Thursday, August 16, 2018

The Compton's Most Wanted Ultramagnetic Diss You Never Knew About

I've gotta share some credit with Marc of Black Pegasus Records for this one.  He asked me recently if I remembered a time Compton's Most Wanted took a shot at The Ultramagnetic MCs, sort of suggesting they were out of touch old school.  And it did sound sort of vaguely familiar... like I could hear MC Eiht saying "Ultramagnetics" in my head, but that was about all I could remember.  He thought it might've been on the remix of their 1991 "Compton's Lyncin'" 12", which was one of the later singles off their second album, Straight Check N 'Em.  It's one of those generic diss songs, where it's going pretty hard but not really directed at anyone in particular.  They're cutting up the Ice Cube line, "last year I was Ruthless, now I'm Lynchin' motherfuckers."  I generally think they peaked with their first album, but they never really fell off, and this was one of the better singles off this album for me.  Especially the remix, which comes with a tighter sample that Special Ed had already used for "Ya Wish Ya Could" the previous year.

Anyway, that was easily checked, but it wasn't there.  I even checked the instrumental, in case there was a little hidden shout out at the end or something.  So then I started listening to other CMW songs from around that period.  "They Still Gafflin'" because it was the B-side to "Compton's Lynchin'," and other more diss-oriented tracks, like "Duck Sick 1 & 2" and even the extended version of "Rhymes Too Fonky."  No dice.  I was starting to wonder if I'd ever actually heard what Marc was talking about, or if I just let him put the idea in my head like some kind of autosuggestion.  So I kinda gave up on it... and then I found it by accident.

So, on that "Compton's Lynchin'" single, besides the remix, instrumental and B-side, is a shorter Radio Mix.  It's a Radio Mix of the remix, meaning it uses the newer remix instrumental rather than the album version.  But the album version and remix both have the same vocals.  The Radio Mix, though, is one of those where instead of bleeping the curses, or cutting to silence, playing them backwards or whatever, Eiht recorded all the vocals over with adjusted cleaner lyrics.  So, you know, "I don't give a fuck," becomes "I don't care jack," etc.  Basically the same rhymes, just with little substitutions.

But I guess one line was too radio unfriendly that a simple, single word change or two would do, and so that felt they had to swap out the whole thing.  Or maybe they were intentionally tucking it away in the Radio Mix to be a little coy.  I couldn't say either way, but the whole song is the same, minus a few phrase swaps, until midway through the second verse.  I was only listening to it because I'd already given up searching and was just letting the record spin while I was on the computer.  Then I heard the lyrics go from, "the motherfucking power after hour.  No air to breath, cause all the suckers we devour," to "with your played out rhymes, you can't forget it, 1970 Ultramagnetics."  It is real!


So, to be clear, the whole song's not an Ultra diss.  Again, the rest of the verses are unchanged from the original version, none of which have any reference to those guys in them.  And I don't even think the line is even meant to be taken as a direct diss at them, per se, though it's definitely insulting to them.  I think the idea is the generic, sucker MCs they've been talking about the whole song are, in this line, being called tired and hackney, like played out Ultramagnetic 70s rap.  Not that Ultra were a thing in the 70s, of course; their first single was in 1986.  That means this line would've come at them even before their second album, when they signed to MCA (Funk Your Head Up was '92).

So it's a little harsh, no doubt, and completely pointed, since he used their name specifically.  But I doubt it was an indication of a serious beef.  Just a fun little shot that makes an otherwise completely skippable radio mix worth checking out even in 2018.

1 comment:

  1. CMW also dissed Tim Dog on "Who's Fuckin' Who?".

    Peace, Smoov

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