Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Searchin' for Two From the Def Connection

"Searchin' for Love" is often mistaken for a single taken off of Too Def Connection's classic'92 album, Runnin' With the Lyrics, but it's really not. This single, from 1996 on Too Def Music, is "Searchin' for Love," while the song on Savage Records album is "Searching for Love." And I'm not just being pedantic about the title's grammar, they really are completely different songs.

Oh, you've never heard of the Too Def Connection? Let me back up. Too Def Connection are MC Sav and DJ Kid Cut, an ill duo from Delaware. They're a quintessential example of "random rap," in that they're obscure but their stuff is highly sought after by collectors, mainly for the killer title track to their Runnin' With the Lyrics album, a hyperactive freestyle rampage over a hype beat, with some quick cuts and barely any hook.

But this isn't that. This is one of their love songs, which I realize nobody really goes in for. Don't worry, there's a more appealing B-side, and we'll get to that. But first let's take the lead track.

"Searching for Love" was kind of a sequel to the other love song on Runnin' With the Lyrics, "Love Is Like a Game" - note the opening lines, "Love is like a game, yeah, that's what I told to you. But at the same time, I didn't even know you. I thought you were the one for me... I musta been dreaming, some kinda fantasy." So, the girl from that last song didn't really work out, but he's not gonna let it keep him down, he's gonna keep on searching for love. Both songs feature a vocalist named Theresa Spruel on the hook, and feature Sav in a slow, spoken-style, definitely influenced by legacy of token love songs started by LL's "I Need Love." "Love" features a lot of (actually effective) keyboards, and "Searching for Love" features a deeper, richer sound... I don't recognize it, but I assume it's mainly a soul sample loop.

"Searchin' for Love," on the other hand, is quite different. For one thing, it features two MCs. Sav comes on second, but first is a somebody who's only named in the writing credits, Jerome Cephas (and no, that's not Kid Cut). Jerome's got a gruffer voice, and they're both kicking more of a flow on this one - not to mention completely new lyrics. The instrumental is also quite different, too, with a loop of bells or chimes. The whole thing feels more like a hip-hop song about love rather than those old "love raps" that felt like a whole different genre. The hook this time is sung by Stacy Savage, who I assume is a sister or cousin of MC Sav (real name: Wayne Savage). So really this song has nothing in common with the original except the basic phrase and concept of searching for love.

The B-side is "Lyrical Cypha," and this time Sav is back to flying solo, and it's much more in-line with the kind of hip-hop Too Def collectors are looking for - lyrical freestyling over a stripped down beat. It's got some keyboard stabs on it, but it's mostly just the drums and a little bass. Stacy's on the hook again here, singing a variation of Rick James' "Mary Jane:" "I'm in love with MC Sav, hip-hop is what he brings..." It's definitely not as tight as the best Too Def songs, it's a little more mellow and unfortunately Kid Cut no longer seemed to be involved; but it's pretty cool, Sav still has some rhymes and fans of mid-90's random rap won't be disappointed.

So, all in all, it's not their masterpiece, but worth picking up if you can find it cheap. Or if you already have their other, better stuff, then this certainly at least makes for another interesting piece of the puzzle.

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