Sunday, January 8, 2017

Ringing In the New Year With... Who Else?

It's 2017, and what better way to celebrate than writing some more about Father MC?  Today's record is a little 1995 12" called "Sexual" on Spoiled Brat Recordings, the same label that released Kool Moe Dee's final LL Cool J diss and some of Kool Keith's earliest solo material. This is one of the singles from the strange case of Father's dueling simultaneous albums This Is For the Players and Sexual Playground, which you can read about here.  And, uh, be wary of the comments to that post, it's a bit of a minefield.

This is the promo version of the 12", where the label clearly hasn't been completed.  Not only does it leave off the specific track listing (this 12" features main, dub, instrumental and accapella versions), but the full song title, which is actually "Sexual Playground."  I'd stayed away from this 12" for a long time because I was associating it with the terrible club remix, simply titled "Playground" on the Sexual Playground album.  But this version, the original that was featured on This Is For the Players, is actually pretty good.

A large part of why it works is a large part of why a lot of Father MC records work: excellent sample selection.  This song uses almost the entire instrumental of Patrice Rushen's "Feels So Real (Won't Let Go)."  It's a huge lift, so detract some points for originality.  But what can you say?  When you loop a great 80s record, the rap version's gotta sound pretty great, too.  And, as Father is famous for, he's got another strong R&B chorus.  Now the album credits this to Danny Blanco, but there is clearly a female singer doing a duet with the guy on the chorus.  I won't say they out-sing Rushen, but they sound pretty good and it definitely comes together as a catchy, slightly campy redux.

I was also happy to see Father MC return to his slightly more romantic roots here.  This was his first album(s) after his time with Uptown; and at that point, he'd dropped the MC from his name and went from doing love and heartbreak songs to bragging about being a pimp and a player.  Here, you see the MC is back, and he's back to rapping about relationships over funky soul grooves with R&B singers on the hooks.  Short of him going all the way back to his 1st Fleet Crew sound, this is what I think all us Father MC fans wanted from him, and he delivered.

Not that it's a perfect song.  These singers are nice, but they're no Mary J. Blige and Jodeci.  And I called the song romantic, but that was a bit generous as the lyrics feature Father rapping, "now who wants the body, the body, the sexual irresistible player, women slayer" as the girl invites us to, "come on and play in my sexual playground." So it's not exactly Jane Austen, but you can't begrudge Father all his fun.  It's admittedly a bit corny ("if you wanna please me, you gotta squeeze me," "so if you want some TLC, creep wit me into ecstasy"), and it's one of those records where if you already own the 80s original, the modern day rap version can feel kinda pointless (you know, like Coolio's "Fantastic Voyage" or The Firm's "Firm Biz," where the best parts of the song are just what they lift from the original sources as opposed to their additions).  But it's all upbeat, cheerful and he never says anything too embarrassing.  It actually holds up fairly well, and I think I appreciate it more now than I did in 1995.  Good times.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. I was curious about the "mine field" so I had to check it out, and I'm incredibly intrigued. Who knew Father MC had such an awful (or misunderstood?) rep?