Thursday, October 6, 2011

Screwball Week, Day 1: Screwed Up Set Straight, part 1

It's been ages since I've done a "Week," huh? Well, here's one I've been intending to do for a while now: Screwball Week. Now, with all the vinyl Screwball managed to put out, collectively and separately, I could easily do Screwball Month, and with just a bit of stretching, I bet I could pull off Screwball Year. But I'll try to control myself, and keep this to just Screwball Week. heh heh

In 2004, Screwball had two albums in their pocket (not counting all their variant solo and side projects) and were working on their third, the unreleased (and never completed?) Return Of the Hu-Haaa. And since it had been a while since that second album, 2001's Loyalty, Hydra Records put out this interesting, and somewhat confusing, compilation album of their material: Screwed Up.

Screwed Up (mostly) avoids delving into any of the members' solo material, but still manages to be a double album's worth of stuff. It consists of tracks from the past two albums, sort of a Greatest Hits. But two albums can't make up a double album's worth of Greatest Hits on their own (you'd have to include every single song, basically, and then you'd just have a reissue on your hands), so in addition to being a Greatest Hits, it's also a B-sides and rarities collection, where they feature a lot of remixes and songs originally released only as the B-sides to their 12" singles. But, Screwball are still pretty underground, so their market was just heads who probably already had most of those 12" singles, so a necessity for the hardcore fans, they also threw in some unreleased mixes and stuff.

...None of which is distinguished between in the album's liner notes. And what I've read about this album online over the years shows that a lot of people are confused over just what's what on this album, beyond it being "just a bunch of Screwball songs." So, me being me, I've decided to break it down track-by-track, and see what came from where, and what's actually exclusive to Screwed Up. And finally, to answer the question: for the Screwball fan who has everything, is this worth picking up? So, get ready, it's gonna be a long list...

Oh shit, wait, there's an extra complication! The vinyl version of Screwed Up isn't the same as the CD version. The vinyl version is a double LP with sixteen tracks, and the CD is a double disc set with a whopping thirty-four tracks. And even though that means there's eighteen extra tracks on the CD set (trust me, I just took a math course), there's still stuff on the 2LP that isn't on the 2CD! I'm starting to see why people are confused.

Ok, the CD has the most tracks, so let's start there:

Stretch Armstrong / Poet (Intro) - This is new, presumably recorded for this compilation.

Urban Warfare (RMX) - Okay, "Urban Warfare" was on the Y2K album, produced by Mike Heron. This version is also produced by Mike Heron; in fact it's the same beat. So what's so "RMX"'d? It's a vocal remix, with entirely new verses. This is pretty kick-ass; the beat was one of the best on Y2k and it's just as awesome here. And they come just as tight on this version as the other.

Dirt Thugs - From the title, this seems like a brand new song. But it's really "First Blood," their collaboration with Godfather Don from the B-side of "H-O-S-T-Y-L-E" mistitled.

Torture [CD exclusive] - Featuring M.O.P.; this was taken from Loyalty.

Who? - An exclusive song produced by Ayatollah - fire!

That Shit [CD exclusive] - A banger taken from Y2K.

Take It There [CD exclusive] - Also from Y2K.

Guilty - This is from Hostyle's One-Eyed Maniac album. In fact, it was the single.

Seen It All [CD exclusive] - Taken from Y2K.

Loyalty [CD exclusive] - Taken from Loyalty... obviously.

The Blocks [CD exclusive] - Taken from Y2K.

HOSTYLE [CD exclusive] - Taken from Y2K.

Real Niggaz [CD exclusive] - Taken from Loyalty.

Greatest On Earth - This was the B-side to their 2002 single, "What the Deal."

Attn A&R Dept [CD exclusive] - Taken from Y2K.

You Love To Hear the Stories (Pete Rock RMX) [CD exclusive] - Ooh, a new remix of that dope track with MC Shan from Y2K! wait a minute... wasn't that version also produced by Pete Rock? So, I guess he did both versions? No, actually, the original version was produced by Godfather Don and was a 12" only release, but they remixed it for the (Y2K) album. So, really, this is just another direct lift from Y2K.

Be On Your Way [CD exclusive] - Produced by Mike Heron and featuring Fred Fowler from Shango (remember them? From Beat Street?) singing the hook, this is a Screwed Up exclusive.

And that's the end... of CD #1. There's still a-whole-nother CD to go. This is exhausting... I'm sitting here with the CD in my computer and a huge pile of 12"s and LPs over by the record player, running back and forth, figuring out which mixes are exclusive or taken from which release. So I'll take a break here, and return on Day 2 with the second disc, plus the LP's exclusive tracks, and my summation. (Continuation here.)

1 comment:

  1. Thank you, Werner, for this great breakdown of this comp. I learned a lot.