Filed under: Speaker Smashers,Steady Bootleggin'
Written by: Robbie Ettelson
In many ways, hardcore rap peaked in 1986. Despite lacking the lyrically complexity of 1988’s finest and the depth of production found in 1994’s best releases, hip-hop records from ’86-’87 took the abrasive, hard rock aesthetic championed by Run-DMC and pushed it to it’s ear-splitting, speaker-melting limits.
Much of this quality is obviously the result of the combination of the drum machine and guitar scratch formula that ruled in the days before samplers were affordable, but at the time it was just the sound of the hard shit. It’s all well and good to have some songs that the broads can dance to at the club, but the soundtrack for walkman-sporting troopers stomping around the city racking vinyl, markers and paint had to be the echo-soaked universe of Schooly D, Z-3 MC‘s and K-Rob.
Despite originating as an “answer group” to the Fat Boys, the Skinny Boys‘ first album was far more hardcore that anything the Disco 3 ever made in terms of beats. Super Jay, Shockin’ Shaun and Jockbox were appropriately skinny, and with song titles such as “Feed Us The Beat” and “Weightless” (not to mention the matching t-shirts), they had all the makings of a fly-by-night novalty act. As it turns out, Weightless was a great album, and they soon landed a contract with Jive, where they would release two more albums. While Skinny and Proud had it’s moments, it also contained the awful heavy metal stylings of “Cries of the City”, while 1988’s Skinny (They Can’t Get Enough) found them reduced to making tracks with UK abomination The Wee Papa Girl Rappers.
“Rip The Cut” features the familiar guitar scratch component, only it sounds like they’ve just smashed through a brick wall with a wrecking ball and ground gravel into the record before Jay started to cut it, giving it extra superduty tuff appeal. Throw the drums of death into the mix with Shock and Jock’s spirited Shout Rap vocals, and you’re ready to strike a classic b-boy stance with arms folded and head nodding in a smug manner, safe with the knowledge that you’re ears are being assulted by the rawest of rap while the rest of the toys are listening to some variation of elevator muzak indy hip-hop or today’s version of Miami Bass.
The days of listening to rap that your girl and your parents hated is an increasingly distant memory in these Pop Life times, but for those of you who grew-up on hip-hop that you can break windows to, this is just what you need.
Skinny Boys - Rip The Cut (Weightless, Warlock, 1986)
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