Wednesday, January 6, 2016

What Was Glasshouse Entertainment? Learn Along With Werner, part 8

Man, I would never have believed, that in 2015/16, I'd still be discovering Father MC records I'd never heard of before. But here we are. Granted, this is really more of a guest spot than a Father MC record proper. But still, I'm excited! This record is called, erm, "Glass On 'Em" by some guys named Suicide?

I've actually heard of these guys before, though I wasn't sure they were the same until I read the label credits and saw that the song was written by Splack 'Em and Shorty Pimp. Remember, Father moved to Florida in the late 90s, which is why he was on Luke Records for a minute. So it makes sense that these guys would have some corny Miami-style names. Suicide had an album in 1998 called Suicidal Days. It got on my radar because a couple of their tracks had production by Southern heavy-hitters Mike Fresh and DJ Spin, and Society even did their art design. They had a single called "Off the Chain." All of this was before "Glass On 'Em."

Suicide was originally a 3-man crew, and here's where things get a little confusing. So yeah, on their first album, it's three guys Earnest Jackson Jr. a.k.a. Mr. Shorty Pimp, Matthew Houston a.k.a. Splack 'Em and Rodrick Clayton a.k.a. Mr. Houston. That's right, there's a guy in the group whose rap name is Mr. Houston and a guy in the group whose real name is Mr. Houston, but they're different guys. You might be thinking, Werner, you've clearly just got it wrong, but here's how it's written on one of their own records:
Why isn't Matthew Houston Mr. Houston??

So, okay, it was three guys. But apparently things went South. On this song, "Glass On 'Em," which came out in '99, they make a couple references to their past, saying, "some of y'all people know us from the past. We was 'Off the Chain,' now we on Glass." That's referencing Glasshouse Entertainment, the label they apparently at least thought they were on. It's credited on the label here, but this is also clearly another Echo International/ Dancefloor Distribution 12" from NJ, which makes sense, as Father MC apparently has some major ties to them and has put out a couple records on them. They also say, "'the Chain' popped, and now we on the Glass, I was mad at my past, but now we're countin' cash." So I guess the whole deal with their original label went South, Mr. Houston split from the group, and now their Glasshouse was their new movement. But it only lasted for this one song, which wound up getting released by Echo, so I guess that bird didn't fly.

Suicide did do more in 2000. They had a single called "Big Doe," again just the two of them. They had a remix featuring Luke himself, and even advertised a second album, also to be titled Big Doe. But that didn't seem to materialize, and I think that was the end for them.

But how is THIS record? It's okay. The production isn't a Miami bass dance kinda track, it's more of an east coast half hardcore half club (think the kind of club music NY was making in 2000). It's produced by some guys called The Landmark Entertainment Committee, which doesn't sound too promising, but it's actually a decent, well-made track. And I've actually come across these Landmark cats before on one of those unreleased Verb tracks. Nothing exceptional or anything you'd want to run out and buy, but it's respectable. There's a little extra drum line which kicks in once in a while that I kinda like.

And lyrically, it's all over the place. Sometimes they're catching you up in their career like I was talking about before. Sometimes they're rapping about being in a strip club ("I got my lappy lappy; now I'm happy happy"), and mostly they're just rapping about having money ("now that I can buy a Jag, now that I can buy a crib"). What glass means in this song kinda shifts around... obviously at some point it's their label, but mostly I think it's just an alternative term for bling to them. But then the hook goes, "we finally got the glass on 'em, ah-ah-ah-ass on 'em, finally got the glass on 'em, do 'em how we want 'em!" Also at one point one of them says, "drunk as hell, you should've seen me off the glass." So you know, I guess them flipping the word around in different ways is part of the fun they're having, but they don't take it far enough to really get you into the spirit of the thing. You don't even realize that's what they're doing until you sit down like I did and say, okay, these lyrics are all over the place, what are they actually saying?

And what about Father MC? Yes, he's on here alright - courtesy of Pay Per View Records, which is the first and only time I've heard of them* - and not just doing glorified hype-man duties or anything. He kicks the third and final verse, and it's all about... kicking his guest verse, "spittin' on this bullshit like it was my own shit. Do I have to flip shit and get on some old rip shit? ...Spittin' sixteen on yo' shit, makin' yo' shit my shit. Two thou' millieni shit, real raw shit, lose ya deal shit." Hey, maybe that's why Suicide's Glasshouse thing fell through. Father's guest verse made 'em lose their deal. Ha. Nah, looking here and here, it looks like the label had its own troubles. Anyway, Father's verse is okay. He's somewhat energetic, always feeling like there's a killer punchline just around the corner that never comes. Instead it's a collection of lines that are just alright. Again, like the beat, none of these three MCs spit anything you'd want to run out and buy. Unless you're like me, a fan just excited to find another record by either Father or Suicide, and then you order it off the internet immediately as a birthday present for yourself.  XD

So, it's just the one song, which comes in at just under four minutes. You've got the Street Mix and an edited Radio Mix on side A, and then a Dub Mix and Instrumental on B. At the end of the day, it's just another on that long list of obscure odditities that Echo slipped out under the radar. Maybe nothing amazing, but endlessly compelling to sift through and discover.

*They also misspell the word "courtesy."

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