really fun, cool track which makes great use of "UFO" and a super catchy bassline.
It hasn't aged the greatest, though. Sarge is kicking a very early-90s sounding punchline style that will just sound super corny to today's listeners. But older heads who lived through the 90s should be able to listen to past the corniness of lines like "Little Miss Muffet sat on her tuffet, but when she heard the sound, she had to get up off it" just by virtue of being used to that crap. And if you can, it's a really tough but high energy track, and T's voice sounds as deep and smooth as ever. The production is just credited to IG, which I guess means the I.G.s - meaning T and/or Cat - made the beat themselves.

The nice thing about this 12" is that it also has an exclusive remix by Mark Wilson, who's been producing for KMC since day 1. It's labeled as the Club Mix; but it doesn't sound particularly club-oriented. It keeps a lot of elements from the original version, including the "UFO" screeches, but swaps out the bassline for a new lighter but equally funky one. It doesn't fit the track quite as well; it sounds like he had this great sample and wanted to use it somewhere, even if it wasn't the most natural fit here. Sorta like Pete Rock's "Shut 'Em Down" remix. It's a great loop, but sounds weird under that PE acapella. But for an alternative version to bob ya head to when you've played the original version out, it's pretty nice.

This 12" also includes both instrumentals, and since KMC ended for good after this, it's good to get this one last record from them. With Cat Man benched, it's like T's last goodbye to us all. It's dated and a bit corny... hell, they've always been a bit corny. So any Krushin' fan who's able to get past that should enjoy this record immensely. It's a lot less disappointing than the album as a whole turned out to be.

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