Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Before There Was Raw Produce, There Was... Eddie Bone

Raw Produce released their debut 12", "Cycles," in 1995. And we've already looked at the very first record they worked on, 1993's New England Massive EP which they produced on. But there's a record in between those two, and it's actually on a fairly major record label: Tommy Boy Records. Pitch, on his own, produced the first and last single by Eddie Bone in 1994, the self-titled "Eddie Bone."

Now, looking at the name, picture cover and title, you might expect this to be a pretty terrible pop rap song best left forgotten. That's probably why, even though he came out on Tommy Boy, pretty much nobody's ever heard of him. But it's actually pretty interesting.

Eddie Bone is actually from Texas, and he's on some smooth shit, sort of a cross between Q-Tip and the Penthouse Players Clique. This is a two-song 12", and Pitch only produced the first song. The B-side, "Check the Game," is a more traditional gangsta rap track. The girl singing the hook on the A-side is credited, but the Nate Dogg-lite guy who sings this chorus is uncredited. Could it be Eddie Bone himself? I don't think so; but I'm not ruling it out. It's not brilliant, but it's got a pretty cool, light gangsta rap vibe; that'll at least having you nodding along to it.

But of course, we're all here for the A-side, "Eddie Bone." Eddie doesn't come off as well here as he did on the B-side, but Pitch has cooked up a really interesting instrumental for him. It's jazzy and pretty unusual, not exactly like the stuff Raw Produce would later make for themselves, but it hints at it for sure. And I get the logic behind naming an early record after yourself to market yourself. If all the kids are singing "Eddie Bonnne" after having listened to the radio, they know what CD to buy. Makes sense. Ultramagnetic did it, Stetsasonic did it, Public Enemy did it... The problem is it just comes off so silly and corny. Eddie sounds like an executive-crafted rap act (which he probably was) when he says lines like, "this is something for you G's to ride to," but it's the chorus that really kills it. Ramona DeBreaux is the girl unfortunately taxed with the duty to sing "Eddie Bone, ya loves ta' bone" over and over on the chorus. And she freestyles it a bit at the end, but her singing on the main chorus is really flat, like she's just saying it rather than singing it. There's no way heads were going to take this seriously in '94 and give Bone a career.

So, sorry Eddie Bone, that's the breaks. That hook was a real shot to his own foot. But again, the instrumental is pretty lush and groovy. It's got kind of a g-funk slide whistle thing in it, which is a little heavy-handed and I could live without; but it's a pretty great track. And fortunately both instrumentals are provided on this 12", so you can buy this just for Pitch's quality work, sort of like how all the Large Professor collectors still buy that Kid 'N Play 12" about not doing drugs. Pitch's production is really on that level. And if you're in the mood for a light-hearted guilty pleasure, you can play the vocal versions.

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