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February 01, 1991 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1991-02-01
Note:
This is a tabloid page

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Rappin
By Forrest Green III joyous,
and Peter Shapiro seeming
and blea
Yo! Get your head out of the overall N
Candyman lyric sheet and scheme,
swallow the countercultural, that the 1
polyrhythmic pill of hip hop's barrage
most eventful moments in 1990. was unm
Not the ten greatest songs or noted th
albums, with respect to Fear Of a major in:
Black Planet, AmeriKKKa'Is Most Termina
Wanted and To the East, frenetic
Blackwards, among others, but expressi
our most relevant recorded more lik
moments in the most important Munch o
genre of the past ten years in words, T
America. Sure, there were other to chang
great moments as well, recorded makes it
or otherwise - Chuck D. Unfoi
standing up for M.C. Hammer urban cc
during an NME interview, Ice stations
Cube referring to Uncle Sam as "a opportu
muthafuckin' rapist" in "The by hip h
Product," almost anything that turntabl
Professor X had to say (or Isis had heavy ro
to rap, as well), and of course, the Termina
MC Hammer Pepsi commercial
- but now that Will Smith has a
TV show and they're making 8-
Ball references to sell malt liquor,
rap is ashubiquituous as Saddam's
talking head. Ten magic
moments, then:
10. Terminator X - "Buck
Whylin"'
Now that the War to Save the
Asses of Poppy, Uncle Ron and
the Military Industrial Complex
has made Public Enemy's "Black
Steel in the Hour of Chaos" more
relevant than ever before, The
Assault Technician's first solo
effort concerns itself with the
war that African Americans
should be fighting. Sister
Souljah's (soldier, get it?)
exhortations to create a Black
army are tinged with the same
urgent adrenalin rushes that are
produced by fire hoses and lynch
mobs. These pleas are followed
by Chuck D. playing the preacher
and sermonizing to a
congregation of Sir Mix-a-lot
listeners that even the most
mainstream of rappers are
revolutionary in the context of
the dominant American ideology.~
Hip hop's gospel, according to
Chuck, isn't surrounded by the
uplifting call and response that
backed the exalting and cleansing
of Mahalia Jackson or Aretha
Franklin. Terminator, instead,
aims for an unsettling
combination of vaguely displaced The G
beats and piercing guitar
fragments which have the same converte
purpose as the free jazz of that cou
Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane,
Cecil Taylor and Archie Shepp. 9. Big E
Following the lead of the be- Daddy
boppers, free jazz artists took a "You
music that masked centuries of to a can
pain and suppressed anger with a is, King

with

the

Best of 1990

danceable facade and
its context entirely with
ly random honks, squeaks
ts. While they fit into an
harmonic and modal
the harshness and rancor
tone color of the endless
of blue notes signified
nistakable. Coleman
at Jackson Pollack was a
fluence in his music;
tor's collage has the same
urgency of abstract
onism, but its effect is
e that of an urban
or Beckmann. In other
Terminator doesn't have
e rap's context, he just
more obvious.
rtunately, since the
ontemporary radio
aren't jumping at the
nity to put a solo effort
op's most militant
e instrumentalist into
tation, Chuck and
tor are preaching to the

going head up with one of rap's
first relics, Rudy Ray Moore aka
,Dolemite. One of rap's most
relevant roots is the dozens,
basically spontaneous games
where the contestants use skill,
ingenuity and humor to
psychologically reduce each other
to the size of a penny or so.
Back when Big Daddy's flat-
top was only a norm for Grace
Jones and earlier, Rudy Ray
Moore was entertaining Black
listeners with lines like "stuck
my dick in the ground, turned the
whole world around" and almost
single-handedly defining the 70s
pimp daddy archetype (let us not
forget Isaac Hayes and Ron
O'Neal) for generations to come.
What went around, came around,
and with comparatively new
jacks Ice-T and Too Short
breathing freebase-charged new
life into this character, leave it to
the Big Daddy to bring the
original back into the ring. The

have to go out and rob/ I made the
streets of New York hot as a
sauna/ And hung a 'home sweet
ho' sign on every corner/ Yes, I'm
the player of all players/ And the
mack of all macks/ Give a
headache to Excedrin/ And knock-
the shit outta Ex-Lax."
Dolemite retorts, "Game,
before you can take my reign/ you
gotta cook me a chicken and a
half a day/ Walk from New York
to Los Angeles and throw the
bones away/ You gotta be blind
and cannot see/ Yo bitches have
to pock some ass so bad they can't
even pee/ Ride a bald eagle a
million feet in the air/ And get out
and do the running man while
you up there/ Have the monks
and the Asiatic flu/ And the crabs
around yo ass start singin' the
yankee-doodle-doo."
Kane: "Oh, fuck it, I give
up." -F.G.III
8. A Tribe Called Ouest -

Native Tongues siblings.
Although their objectification of
women is no different than most
of what comes from the 2 Live
School of "waxin' girls' behinds,"
only disguised by lush layers of
sitars and velveteen organ fills
that are meant to signify artistry
instead of smarmy Luther
Vandross/Barry White-love man-
quiet storm innuendos, it does
push the genre of "lookin' for the
bitches with the big butts"
boasts into a more humane realm
that celebrates the beauty of the
whole body, not just the holes.
Lyrically, the song revolves
around a couplet that would do
Ezra Pound proud. Sir Pound had
the chutzpah and good sense to
rhyme "Martin Van Buren" with
"a bottle of urine," while Q-Tip
whispers to the object of his
affection, "Satisfaction, I've got
the right tactics/ And if you need
'em, I've got crazy
prophylactics." He still may only
care about cornholing, but it's
still the boldest pick-up line this
side of "Do you know why
Egyptians invented lipstick?"
Unfortunately, after Bonita
accepted his invite, the sex must
not have lived up to the "36-24-37,
mm-mm-mm" billing because the
Tribe's depiction of copulating is
about as enjoyable as coitus
interruptus. Their repetition of
"sex, sex, sex" over limp drum
beats and dull synth washes
doesn't even work as foreplay.
They learned their Earth, Wind
and Fire lessons, but didn't take
the time to study Bessie Smith. -
P.S.
7. The Geto Boys - "Mind
of a Lunatic"/"Gangster of
Love"
With these two cuts on the
eponymously titled Geto Boys'
major label debut, arranged
consecutively in theme and order
similar to Led Zeppelin's
"Heartbreaker"/"Livin' Lovin'
Maid," there's approximately a
cheap, sleazy thrill every fifteen
seconds on average. Like Herschel
Gordon Walker's Bloodsucking
Freaks or Gore-Gore Girls flicks,
G.B.s Willie D., Ready Red,
Bushwick Bill and Akshen
entertain their listeners by
gleefully unveiling countless
unspeakable horrors upon their
quivering auditory canals,
shocking even the least defenseless
superego into an absence of logic
and morality.
Like Public Enemy's "Get the
Fuck Outta Dodge," "Mind of a
Lunatic" doesn't provide any
protagonist for the audience, but
it doesmaintain a disturbed sense
of humor throughout, producing
lines like "you'll never find the
muthafucka, so save your milk
P age 4

* 0
Bootlegs
Continued from page 12
voices, the song becomes a
driving, funky-twangy rock song
which relies on McCartney's
irrepressible bass.
In "She's A Woman,"
McCartney attempt to bring
some ska influence into Beatles
songs. Some early takes are
available which are well worth
buying because they feature
McCartney vocals much more
ferocious and strong than the
final version. Take two is one
such version. Takes seven and
eight feature superb vocals -
until McCartney gets carried
away and starts screaming
because he has run out of words.
This doesn't matter, for the
screaming adds something that
the final version lacks.
Two more songs you should
covet are the first takes of "I'm
Looking Through You" and
"This Bird Has Flown" (an early
name of "Norwegian Wood").
"I'm Looking Through You"
began as an acoustic song, but
without the slickness of the final.
The intro to the song features
clapping, the vocals show more
emotion and hurt, and the whole
song culminates in a jam session
as the song fades out. "This Bird
Has Flown" is different from the
popular released song, but it is
nonetheless superb.
Some of the best bootlegged
material allows one to experience
a Beatles rehearsal. The first six
takes of "Misery" provide such an
opportunity; Take one is a
complete runthrough. But then

the fun begins. Four false starts
follow, and each time a different
band member seems to be worthy
of blame. The tape lets one listen
in as the Beatles argue over how
to play the song correctly. One
amusing incident happens when
Paul sings the wrong verses,
bringing everything to a crashing
standstill. John rebukes him by
telling-him off. "It's three damn
words!" By listening to such
rehearsals one can begin to
appreciate just how much work
went into each song.
The most celebrated and
common bootlegs of Beatles
rehearsals are those which include
material from the."Get Back"
sessions, during which the Beatles
worked on the songs from "Let It
Be" and "Abbey Road." The
Beatles stagnated during their
"Get Back" period because their
personal relationships were
suffering. The rehearsals are said
to have been tense and listless,
with numerous runthroughs and
very few concerted attempts to
perfect their songs.
That is not to say that the
"Get Back" sessions produced
only poor material - after all the
Beatles produced enough to fill
much of their final two albums.
However, that left precious little
quality material for the "Get
Back" bootlegs.
In addition to rehearsing the
songs released on "Abbey Road"
and "Let It Be," the Beatles ran
through many of their old
favorites from the Fifties and
Sixties. The most interesting part
of such bootlegs is not the music
but the Beatles themselves. One
can clearly hear discussions and

arguments they have about
which songs to play and how to
play them.
The "Get Back" sessions were
all filmed, and many bootlegs
have been made from the film
crew's tapes, which are usually
of very poor quality. If at all
possible, try to determine
whether the songs were taken
from the camera crew or the
studio.
Unfortunately, there is a lot of
bad studio material out there.
When blindly buying a studio
recordings bootleg, one often ends
up with a lump of coal rather
than a diamond.
The reason for this is that
many "unreleased" songs on
bootlegs are actually the final
versions altered a wee bit. For
...the fierce "Leave My
Kitten Alone"... Is a fiery
rock 'n' roll number
raucously belted out by
Lennon. The group's
overall performance is not
perfect, but the
malevolence in Lennon's
voice is so searing that
the song is great.
example, a bootleg version of
"Ticket to Ride" would be
identical to the original if not for
an extra three seconds tacked onto
the end. This is the case almost
half the time.

0
Some bootlegs feature songs
that have been remixed. These
can be interesting because they
emphasize parts of the song
which normally remain hidden -
like the vocals in "Birthday," for
example. But most of the time,
the remixing is pointless. Bootleg
manufacturers mislead
consumers by describing such
remixes as early takes or
unreleased versions. One of the
worst cases is an awful mix of
"Do You Want to Know a
Secret?" on an album called
"Back-tracks" (and album which
has a few useless tracks but also
some superb ones). The entire
song is distorted and thebass is
way too heavy - otherwise,
there is no difference between this
and the actual song, and certainly
no reasonto listen to it. By happy
coincidence, CD players allow
one to skip over such worthless
tracks.
Before buying bootlegs of
studio recordings, it is always
important to read carefully the
descriptions on the record jacket
or in the booklet that
accompanies the CD. It often
makes sense to jot down which
takes or versions of the songs are
on the album and then check in a
book about Beatles music to see
whether that particular
incarnation of the song is

0
desi
Lew
Rec
care
the
B
expe
go tc
rece
is qu
the '
store
Rem
boot
one
that
gett
is as
havi
Hot
scar
will

I I

,

I

Rap
Continued from page 5
1. Public Enemy -
"Welcome to the
Terrordome"
Where "Bring the Noise" or
"Rebel Without a Pause" derived
their power from an enormous
sonic assault by the vocals as well
as the samples, "Terrordome"
devastates with innuendo and
"the grain of the voice."
"Terrordome" doesn't cohere as
well as either, but in the hands of
Chuck D. the ravin.g stream-of-
consciousness meditation on the
state of affairs in America is more
effective. Chuck's imagery is
almost archetypal in the sense
that his metaphors are so abstract
that they can be shaped to depict
any instant in the history of
Africans in America: "Caught in
the race against time/ The pit and
the pendulum/ Check the rhythm
and rhymes/ While I'm bendin'
'em/ Snakes flowin' up the lines
of design/ Tryin' to blind the
science I'm sendin''em/ How to
fight the power/ Cannot run and
hide/ But it shouldn't be suicide."
Chuck has certainly eclipsed

either Robert Johnson or Muddy
Waters as the preeminent blues
poet.
While Chuck "rope-a-dopes
evil with righteous bobbin' and
weavin'," Terminator, Shocklee
and Sadler spin samples with a
nauseating disquietude. The
music's just damn unpleasant -
no groove, no hooks; you might as
well listen to Metal Machine Music.
There's no bass, no constant beat,
only the constant sickly machine
drone, the grunts that signify rage
and hurt, not the sexuality of the
J.B. funk that they usually do
because they are displaced by
awkward sampling and the
seemingly random searing guitar
lines that punctuate Chuck's
greetings at the gates of hell.
These salutations are trumpeted
in with a voice that combines the
bluesy slurs of Louis Armstrong
with the fire of Don Cherry. The
third head of Cerebrus is played
by Flav with his disturbing
invitations- to "come on down!"
In what may be P.E.'s finest
moment, they make it perfectly
obvious that the River Styx was
not a river, but an ocean - the
Atlantic Ocean.- P.S.

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eto Boys (I to r) Willie D., Akshen, Bushwick Bill, and Ready Red say it loud: "I'm psychotic and proud!"

d. But it's the thought
rts. -P.S.
Daddy Kane - "Big
vs. Dolemite"
.ain't sayin' nothin' slick
of oil," boasts Kane, that
Asiatic, Nobody's Equal,

result is a very timely crossroads
of the past and present of rap
music.
Kane claims, "I'm the one
that put the M in mackin'/
'Cause when you did it, you was
only actin/ I made pimjn' a full
time job/ So bitches wouldn't

"Bonita. Applebum"
Like the rest of the Quest's
debut platter, "Bonita
Applebum" has its sights set on
highly crafted popsmanship, not
pan-Africanism, feminism or
avant-garde sample-for-sample's-
sake experimentation like their

.r

1-1

1-800-BEACH IT

I

February 1, 1991

WEEKEND.

Page 13-

WEEUND

Febr

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