Sunday, January 11, 2015

Our First Father MC Of the New Year!

It's the second week of January, and I haven't posted about Father MC yet - what is wrong with me? It's time to correct that right now. And if you'll indulge me, I'd like to start by making something clear.

I don't like, or pretend to like, Father MC ironically. I know we have our fun on this blog; but do you really think I'd have all these Father MC records in my collection if I didn't actually want to hear them? The guy has definitely made some questionable decisions in his music career, and some of his records definitely aren't as strong as others... and I admittedly do find pleasure in tracing many obscure, indie releases of his later output above and beyond the amount I'd enjoy most of them musically on their own. There are a few indie 12"s I would certainly have skipped if the whole process of diving in and collecting wasn't appealing to me. As pleased as I was when I finally found a copy, I don't think I'd recommend "We Got Doe" to anybody, ever. But he would have never gotten on my list in the first place if I didn't sincerely like some of his music, and if you go back to his best records, I don't think you can deny he's both a talented guy: both a capable rapper and with a good ear for music to make some quite enjoyable records.
This particular single really surprised me back in the day. Father MC had just worn out his welcome at Uptown Records in 1994. And usually when rappers were dropped, that was the last you ever heard of them... Especially when you lived in suburban New Jersey and not necessarily hip to independently pressed 12" singles you might come across in the cities. I spotted this 1995 Moja Entertainment cassingle in the malls of central Jersey and snapped it up unheard.
It was also nice to see that Father had added the MC back to his name. Following in the footsteps of Hammer after he'd already been branded a sell-out pop star by removing the most hip-hop part of your name didn't seem like a good look back in the 90s. Nowadays, no one would care. But seeing the MC back suggested maybe he was returning to his hip-hop roots a little.
That doesn't actually come across in this song at all. But what does come across, which was just as if not more welcome, is the gentle, even romantic tone of the song. Father had gone from a guy who rapped about love and directing a lot of his songs to the ladies in the audience, to a pimp character whose last couple singles were about his beeper and 69ing. I wouldn't presume to know which, if either of the two, was closer to the real Tim Brown in his heart of hearts; but it felt a lot at the time like he was changing who he was to follow the clichés, and therefore the dollars, of the industry.
"Hey... How Ya Doin'" is "meant for the brothers who have a special someone in their life who likes to hear when they say, 'hey, how ya doin'?" That's sweet. It's like the nicest song Father had ever done, and it's also a catchy, appealing concept for a popular song. Sure, he wasn't exactly going to win over Necro fans with this material, but it's what a lot of Father's fans were waiting to here.
Unfortunately, the production (by two guys named Fabian Ashe and Mark "I.Q." Adlam) is low budget; so it was never going to really pop even if Moja had the power to compete with the majors. It's a decent, piano-y R&B-style track, with a little bit of that G-funky slide whistle effect. It's got another female singer, credited only as Jodi, belting her heart out on the hook; but she's actually kinda low in the mix because there's a simpler, male part of the chorus which is a lot catchier. But the whole thing sounds pretty generic and is really lacking a strong sample to kick it properly into gear.
This single wound up leading to the album This Is 4 the Players later that year. It's got Radio and Club mixes which are practically indistinguishable, as well as Dub, Instrumental and Acapella Mixes. This was a nice little surprise for Father MC fans - Father brought the goods this time around. But his team didn't have the production power to turn it into a hit, so your average listener will probably just find it kinda boring. I was just happy to see Father back in stores... unironically.

No comments:

Post a Comment