Filed under: Not Your Average,Steady Bootleggin'
Written by: Robbie Ettelson
Following an unfortunate incident with my laptop, I’ve had to basically start from scratch and reinstall everything, which has thrown things out of whack a little but as they say: “Shit happens when you party naked”.
For a slight change of pace, here are five quality album cuts that you might have missed the first-time around.
Jeru The Damaja made some major noise with his single’s from The Sun Rises In The East, but it’s easy to forget about the low end attribute’s of this ill BK dedication. “Brooklyn Took It” wins in the the ride and on the walkman.
Fellow Crooklyn residents Heltah Skeltah made an impact during the heyday of the Boot Camp invasion in the mid-90’s, but for some reason the illest selection from Nocturnal never made it onto twelve inch. “Undastand” is a Baby Paul creation that serves as a perfect snap-shot of the sound of New York underground rap in 1996: a smoked-out loop set to crunchy drums. It’s interesting to note how much Ruck has refined his style for his recent Sean Price material as well.
Herb McGruff is one of Harlem’s finest, but I can only assume tht it was the influence of clueless A&R’s that steered his Destined To Be debut into the choppy waters of “club bangers” and syrupy hooks.1 It’s a shame, since Gruff can fuckin’ kill it when he has to. With songs like “Dangerzone” with a still Murderin’ Ma$e and a yet-to-be murdered Big L, as well as “Reppin’ Uptown” with everyone’s favourite Yonker’s residents The LOX, McGruff proved he could bring the hard shit, but he wasn’t allowed the opportunity to really demonstarate that here. “Destined To Be” is another example of the laid-back, atmospheric ’96 vibe that sounds even better today. As a bonus, I also included the unremarkable “Who Holds His Own” in order to demonstrate how much better Baby Paul flipped that same xylophone sample on “Undastand”.
Over in the B-X, the great Sadat X had three singles released from his Loud solo, but the real gems were on the full-length. The closing track features an incredible piano-driven DJ O. Gee beat while X and his Wild Cowboy crew2 get loose.3
Winding things up is a short instrumental that Paris composed for Public Enemy‘s latest (and suprisingly enjoyable in parts) LP, Rebirth of a Nation.
Jeru The Damaja - Brooklyn Took It [The Sun Rises In The East, Payday, 1994]
Heltah Skeltah - Undastand [Nocturnal, Priority, 1996]
Sadat X - The Hashout [Wild Cowboys, Loud, 1996,]
Public Enemy feat. Paris - Pump The Music, Pump The Sound [Rebirth of a Nation, Guerilla Funk, 2006]
- 1. The credits of his CD reveal that Heavy D was one of the Executive Producers, as well as the producer of some of the cotton-candy material so I guess I’ll blame him.[back]
- 2. Read: Weed Carriers.[back]
- 3. The track with Money Boss Players was another winner, as is the Deda Baby Pah/Pete Rock contribution.[back]
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