Saturday, March 24, 2007

The REAL Weekend Warrior

After releasing a series of really dope, indie 12"s ("...And I Rock," "Turn tha Party Out," "It's da Biz," and "Something For the People"), heads' anticipation for the Diabolical's full-length comeback was really high - high enough to wait the incredibly long amount of time (we're talking years and years) since Remember Me? was first announced in the back pages of The Source).

Finally, in 2003, Tommy Boy managed to push Biz Markie's fifth LP, Weekend Warrior, out into the stores. And, man was it a disappointment. I mean, for the really desperate (read: all of us) Biz fans, there were elements to pick out and enjoy. The first single, "Tear Sh_t Up" with DJ Jazzy Jeff was pretty hot, and "Chinese Food," produced by J-Zone, was a good song. But the bulk of the generic production, primarily handled by, umm... no one I'd ever heard of before, unappealing guest spots by Elephant Man, P. Diddy and Erick Sermon (actually, he came off kinda OK), and god awful, song-ruining hooks, often sung by some cat named Lil' Kal, really makes panning for the gold a chore.

But the secret turned out to be the bonus "Promo Exclusive" disc that came free with the CD when you ordered it from a site called Rap and Soul Mail Order online. It's a whole 'nother full length album (13 tracks with no skits); and it's soooo much better!

I think I remember reading (though I can't find it now to confirm, so it's possible I made this up in my subconscious... but it certainly sounds true) that this is essentially the album Biz wanted to release; but it's loaded with samples Tommy Boy couldn't or wouldn't clear. So, instead they got a bunch of their in-studio producers (though, to be fair, they did spring for The 45 King on one song... and it's a dope track. Too bad about that horrible, horrible chorus) to make cheap beats, and you all know the results.

This album is full of samples, some fairly familiar; but that definitely doesn't detract from the appeal. In fact, probably the best track on this LP (though it's really hard to pick), features the Biz ripping it over Cheryl Lynn's "Got To Be Real" - I mean, come on... just TRY not to enjoy that cut. And you've gotta check "Imma Do It" and hear how he flips the Austin Powers soundtrack into a fat hip-hop track, the perfect match for Markie's style. Basically every track on here is at least as good as the very best moments of the retail CD.

There's only two missteps on this album, really. First and mainly are the three alternate remixes of songs featured on the commercial release. While it's cool to have them just for the sake of completion (and, hell, the whole thing was free after all), I don't know if we really need a version of "Tear S**t Up" without Jeff's scratches... his scratches are the best part! And "Games" and "Let Me See You Bounce" both just rate "eh" no matter which version you spin.

The second is the fact that one song: "Dance Party Scream and Shout," fades out after a minute and a half, mid-verse! I guess something went wrong with the recording, the second half of the master is screwed up, or something. If that's the case, it's cool that they included it anyway. If they just screwed up, then that's pretty sorry as. But yeah. It's not a whole song in any case.

But these two drawbacks don't keep it from being a HELL of a lot better than the commercial version of Weekend Warrior, and basically being the fifth Biz album we all wanted. And the good news is that still has this available, free with purchase of the official Weekend Warrior CD.

(P.s. - Sorry it's been so long since my last update... my harddrive died on me. Had to go to a "data recovery" place and get it replaced. Ugh. Fun fun.)

1 comment:

  1. Sorry if you're already aware of this, but there is also a more "official" promo floating around, that has four (I think) exclusive tracks on it that don't appear on the promo version above, or the official release. That version comes in a cardboard sleeve and has the same cover as the official release. None of the song sound properly mastered, and might be considered as for 'Biz completists', but still worth checking out. The songs are called 'Used To Be Da Man', 'Look Good To Me', 'Dime Pieces' and 'OG Ride'. Dime Pieces is probably the best of the four and would've fit in well on the Rap and Soul Promo version, with the pretty obvious sample 'n' all.