Thursday, February 18, 2010

Doug E. Fresh 2000, part 2: Yawn

So, in the summer of 2008, I blogged about how Doug E. Fresh made an under-publicized comeback in 2000, releasing two rare white label 12"s I discovered from that year. Well, it turns out I'd underestimated that comeback - I've found two more! There's no dates on these, so I can't say with any certainty that they came out precisely in the year 2000. But they seem to've come out at roughly the same time - heck one is a remix 12" of one of the records I reviewed last time, so they must've come out pretty close to each other.

That remix 12" is "He's Comin (Mayham Party Mix (Special Edition)." Like "He's Coming (Party Rocker Vocal)," this is a live recording... of the same performance... over all the same beats. So the difference is... he's performing it in front of a different crowd? Except, it's not even that. I bust out my first 12" of "He's Coming" and it's exactly the same recording, with the same crowd responses. So there is absolutely, 0% difference between the Mayham Party Mix and the Party Rocker Mix. That's a bit of a rip, huh?

Then, like you'd expect, the instrumental for both is exactly the same, too. Well, at least this "Special Edition" 12" comes with a "Beat Box Bonus," right? No, that's on printed on the label, but it doesn't actually appear here! I think it was intended to be, but the pressing was screwed up, because actually, there's a short, unlabeled track on this 12" with a few beeps and tones and a guy saying, "this is the instrumental mix, mix two." Clearly that was meant to be left off the final recording, but instead they left that on and chopped off the Beat Box Bonus. Jeez!

Still, at least this 12" has a B-side, so let's check that out. There's two more songs here called "The Show" and... "La Di Da Di." Waitasec; these aren't new at all. These aren't even live performances or anything - they're exactly the same tracks as pressed on Reality Records in 1985. They've even included "The Show (Instrumental)" from that 12". Well, ok. So this is really just a combo of two pre-existing Doug E Fresh 12"s merged together. I guess that's handy if you didn't already own "He's Coming" and "The Show;" you could buy this 12" and save a little money. I guess that's what they meant by "Special Edition." Ok.

That's a little disappointing, but I'm not phased. I've still got this fourth white label 12", "Who Run This." And it features old school legends Busy Bee and Luv Bug Starski - yeah, now we're talkin'! This is an all-new studio recorded track (as opposed to a live performance). It's a lot like "He's Coming" though, in the sense that they're basically just doing various shout and call responses ("Do the ladies run this?" etc). But it's all over just one, original beat... a boring, lifeless beat. And Starski and Busy Bee just sound kinda tired, randomly ad-libbing for a minute or two. Curiously, Busy Bee does all of his shout-outs and stuff from the end of his 1992 song, "Busy Bee's Block Party" ...right down to thanking us for giving him his block party. Huh? That's weird.

So yeah, nobody raps. The beat is weak. The shout and calls sound somnambulistic. Sorry, guys, but this joint sucks. ...Not that it seems like anybody on this record cared if it would be any good or not in the first place, so I'm not sure why I'm apologizing for that remark. It makes you appreciate why he records these shout and call tracks live, though. I mean, this song would've sucked either way, but at least a live audience infuses the proceedings with a little more energy.

Well, now my enthusiasm's thoroughly sapped... I don't even feel like flipping this over to check out the B-side to this one. But I will. It's "Where's the Party At?" If that title sounds familiar, that's because he had a song called "Where's da Party At?" on his 1995 album, Play. There was a video for it and everything. And this is it. Yeah, just like he threw "The Show" on the back of "He's Comin'," he's thrown "Where's da Party At?" on the back of "Who Run This." Again, there's no difference... this isn't a live recording or anything. It's just the same songs repressed. He includes the instrumental here as well, which was also included on the 1995 Gee Street single. Meh.

So all in all, this was pretty disappointing. There was actually only one new song across these 12"s (not even an alternate mix), and that song was half-assed and lifeless. If you're a hardcore completist collector, then I'm glad to let you guys know these records are out there. But otherwise, guys, do like Dionne and walk on by. No wonder these 12"s were so obscure.

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