Talk about “punk smoove shit”. Whoever convinced 3xD to abandon the sound that made Original Stylin’ so great and start making songs with ex-Slave vocalist Steve Arrington needs to be slapped silly, Yaggfu Front style. While the front cover was OK, the pastel suits that these three Philly fellas are rocking on the back set off all sorts of alarm bells as to the content of this album.
Ignoring my own instincts, I still picked this up back in the day, convinced that while EST may have ditched his Jordan 3‘s, he was still a hardcore b-boy at heart. When I got the album home, I was greeted with a mixed bag of R&B flavoured crossover, live instruments, a lot of songs about girls and a handful of straight-up brag rap joints. Thanks to Chuck Nice‘s superior boardwork though, songs like “No Words” still delivered the goods, even if their sound had “matured” a little more than I would have liked.
Even the radio-aimed cuts like “Weak At The Knees”, “Mellow But Smooth” and “Peace Ya Self” are slicker than the average sell-out rap track of the era, but I couldn’t help but be dissapointed to hear what had become of the “Greatest Man Alive” since splitting with the Hilltop Hustlers , following some funny money shit that went down with their former manager, in a scenario remarkably similar to the Ice Cube/Jerry Heller situation. There were several reported brawls (such as one at the local b-ball court) with the now rival crews over the next couple of years, and it wasn’t until later that Steady B and Cool C figured out that 3D were right all along and ditched Lawrence Goodman for good. We all know what happened after that….
The good news is that EST (“the unusual fellow”) was still an outstanding vocalist, capable of tearing any track he was put on, and when given the right beat he still killed it, as he does with little buddy Larry Larr on “Make Ya $”. The title track is pretty good as well.
It wasn’t until 1994 that we’d hear from them again, when they returned with the self-released Da Sequal, which saw them re-inventing themselves as with bald heads, jazz loops and freestyles, which was all the rage at the time. But more about that next time….
Three Times Dope - Make Ya $ (Live From Acknickulous Land, Arista, 1990)
Three Times Dope - Live From Acknickulous Land (Live From Acknickulous Land, Arista, 1990)
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