Wednesday, August 26, 2009

(MC) Ted Nugent and The Don in '91

"Big 12 Inch" is The Don's second single. Remember The Don? He's essentially a Young MC clone (his flow, his content, his voice... really, if you weren't familiar with him you'd assume you were listening to Young) who came out on RUSH/Columbia, and his first single, "In There" got a lot of MTV rotation in '91. His most notable accomplishment, though, is doing the Livin' Large theme song with Herbie Hancock. He did that, his album (Wake Up the Party) and the two singles all in the same year, and then disappeared. His album was kinda interesting, because though the opening song and singles were produced by studio man Daniel Shulman, giving him some 80's guitar and a lot of slick, pop music sound, the bulk of the album was actually produced by old school DJ Vandy C. You know, the Viper, "Let's Whop?" And he even had two Large Professor beats, so it winds up in completists' crates.

But, anyway, this is that other single that came and went with basically no fanfare. You could tell the studio was no longer behind The Don at this point, but they were still willing to press up one more single... why? Because it features 70's hard rock legend Ted Nugent, that's why!

Huh? God knows what the thinking was here. If Ted Nugent was gonna do his big, "Bring the Noise" style rap/rock collabo, you wouldn't think he'd do it with a virtual unknown act like The Don? Somebody must've owed somebody some favors. And it certainly was a big non-draw fan-wise. Fans of The Nuge didn't want to see him prance around in some ultra-corny pop rap video, and us hip-hop heads were certainly nonplussed by some big-shot 70's rock star slumming around with our worst musical emissaries.

Even the basic concept seems designed to widely miss the mark of any kind of 1991 target audience. The whole song's a pretty basic pun where The Don laments about how the ladies show no interest in him... until he finally whips out his big 12 inch. Oh gosh, The Don has a foot-long porno dick? Maybe he's just in the wrong career! No... he means his 12" vinyl single. Nyuk, nyuk.

But how many middle-class non-urban kids across the nation knew what the Hell a 12" record was in 1991? Maybe, generously, 5%? So, now the two biggest selling points of this song are lost on the people they're trying to sell. Brilliant. But it's not the first big mistake of The Don's very short career... check out the twelve minute long "Super Club Mix" on the B-side of his first single!

So, yeah. That's the song idea. Daniel Shulman lays down a pop track with a nice little bassline and some grinding guitar loops courtesy of Ted Nugent. The Don tells some predictable tales about hot girls ("she had sandy brown hair, and her eyes were green; every ounce was lean and mean with nice amounts to be seen") who won't give him any play (yes, he uses that expression - it was 1991 after all!) until he gives them his record. Susan Campbell provides "sexy female vocals," during the hook, saying things like "oh, it's so big!" like a cheesy phone sex operator. And finally Ted Nugent RAPS! Yes, he's not just here to lay down the guitars but to kick a verse. Not even a quick couple of bars, but a whole damn verse you keep expecting to end, but it doesn't:

"Yo, Don... Hey. It's the Nuge, man.
When in doubt,
You got ta whip it out.
If you're in a pinch,
I've got an extra 12".
And it's a cinch.
When you were still in diapers,
I was training the 12" pipers.
You gotta go with the flow
Of the almighty Gonzo.
You looking for wang-dang, sweet poontang?
Well, what I got right here's the real thang!
The cats were scratchin' for the weekend warrior;
Rock & roll was getting gorier and gorier,
And I romanced the ladies
In the 70's and 80's;
And like a hot Damn Yankee,
The 90's get cranky!
So go ahead and run, son,
'Cause the fun is gettin' done.
Like a cocky little gun
I ain't even begun;
And I'm second to none!
And in case you didn't know,
We've already won!
Ted Nugent and The Don in '91."

And if you've got the titular 12" (or, like me, the maxi-single cassette), you get even more. First of all there's the Instrumental. Ok. But then there's Extended Mix. For the most part it's the same, but it's got a new breakdown, where they repeat some of Susan's lines, as well as some new guitar soloing. But, interestingly, this new stuff isn't by Nugent but by one Andrea Straub. She does a good job matching with Ted's stuff, though. She manages to both make it sound like it's all by Ted, but still really goes for her spotlight... as opposed to Ted's playing, which pretty much just sticks to the basic rhythm and groove. So, it's already the definitive, superior version (for what that's worth)... but at the end of the song, we realize we're in for a special treat: Ted Nugent's verse is even longer! "Like the past, I last and last. Just try to get rid of my rockin' white ass! Yeah..."

Wow... This is the kind of stuff the internet lives to dig up and make fun of, but surprisingly there's not much out there on this one. But this single DID make Ego Trip's second book (not Rap Lists, the Racism one), because apparently there were rumors that Nugent told Russell Simmons during the video shoot, "I'm a bigger nigger then you'll ever be." He admits, "THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT I SAID ... I meant that I've got soul, that I don't resort to fuckin' electronic drumbeats and I listen to James Brown and Wilson Pickett and Sam and Dave - THOSE ARE NIGGERS! THOSE ARE FUCKIN' SPIRITED, GENUINE AFRO-AMERICANS ... BECAUSE THE BLACK GUYS WITH THIS RAP, ELECTRONIC MAKE BELIEVE TALENTLESS MUSIC MAKE ME WANT TO THROW UP! WHERE'S THE SOUL?" Unfortunately that's all the book devotes to the incident/record, but I guess it let's us know pretty definitively that The Nuge doesn't exactly endorse this tune... lol


  1. It almost sounds like you know what you're talking about with this review.... the truth is that THE DON had 5 ALBUMS, and that he came from ERIC B, and RAKIM'S "PAID IN FULL POSSE".... he was equal to KOOL G RAP lyrically, but made into a POP RAPPER because of his AGE, and COMMERCIAL APPEARENCE..... if you check THE DON'S POP ALBUM, you have NEVER HEARD YOUNG MC. say ANYTHING that LYRICALLY IMPRESSES ANYBODY... then listen to THE DON'S ALBUM that had to be written over 3 TIMES to be POP ENOUGH... also, out of the 5 ALBUMS done by him, this was one of his LEAST FAVORITES.... this was NUMBER 3.... check his 2nd ALBUM, or his LAST ALBUM to hear THE REAL DON.......

    1. Okay, where can one check out these albums?

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. let me personally give you some information if you can't RAP or if you can't SING or if you can't produce music then there is no way in the world you can comment on someones skill level a lot of people think because they have two ears and what they call a brain in between that space gives them the right to put other people down let me hear what you can come up with in the studio when you are given a track let me see your talent let the world see your talent since you have so much to comment about

    4. That's just silly. You're saying humans can't identify qualities of sound unless they A) can reproduce them precisely, and B) recorded and distributed their sounds internationally? Other people can't tell when, say, a rhyme is forced or a sample is off beat? You think rappers and singers have exclusive access to that knowledge?

      By that absurd logic, you can't criticize my blog until you've written one for as long as I have. You've violated your own premise.

      What if i said to you, "hey, until you've worked professionally as a music critic for as long as I have, you just have to accept that any and every sentence I write here is patently true and correct, so you have no right to question me." That would be awful, right? I mean, I could never imagine saying something like that to another person. And as a free thinking adult able to make up your own mind, I certainly hope you wouldn't just accept it and stop thinking for yourself. So why do you imagine anyone should accept the same sentiment from you?

      ...Besides, where can we hear a Horace Williams III album? We're all on equal footing here, right? Seriously, this is meant to be a place for civil and thoughtful discussion of hip-hop, so if you're going to keep posting here, let's try to have no more silencing peoples' right to speak and no more pretending to be who we're not. Don, if you want to say you're as good an MC as Kool G Rap, just say "I was equal to KOOL G RAP lyrically," not "he." You're not trying to fool people, are you? Intellectual dishonesty doesn't make anything better for anybody.

      I'd still genuinely like to hear those other albums. I never said The Don was necessarily untalented. The criticisms I expressed seemed to be the same ones The Don owned shared himself in his first comment. The only difference being perhaps the comparison I drew to Young MC... but I wonder if that isn't you just being overly dismissive of Young MC? We could pick a few songs to listen to and break down the similarities (and differences) for a start... but that's only if you're up for a sincere, adult exchange here. Good arguments don't involve ad hominem attacks; so if you disagree with what I've written here, let's hear why without slipping into further attempts to discredit or derail the discourse - just state make your points. You obviously know The Don quite well, so I imagine you have some good insights that could enlighten everyone reading this.

    5. I don't like to argue......
      When I was 17 years old, SLICK RICK introduced me to LYOR COHEN, and I signed my first deal with RAL/DEF JAM for my GANGSTER ALBUM called THE DON with the singles HEAD OF THE MOB, and THE DON. they got out on PIRATE COPY and the ENTIRE CITY was buying the MIX TAPES because an intern at POWER PLAY STUDIOS copied from the MASTER REELS. the same guy copied half of RAKIM'S 2nd album, and got BEAT UP ACCORDINGLY.... "by the way, my first album was under the name MC DAMAGE, until RAKIM changed my name to THE DON when I joined LYNSTARR/PAID IN FULL POSSE. While making the NEW TRACKS for my NEXT LP, THE FRESH PRINCE left RUCH MANAGEMENT, and got SUED by RUSH MANAGEMENT FOR 4 MILLION BUCKS, and RUSSELL said to me: "You're a good looking kid, why don't you stop making GANGSTER ALBUMS (which will only go GOLD, and let me make you into a POP STAR, where you will sell MUCH MORE RECORDS, I made the FRESH PRINCE, so I know how to make ANOTHER ONE"... when RAKIM and FREDDIE FOX, and NAS, and LARGE PROFESSOR found out how much MONEY they were offering me, after a BIG ARGUMENT, CORMEGA, and MASTER ACE told me to give it a shot... TRAGEDY told me HE DIDN'T LIKE ME GOING POP, and CHUCK D never liked it, but I I did it anyway, and it took me writing it over 3 times for it to be SOFT ENOUGH to be called POP...FREDDIE FOX, COOL G. RAP, and I wrote albums for QUITE A FEW RAPPERS together, and when I was STUCK IN LA, I had my DJ "JOE FATAL" do my part in the HIP HOP CLASSIC "LIVE AT THE BARBECUE", So my VERY CLOSE FRIEND AND BRO, NAS wrote his part for him.... the bottom line is, could I have been NAMED "THE DON" by RAKIM, and RESPECTED BY THE GREATEST RAPPERS IN THE WORLD unless I WAS OF LIKE QUALITY AND TALENT?? if you look on the back of my THIRD ALBUM "Wake up the Party" you see ALL MY FRIENDS AND PEOPLE.. I never really liked that album, the 2 before it, and the 2 after it were MUCH BETTER.... if you have resources, find my HEAD OF THE MOB, or my THE DON track, Or my CAN NEVER SAY GOODBYE, from my 2nd LP.. or find RETURN OF THE DON from my 4th album or, THE FORCE THAT BE, and my HIT SINGLE "HOW DO" from my 5th album which was about to be SHIPPED PLATNUM by INTERSCOPE in 1997 but I couldn't get off of my DEF JAM contract fast enough for that to happen... Oh, when I dropped HOW DO, that's when LARGE PROFESSOR, and EVERYONE said IT'S ABOUT TIME WE GOT THE "REAL DON" BACK!" in his interviews... I am now the SPOKES PERSON and BRAND AMBASSADOR for DON Q. RUM, and have been the 4 time GRAND CHAMPION in POETRY SLAMS for YEARS, now, so you will see me as "DON Q." which has been my name for my LAST 2 ALBUMS and since 1993 "as that it my REAL NAME... There's MUCH MORE about the past, but I don't like to go into it... let's focus on the FUTURE....... Thank you for your blog, and I respect your critique, there was just MUCH MORE to the story...