Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A LOUD Misfire

Putting together The Dwellas' second album must've been a very difficult, contentious process. They'd pretty much secured a second album with the sleeper hit "Main Aim" on the Soul In the Hole soundtrack; but then it was a long time for the LP to actually surface. A seriously long time. Soul In the Hole (and the popular white label 12") was 1997. The first single off it came in 1998. The next single was 1999... and still no album. It wasn't until 2000 that the album, The Last Shall Be First, actually dropped.

During that time, there must have been a lot of creative back and forths between the artists, producers and the label. In fact, we know for certain that some changes were made, because this promo version I reviewed of it features an altered track-listing with different songs on it. And I bet there's plenty more songs that were recorded between the two albums still sitting in LOUD Record's vaults.

But what was perhaps most surprising is that even the song selected to be the single didn't actually make the final cut. When have you ever heard of that happening before? But that's what happened. While the B-side, "Stand Up," which was originally the lead single in 1998 (that's right, they released it twice, in '98 and '99), appeared as anticipated, the main track is absent. And that makes this 12" single - which would ordinarily have been just a standard two-tracker of album cuts in a long line of similar 12"s from LOUD Records - a compelling exclusive for Cella Dwellas fans.

I mean, granted, the song didn't make a huge splash. But it wasn't pushed either, so expectations couldn't have been too high, commercially. Considering it's a hardcore, lyric-flexing track with no pop-concept crossover appeal, I suspect this was meant more to make an impression through mix-tape DJs. They'd pick this up and put it on, so heads would get excited about the Dwellas again. You know, considering how long their album had already taken at that point.

So why wasn't it bigger? UG and Phantasm both come nice ("niggas don't get along with us/ niggas scared to get on a song with us/ 'cause niggas' lyrics ain't strong enough"), and while it's not going to be anybody's lifelong favorite song, the beat by Nick Wiz still bangs. I daresay it's better than a number of songs that did make the album, including "Da Ruckus," which was a last minute addition after the promo version. But part of the problem may've been the odd conceit of the title. The hook goes, "it ain't a game no more, son, get the money and run. No more ridin' the Benz, we rockin' to win. Plottin' to end all the gossip, straight hot shit, we rock shit, yo son, launch a rocket." It just sort of feels like a string of buzz words and phrases. Like, what do they even mean by "launch a rocket?" Release a good record, I guess, or a dope verse? A half-hearted spin on "drop a bomb on 'em," probably, but... eh. It's pretty limp. They even kind of swallow that last line. I remember when I first heard it thinking, why'd they call it "Launch a Rocket/" But then, ah yeah, they do say it there at the end.

And I mean, personally, I still would have preferred to see more "scripts & scrolls" type material on the album, since that's the style they invented and perfected, but I'm sure the label was shutting all of that down. So the album was going to be at least partially disappointing to many of us fans no matter what. But removing this was definitely a mistake, just like taking off "BQE" for an inferior Large Professor collaboration, which they wound up making the title track.

Let's face it, I'm a big Cella Dwellas fan, but I'll be the first to concede that LOUD was never going to score a big hit with this album no matter what they did. But it could've done a little better, at least, if they stopped tinkering and throwing bad decisions at it. I mean, just letting it come out in 1998 would've helped sales, I'm sure. In this very song Phantasm says, "took time off to raise my son;" but just sounds like an excuse to me.

But what the heck. We still have this song anyway. The 12" comes in a cool sticker cover and includes both instrumentals. You still have to cop the previous "Stand Up" single to get its Acapella; but for any Dwellas - or more generally Nick Wiz - fans, this is a nice little 12" keeper, that you can scoop up very nice and cheap, because no one ever expected this to have anything unique on it.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Tuff City Priority: Maximum Frustration

These guys are pretty slept on, but if you don't know, Priority One are seriously dope. They were a Tuff City group in 1989, and featured some hot production thanks to one of their members being The 45 King's understudy, Louie Louie a.k.a. Luis Vega. And you had MC Ron Delite, a top notch Flavor Unit (phase 1) MC, plus scratches by their DJ Scratchmaster Smitty B. It just all added up perfectly: classic breaks, rapid fire deliveries... real, pure hip-hop. If you've never heard them, I'll wait here for a second while you go improve your life.

Unfortunately, they only dropped one album (Total Chaos) and one single. You know, Tuff City. They weren't known for giving groups long, prosperous careers. Though, as it was Tuff City, they did also have a few odds and ends tracks that would pop up on the occasional compilation, too. So, when I saw Tuff City was putting out a Priority One record in the same 2008 Ol Skool Flava line as that Lakim Shabazz record I covered recently, well, I was amped for both.

Of course, you might remember me ending that Lakim piece with the phrase "cheap cash-in." Well, here we go again.

Like the Lakim, this has "Rare & Unreleased Old School Hip-Hop" written right on the front cover. Now, the Lakim Shabazz album, you may recall, had far fewer unreleased tracks than the it led you to believe, because many of those tracks were just previously released songs with the titles screwed up. Well, this album doesn't have that problem. No, this album just doesn't have any tracks marked "PU," because none of them are actually unreleased. In fact, the overwhelming majority of this album is just their album, Total Chaos, repressed.

But it's not a 100% repress. It does have two songs from their 12" single.  So okay, you might say, it's just a glorified repress, albeit falsely labeled as a collection of "Rare & Unreleased" tracks? That's not so bad. They were a great album and single. It's still a nice way to pick up the pair cheaply and conveniently, right?

No, it's worse than that; it's infinitely more annoying. See, they didn't just add the 12" songs to the LP. They removed two LP songs to be replaced by the 12" tracks. And the 12" had three songs, which means you're not getting the complete album or even the complete single. Although at least the third 12" track was just an exclusive instrumental, so it's not as big a loss as a full vocal song.

But seriously, any fan of Priority One who gets this is still going to need the buy the original LP. And if they're big fans, they'll still need the 12", too. So this is like totally useless! If this is a compilation, why not throw on their classic "Checkmate You Lose" or Ron Delite's rare songs with Curious George and Corporation of One? Those were all on Tuff City, too, so it's not like Tuff City would've had to incur any additional expense. And then at least it would have been useful as a compilation, letting us get those Priority One songs together without having to track down all those disparate projects. And again, where the hell are the unreleased tracks?

God damn it, Tuff City, could you be any more frustrating? Argh! At least, unlike the Lakim album, this doesn't have any single songs on here you have to buy the whole record for. Everything here is readily available on the original LP and 12". So I can safely recommend saving your money and skipping this silly thing. Again, it doesn't even work as an album repress, because it's incomplete in that regard, too! Mr. Fuchs, what were you thinking? I just want to grab you by the lapels and shake you until a refund drops out of your pockets! I just... I just don't understand.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Final Odd Quarter

You may remember me blogging about a series of 7" records by Buck 65 back in 2011. To celebrate his 20 or so years as a recording artist, he released them as a lead up to his final 20 Odd Years full-length album. Each EP contained some songs from the upcoming album, and also an exclusive song or two. You may also remember that there was originally meant to be four of those vinyl EPs, but due to pressing plant issues and whatever else, we only got three.

...Until 2014, when surprise - 20 Odd Years Vol. 4: Ostranenie has suddenly (and quietly) appeared on his online store along with the others. It actually came out!  Wow.  And it's even got the 2011 copyright printed on the label.

So, one happy fact I can report with this long-awaited final entry is that there are no songs duplicated from the 20 Odd Years LP.  So unlike the other three in the series, all four songs on this 7" are unique to this release. So let's finish up a piece I started in 2011 by looking at the this final EP, song by song.

Volume 4 - Ostranenie:
1) Days Go By (w/ Jenn Grant) - This entry starts out like the others, in that it's heavy on the collaborations, Jenn Grant, who was also featured on all three of the previous Odd Years EPs, starts things off on her own... to the point where you'll be starting to wonder if Buck is actually going to show up at all. He does, of course; but it does feel more like Buck dropping a guest verse on a Jenn Grant song than the other way around. Presumably he made the music, but the vocals are 75% her, with two quick (but good) verses from Buck. It's a slow, folksy number, which is well made if you like that sort of thing. But hip-hop heads like us will probably not find the experience worth the re-listen just for a pair of brief Buck verses.

2) Dolores (w/ Marnie Herald) - Collabo #2 feels a little more hop-hop. I'm not in love with the percussion, but the rest of the instrumental is really strong. Buck and Marnie (whoever that is) sound really good on it, and the balance between the two feels more 50/50, so fans won't feel like they're getting short changed on their Buck 65. Heads would still probably prefer a Marnie-free song instead of this, but unlike "Days Go By," I wouldn't suggest just skipping past it.

3) Joey Bats - Flip it to side 2 and the collaborations are done with; these last two cuts are solo songs. This particular one is a tribute to Jose Bautista, a baseball player for the Toronto Bluejays. Given the subject matter, it comes off as a more casual entry into Buck's oeuvre, the sort of odd and or/end that's appropriate for an obscure, vinyl EP like this. It's got an electro/ rock kind of instrumental with some really high energy that Buck matches in his vocal performance. It winds up being compelling enough to make you care about baseball, at least for the length of the track.

4) Legendary - This is probably the best song on here. It's back on that Talkin' Honky Blues tip and just feels the most like a proper, full Buck 65 song as opposed to the quick novelty a lot of the 20 Odd songs have exhibited. I'm not in love with the hook, but if you roll with the vibe he's setting up, it works. And otherwise it's both the most interesting and fulfilling of the lot. I'd put this one in regular rotation.

So overall, you're not going to find any greatest hits on here, but it's a nice little EP for the serious Buck 65 who's always hungry for new material. "Legendary" is especially worth your time. So collectors should definitely be happy to finally complete the set (I still can't get over the fact that it actually exists now). And even more causal fans might want to just throw this into their cart as a nicely affordable bonus alongside Buck's newest album, Neverlove, which just dropped this week.

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Almighty Arrogant - What's Out There?

The Almighty Arrogant isn't just one of the most exciting, compelling and respected underground rappers from the 90s, he's also one of the most elusive. He's like a cross between Young Zee and Ras Kass: from the west coast but all about a crazy delivery of ill one-liner-packed battle rhymes mixed with some serious, dark ish. And thanks to industry politics, he's managed to release practically no music. I remember, years ago, getting excited over an online discussion because somebody had found an old article (I think it was in Rap Sheet) that mentioned an Arrogant song I'd never heard of: "Fed Up." Well, being the hardcore completist you guys know me to be, I've finally found "Fed Up;" and in this post I'm assembling everything I've been able to find by this guy for you now.

I don't know a whole lot else about him, really. I know he was signed to Perspective Records... so he doesn't just have a lot in common with Young Zee stylistically, but they were label-mates who recorded together. And I *think* he was briefly a member of The Hobo Junction. He was never (unfortunately) featured on any of their albums, but he did appear more than once alongside Saafir, and I have vague memories of a Hobo Junction t-shirt for sale online back in their heyday which listed all the members on the back, including him. It's a fuzzy memory, though, so I won't swear to it.

Oh, and to make matters more confusing, there's another rapper, who I think is from Chicago, named Arrogant. He's got some underground albums (The Misconception, Darwin's Theory) and has been around for a while now, but is a totally different guy.

So what music is actually out there by the real Arrogant? Well, let's start with the most obvious, the vinyl releases, as I break down everything I know of.

Lay Tight (One For the Money) - This is the only official Arrogant record out there. It's a 12" single on Perspective from 1996, taken from the soundtrack to the 90s movie Kazaam... yes, the movie where Shaq played a genie. It's alright, but probably his weakest song, mostly due to gimmicky, bleepy bloopy-sounding beat and R&B vocals, which makes it all the more frustrating that it's his only record. It's the sort of song you'd expect to find on a label run by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, I guess. You can get it on the soundtrack album, but the 12" also includes the instrumental and acapella.

Heavenly, The Hip-Hop Joint - I already did a video about this one.  "Heavenly" was a single by Perspective R&B group Solo, and this was a remix where Perspective showed off their hip-hop line-up by getting Arrogant, Young Zee, Pudgee and Mr. Blaq to take over the song, pretty much removing Solo completely (especially the version where they have Zee sing the hook). Dope stuff.

Handle the Truth - This is a long coveted demo I recently blogged about since Dope Folks Records revived it and released it on wax for the first time this year, as part of Ras Kass's Pre-Soul On Ice Demos EP. Arrogant rhymes with not only Ras Kass, but Saafir and the moody track's producer, Vooodu. Very awesome to finally get this one on wax.

Wake Up Show Free Styles vol 2 - Some of Arrogant's most memorable performances and what turned a lot of us heads into fans back in the days, A virtually unknown Arrogant kills it on a couple freestyle rhymes alongside the industry's best, including one recording which pairs him up with Mykill Myers (who was also amazing on that album).

So that's it for the what's on vinyl and the stuff his fans should already know about.  Now let's get into the rare, unreleased stuff from Perspective Records promo tapes.

Arrogant Wayz - Taken from the Perspective Is Everything '96 sampler tape. I also have it titled as "The Almighty Way" on another tape, called The Perspective Experience Vol. 1, but it's the same song. The sample heavy track has a real hot, blaxploitation feel to it - I want to say Big Daddy Kane rocked over this same loop, but I can't think of the specific song [update 10/14/14: I found it; it's "Lyrical Gymnastics" from Daddy's Home, 1994] - which makes for a nice contrast to Arrogant's nontraditional style. It's topped off with an R&B chorus, which gives the song a big production feel.

Come On - Only a snippet was released, unfortunately, on the Perspective Is Everything '96 tape. It's Arrogant getting busy over a traditional funk break. It's nice to see Arrogant showing such versatility, even over just a handful of scattered tracks. It's got another sung hook, this time by a male group, which lends a cool, old school vibe to it all.

Toxic Urb - Like "Come On," I first found this as a snippet on Perspective Is Everything '96. But, fortunately, it was also released in full on another snippet tape, called Perspective Records '96 College Rap Sampler, so fuck a snippet. It's obvious what this song's about from its title, and Arrogant's vocals might be mixed a little too loud over the instrumental, but otherwise it's a nice, liquidy track and Arrogant is refreshingly free of his battle-mode tendencies here. Heads would have liked his album.

Arrogant Wayz (Remix) - There's another version of "Arrogant Wayz," but it's another one I've only been able to track down as a snippet, from the College Sampler tape. The big difference between this and the original is that it's way more smoothed out. with more of a DJ Quik-like sound, and a slick vocoder hook. In fact, now that I say that, I wouldn't be surprised to learn that they did hire Quik to do this mix. East coast heads may well prefer the original mix, but this is real cool.

Fed Up - Didn't I say I'd tracked down "Fed Up?" Yeah, I've got it in full on The Perspective Experience Vol. 1. When I first heard this tape, I was disappointed because it's got Big Kap screaming over it in typically obnoxious mixtape DJ fashion. But that's only on side A, flip it over and all the same songs repeat, without Kap over them, so you've "Fed Up" in full and unspoiled. It's more of a jazzy, east coast track with Arrogant flipping the kind of raps you'd expect after hearing his freestyles.

Red Rain - I've found one more full Arrogant song on one of these tapes, this time on one called P-Street Sampler from 1995, a little earlier than all the rest (everything else was 1996). This is deeply atmospheric, almost horrorcore, except his lyrics are horror-themed but still on some rap shit, the title referring to "the bloodshed of MCs."

And, because the status of an underground legend not just to me but a lot of heads, the internet has been on a similar quest and turned up a couple more Arrogant songs, which have been posted online, but I'm not entirely sure where they came from (but I would guess another promo tape or two).

Mindstate Hades - Another track in the vein of "Red Rain," with a choice Masta Ace vocal sample for a hook. I liked "Red Rain" better, and lyrically it might be more interesting if all the dark references weren't just the most obvious "I'm killing bad rappers" similes; but it's nice to have some darkness to off-set the other stuff.

Arrogant SOB - Great samples, Arrogant in top arrogant form, and a properly cut up hook. Maybe the punchline style of his writing feels a little dated, but it's still pretty great. I love it.

Universal Travel - Arrogant was so high when he wrote this, you'll get a contact high just listening to it. He talks about floating through space, being bullet proof, and of course other rappers not measuring up to his greatness (you might say he runs that theme into the ground, but his name is Arrogant after all). It's got a terrifically trippy Redman vocal sample for a hook ("I travel the Milky Way and the stars of the Gods!") and I'm sure would've been a fan favorite had it ever come out.

Time To Scheme - You might recognize some of these rhymes from his Wake Up Show freestyle. And that's the only way it sounds like a freestyle rhyme, it feels very low-fi and cheaply produced & recorded. It has a hook and all, so it's not a full song, not just a radio freestyle. But I bet this is from a self-made demo tape or something. But make no mistake, it's almost more impressive for all that. It's a got a real nice, underground vibe, unlike some of the glossier Perspective stuff, hinting that even if he had released his album, he would've still had better stuff hidden away in his vaults.

Real Niggaz - Featuring label-mate Mr. Blaq. I'm not sure the collaboration really flatters either MC; they both feel a little out of their element. It's not as bad as those Too $hort / Def Squad east-should-never-have-met-west deals; but it does come off as a bit of a compromise on both of their parts. On the plus side, though, it does feel like a genuine meeting between two real, credible street artists who've found themselves on a commercial label that doesn't deserve them.

...Plus, "Come On" has also been posted online in full-length form (remember, the version I've located is a snippet only).

So, some of those songs on vinyl (most obviously the freestyles) were probably never meant for Arrogant's album. "Handle the Truth," and "Lay Tight," who knows? But I doubt it. Even "Real Niggaz" sounds like it might be him guesting on a Rufus Blaq project, not the other way around. But if adding together all the songs I've compiled with all the ones you other internet detectives have tracked down, that's probably almost his entire shelved album. One or two tracks might still be missing, but I suspect that's basically it. It would be great to see this on a nice, remastered slab of wax (hint hint, limited labels!), and it would be extra great if we could ever find Arrogant, hear his story and whatever happened to him. You shouldn't be all quiet and shy about your artistic output with a name like Arrogant, after all.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Do 'Em Nazty

When The 2 Live Crew broke up in the early 90s, all the members broke out and released separate projects, basically just making a little side money until they reformed as The New 2 Live Crew soon after. Mr. Mixx started putting out records with his new crew Da Roughneck Posse. Luke of course continued releasing his albums; and he gave Fresh Kid Ice a solo album to keep him happy with the label for another year. And Brother Marquis? He hooked up with DJ Toomp (since everybody was jumping the Luke Records ship, not just The 2 Live Crew) to form the short-lived duo, 2 Nazty.

2 Nazty released one album, Indecent Exposure, on Miami's Attitude Records in 1993. Interestingly, to promote the album, it was heavily billed that this was Brother Marquis "formerly of the 2 Live Crew" and DJ Toomp "formerly of The Poison Clan." It's all even written right on the front of their album cover. I call that interesting, because it was news to me that DJ Toomp was ever "of the Poison Clan." Toomp came up as MC Shy D's DJ, and was on all of his early albums. Now, sure, Toomp produced a little Poison Clan - just like every other in-house producer at Luke Records - but that's sort of like writing, "DJ Premier of Heavy D and The Boyz," just because he produced "Yes Y'all" and "Here Comes the Heavster," isn't it?

Anyway, they actually released several singles off that album. But I picked this one because it has an exclusive remix on the B-side. It's called "Do 'Em Dirty," and it's got Clean, Dirty and Instrumental versions on the A-side, and the same 3 versions of the remix on the flip.

If you couldn't tell from the group name, album title, song title, or their album cover with a model bent over in a thong, 2 Nazty was aiming to play up the dirty-talkin' notoriety of The 2 Live Crew; but this time they've slid over to the sleazy side, away from the 2 Live's happy, party, sex positive vibe. In other words, they're in full on, woman-hating strictly for the streets (read: boys) only mode, "all you bitches are sluts, dick suckin' mutts with fat butts that drive me nuts. And even though I can't trust ya, I guess I got no choice, bitch, but to bust ya. I don't give a fuck about ya, 'cause when you suck my dick, ho, I'ma talk about ya. I rather it be you than it be me; the Brother Marquis is known to do 'em dirty." So, there ya go: the theme of the song, and pretty much their entire catalog, laid bare.

What's more surprising is that Toomp raps, too. You'd expect 2 Nazty to be your typical "He's the DJ, I'm the rapper" set up; but no. They're both the rappers this time. And Toomp comes alright, but Marquis has the better voice and also edges him out slightly in lyrics and flow.

But of course the production credit isn't equally shared; it's all Toomp. And he comes with a nice, understated track that really fits the tougher, more underground 2 Live Crew alternative. This is more gangsta rap than booty shaking music. You know, like Poison Clan's later albums. But with some funky bass that's just catchy enough to pull you in musically. And there's even an unexpected funk guitar solo at the end of the track.

And the remix? Well, it takes out that bassline and replaces it with these higher-pitched sounds, which breaks out into one of those full-blown G-funk slide whistles for the hook. It doesn't sound that great on paper, and it's not amazing on wax either; but there's a quality to the music that you don't hear on most records of its ilk. I'd say they're aiming low (on all fronts), but they're talented enough to raise it a few levels higher than their contemporaries. In other words, it's the kind of record most people who aren't square in these guys' target audience would like to dismiss and be like ah, I'm not into that shit. But if it's playing in the room, they'd have to begrudgingly nod along to the music. It's good and infectious.

Other things to note: there's a second, different solo at the end of the remix, which is also quite cool. Overall, I prefer the original mix; but this remix is different and good enough that you'll want to have both. Also, the clean versions are fun because they've been rewritten, not just edited. So they laid down all new vocals. And there's enough cursing in there that it makes the clean ones substantially different. Even the hook has to be totally reworded.

So, I mean, this is no masterpiece and nobody should be shelling out big bucks for one of these 12"s. But if you've got a pang for the kind of dirty, underground rap nobody makes anymore, this will hit the spot. Just make your impressionable, tumblr-posting youngsters cover their ears first.  8)

Sunday, October 5, 2014

A Wrong Love Song

There were of course rap songs about girls, relationships and love songs before LL Cool J's "I Need Love," but that song definitely triggered an explosion of copycats for years to come. It introduced the token love rap, usually slowed down with sappy non-hip-hop instrumentation and spoken word flows that had to be hiding on every rapper's album somewhere. This one here, however, I'm not sure if LL is responsible for or not. It came out the same year, 1987, but it doesn't fit the style of the token love rap I described at all. It has traditional, B-boy style flows, with distinction efforts to show off intelligent lyrical skills (by 1987 standards), over a pretty fresh, stripped down beat. They do sing on the hook, but you have to expect that from a (Full) Force Organization, love song or not; and if you pay attention to the lyrics, or even just the title, the traditional love song sentiments are amusingly reversed. It's not "oh baby, I so softly and warmly need to be by your side," it's "Ya Cold Wanna Be With Me." It might actually be UTFO's sardonic, antithetical response to Cool Jame's "I Need Love."

These days, "wrong" love songs are almost the norm in hip-hop. With the glorification of pimps, to the the way rappers like Ja Rule consistently devolve into lines like, "Bitch, you know better; we live M.O.B.: money over bitches, murder I.N.C. I got two or three hoes for every V, and I keep 'em drugged up off that ecstasy" in what are ostensibly their love songs with Ashanti. Romance and juvenile, hyper-masculine posturing tend to conflict. But I dare say, back in 1987, especially in the middle of the "I Need Love" shockwaves, a "wrong" love song - that is, a song that at first glance appears to be a straight-forward, sentimental, but then turned out to be expressing just the opposite emotions, playfully mocking our trite expectations - might have still been a little surprising.

Right from the chorus, it sounds sweet and romantic, with, "hey girl, you wanna be with me? Because I need someone to be with, someone to talk to;" but immediately reverses that by presumptuously telling the girl she wants to be with them. Imagine your marriage vows written from that point of view: you're hot for me, babe; and frankly, you're lucky to get me. And that's practically how The Educated Rapper starts his first full verse: "she wants to be with me, and I know this for sure/ I can tell as soon as she walks through the door/ swings and sways and shakes her stuff like Jell-O/ waiting for EMD to say hello." It's the extra confidence of hip-hop injected into the songs of the previous generation.

But then UTFO run way further with it, going completely off the rails. Beyond simply turning the tables on the old cliches, they fly off in their own directions. First they get overtly sexual (and remember, this is 1987, well long before 2 Live Crew and the like started pushing the envelope), with Kangol wryly saying, "well I'm definitely a lover/ Hard when I'm undercover/ I'll do kinky things to you if you swear not to tell your mother." And EMD immediately raises the stakes even further, "I want a girl with action/ Control like Janet Jackson/ I hate the dark; I want the light so I can see reaction/ Against all relaxin', prepare for steady waxin'/ When you leave, you must pay E. For what? Satisfaction." Again, gangster rap may have taken the outrageous edge off a line like that, but you've gotta imagine a more innocent rap age.

But I don't mean to say the song was shocking. All of this is well post-Blowfly, after all. It's more... playfully subversive. Parents would just see their kids watching a nice video of the fellas doing synchronized dance moves on the waterfront talking about being "in search of love." Meanwhile, we'd be memorizing lines like, "she only talks the talk, never walks the walk/ She must be the most hard up in all New York." Unfortunately, I think a lot of heads have dismissed this as just another run-of-the-mill rap love song, but how can you not get a kick out of Doctor Ice saying his heart desperately longs for someone "like Chi Chi Williams on The Eyewitness News?" Hell, at one point he even admits, "I feel like punchin' her dead in the grill, but that's ill; so Doc just chills." What? Even Ja Rule wouldn't say that! Plus, the way they introduce old school harmonizing into their rhymes or let the DJ have a hardcore breakdown at the end? It's really what UTFO did best: applying their personalities to make an ordinary song a little unique and a lot more fun.

And trust these guys to sneak a little extra fun onto the 12". You've got the main vocal version, a radio edit and another cut from their Lethal album, "Diss," as the B-side. And there's the Rare Dub: a stripped down version of the main song, with a lot of the vocals almost acapella, recited only over the sparse drums and the rest of the instrumentation cutting in and out. It's kind of a cool alternative if you've played out the main version. But don't lift the needle yet, because there's a short, uncredited hidden track at the very end. It's a lyrical remix, with Mixmaster Ice grabbing the mic and going for self. He's right on message with the rest of the guys, asking girls if they "wanna live with me, or live off of me," throwing in a reference to his Zodiac sign and saying how, like the true DJ he is, "there's been many a day that I've been wantin' to date you/ put you on my Technic and rotate you."

This song isn't for everybody; but for a few of us, it's a shared secret that can still make us smile nearly 30 years later.