Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Royal Renegades Week, Day 3 - Madness Comes Back

The same year MC Boo made his Ocean Records come-back, MC Madness made his solo debut on Ocean: Come Get This $ Honey. T. Isaam is on-hand as well, as executive producer and kicking a guest verse, marking his last appearance on record ever. There are a couple other guest MCs here as well: MD, producer Shake G and his new DJ, Domain. It probably would've made more sense to for Madness to add the "And the Crew" surname to his album than MC Boo, since he has a whole, visible team here; but I guess Boo's name rhymed.

So, how is it? Not bad. Like with Boo, the production lacks the touch of Magic, but there's still some pretty solid, hard, hip-hop tracks. And while Madness was never a brilliant lyricist, he has a strong, lively presence that definitely elevates this several notches above Back To Bass-ics. It's just more enjoyable.  It certainly helps that half the tracks aren't instrumentals. I was a bit more impressed by DJ Ray Swift (perhaps partially because he was tasked with making more out of less), but Domain's additions are definitely a welcome enhancement.

The single for this one was "Booty Wave," which is a pretty typical "make ya booty wave" kinda dance track, but it's got an interesting sitar sample, a pretty full track, and Madness's energy is able to sell these kinds of songs a lot better than most. The best part, though, is easily the DJ breakdown, and a guest verse by MD, who has a much higher voice, adding some contrast. Even if you don't like these kinds of songs, you'd have to admit a lot of time was clearly put into making this one better than the average. In general, that might be what sets it apart the most from MC Boo - whereas it felt like he made a few decent songs and then called in sick to work for the rest of the album, it feels like the people making this album really cared.

The B-side to the single is also on-hand here (the 12" only offers clean and dirty mixes of the two album tracks, nothing notably exclusive): "Don't Touch Them Dirty Hoe's" (or "...Dirty Hoe's" as it's interestingly titled on the album artwork). Again, it's like the A-side, very energetic and catchy. It's got some great horns and another guest verse, this time by T. Isaam.

So, they picked two really solid, well-made dance tracks for the single, but heads today will surely prefer the harder, more traditionally hip-hop tracks. "As I Come Back" is the album's opener where Madness aggressively reclaims the mic, and "Buckin' Shots" has a surprisingly indie Philly kinda vibe to it. A definite highlight is the posse cut, "Blakk i Klan Jam" (I think the Blakk i Klan stuff was T Isaam's thing), which features some tight production, again very un-Miami. Yeah, the prerequisite Planet Patrol samples are on hand for some songs, like the title track, but they're still done well, while other tracks, like ""Nuff To Go Round" don't give away their Miami origins at all. If there's one flaw to this album, it's perhaps that he spreads himself too thin trying to cover all the bases... there's songs with west coast vibes, R&B hooks... everything that was popping off in '93. But most of it works, at least enough to pass. The CD version also features a bonus track, "Gut Patrol," which is another successful dance track with a really effective piano loop.

Now, you remember on Day 1, when I mentioned that Madness had a line calling out Magic on the opening track? Well, that's true and all. but it barely registers compared to the song "Final Words" that appears after the album's closing shout outs.

He chooses a surprisingly low-key, smooth track and a very simple delivery... like he wasn't going to come out all super hardcore "Fuck Compton" style, but didn't want anyone to miss a single syllable of what he had to say. He lays out his grievances and why he split from Cheetah and Magic, and also gets homophobic on a level only topped by G Rap's "Truly Yours:"

"'89 is when the episode started off;
I had a book full of rhymes ready to set shit off.
Looking for a chance at a record deal and
Drop a hit of fly shit and make a killin'.
I hooked up with the punk named Magic Mike;
He said, 'it\'s a new label, and shit is gonna be right.'
So I signed on the dotted line,

Not knowin' at the time that he was gazin' at my behind.
He and his partner was slime, Tom Reich,
Suckin' each other's dicks late at night.
Our first hit was 'Drop the Bass,' shit was kinda fly;
But I started havin' to ask the question: why
Wasn't I gettin' paid,
When their pockets were blowin' up like in them were hand grenades?
Was I gettin' swindled, played like a sucker
By a punk motherfucker who said, 'I love you like a brother?'
What the fuck has love got to do with this?
Come with my flow or I'm takin' it to your shit;
And that's the way it's gotta be.
You better check your bitch if you're lookin' for some pussy.
And I don't even know why you go that route,
'Cause you know you want a dick to rip that asshole out.
Perpetratin' like a man, but you ain't foolin' me,
'Cause in your heart, you're an F-A-G.
You just had a son and that makes me sad,
'Cause yo sweet ass don't make no decent dad.
I hope you don't make him a punk, too.
Is that what ya gonna do, you fuck nigga you?
Yeah, the court case is over, got my cash in stacks,
And I put your life on contract."

And that's just the first verse!  Domain's got some nice cuts for the hook, and Madness comes back, with lines for half the Royal Posse, "Infinite J and Daddy Rae, ya both gay. Smooth J Smooth, ya blood is gonna ooze. Do you get used to the smell of shit when you brown nose? Mike dissed yo' ass on 'Ain't No Doubt About It,' need I say more? [there's a skit on that album called "The Boo Boo of Rough J. Rough" where they call him "that Orlando rappin' sucker who made one 12" and is now history"] But enough about those sidekicks that ain't shit, they won't add up to a hill of beans in a conflict." And the voice they use for whenever Mike speaks would make Michael Jackson sound threatening. It's a ruthless diss that even delves well into low-blow territory, telling the world his side of the story regardless of who wanted him to remain silent.

His last line is, "you know Madness had to have final words." But you know Royalty had to respond...

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