Skinny Boys – Weightless Album Review
Thursday August 17th 2006,
Filed under: Albums,Reissues,Reviews
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Nineteen eighty six was a good year for rap, but also an awkward one. Fresh ideas seemed to be drying-up as everyone realised there was only so many times you could replay the theme to Gilligan’s Island over a drum machine beat before people would get sick of it. Shout Rap was starting to sound a little tired compared to the intricate rhymes of T La Rock and the stylish tough talk of Just-Ice, but it would be another twelve months until Criminal Minded would rewrite the rules of the game. Schoolly D had damn-near perfected the art of sparse, abrasive drum machine assaults, but this debut from Connecticut’s Skinny Boys demonstrated that there was still some life left in the bare-bones sound.

Combining TR-909 programming with loud turntable stabs of noise and a whole lotta human beatboxing, Shockin’ Shaun and Jockbox rocked vocal routines with the gusto you’d expect from a late-night house party set. Weightless stands the test of time as a testament to the sound of hardcore rap, as twenty years later it still has the capacity to smash speakers and upset your neighbours when played at inappropriate volumes.

The keyboards on tracks like “Weightless” might sound ancient, but the scratch-heavy “Unity” and the guitar-shredding “Rip The Cut” and “Feed Us The Beat” sound better than ever compared to the smoothed-out sounds of recent years. “Jock Box” is a quality showcase of mid-school beatboxing, while “Awesome” is just that. I spoke to the crew recently and they explained that their management screwed them over royally, so they hardly saw a cent from this album and didn’t even know that it had been reissued until I mentioned the fact, but it doesn’t alter the fact that this is a fine example of raw rap designed for your boom box – fuck the radio.


Skinny Boys – Feed Us The Beat [Weightless, Warlock, 1986] Reissued by Traffic Entertainment, 2006.

Review copy supplied courtesy of Shogun Distribution.

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19 Comments so far
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you know its funny, but I completely agree. I was listening to the latest young buck and whoo kid mixtape, chronic 2006 and my only thought on the drive to work was “why are you still rapping about not snitching/being super n***a/moving weight”. its so tired man.. I’ve been running around lately copping CD re-issues of old rap tapes I had when I was younger (I bought all the original cassettes in the late 80s when I was 10-14). as I grow older, I cant handle the bullshit lyrics man….

Comment by dj mad wax 08.17.06 @

You are the MAN!!!, Robbie. This LP is a classic, as far as I’m concerned. I wasn’t feeling their 2nd LP on Jive as much, but that 1st one stands the test of time.

Comment by fosterakahunter 08.17.06 @

better ’86 lp..

“raising hell” or “weightless”??????

Comment by Brian Beck From Wisconsin 08.18.06 @

Raising Hell.

Comment by Lotuz 08.18.06 @

Hey!..heres one to think about ya’ll..

Lets flip the script..could be a tough call

Schoolly D 1st album vs. Skinny Boys ‘Weightless’?
Add on….

Comment by Palm Sterling 08.18.06 @

Schooly’s first album came out in ’85, but I’d rather hear that than either “Raising Hell” or “Weightless” if I had to choose.

Comment by Robbie 08.18.06 @

Schoolly D’s first album I don’t really like as an album, because the songs (which are great on their own) sound too similar. Maybe a human TR-909 could have added some variety. :)

Comment by Lotuz 08.19.06 @

I’ve got Gucci time as the ring tone on my mobile,when I started a new job recently the phone goes and after I took the call a colleague asked me what the tone was “it’s an obscure rap artist that no-ones ever heard of” “No it’s Schooly D !” he said now not a day goes by without mentioning Schooly or Code.

Comment by DrOp OnE 08.19.06 @

I think robbies taste is about right, but i tell you what over all the few we’ve debated over..i personnaly think ICE T’s ‘Rhyme Pays’ was a STUPID DOPE album, better than ‘Raising Hell’ ‘Schoolly’ and ‘Weightless’, for songs beats AND rhymes.Cuts like ‘409’ ‘6n tha morning’ ‘Make It Funky’ and the title track ‘Rhyme Pays’,in retrospect the drum programming and rappin on this album is incredible real hardcore. I know its an 87 era lp..but hey considering 85-87 were bad years for rap albums(in that not many dope dropped consecutively)rap seemed stifled as to where to go next during the mid-school. ICE T’s first album was some killer next ish:thanks to Afrika Islam production.’Rhyme Pays’has aged well given a listen to today,alongside any cut from ‘criminal Minded’. Pity it’s hardly ever mentioned or given the credit i think it deserves. Or am i wrong?.

Comment by Palm Sterling 08.19.06 @

“Gucci Time” as a ring-tone? Nice.

I agree, Ice-T’s first LP was great. “Our Most Requested Record” was classic as well.

Comment by Robbie 08.21.06 @

Poor old Skinny boys – they never knew their records were being sold in Europe until they went there! Also they saw their video in ‘True Roamnce’ and that was the first they heard about it. Wasn’t it their own cousin who ripped them off?

Comment by farns 08.29.06 @

I’ve just realised I haven’t got any Schooly D on my iTunes. Shame on me. Now for some fervoured downloading.

Comment by End Level Boss 08.29.06 @

“jock box” is insane

Comment by shalimar 09.02.06 @

Was the second album on Jive? I know the third one was, and was kind of weak. The second album, Skinny and Proud, is pretty good. Rip the Cut part 2 was the first song I heard by them at that time and the line “We’re skinny! But we’re packed with power!” stuck with me for all the years since then.

Comment by nixnutz 09.10.06 @

My introduction to Skinny Boys was in ’86 when I bought the Jockbox/Unity 12″ for 25 cents… no joke! It was on the 25 sent shelf in a rock n’ roll record shop. At that time I wasn’t aware of who Warlock Records was and of course the 12″ was in a plain black sleeve… I figured it probably wasn’t even hip-hop but was worth a shot for the price. Whoa – to my big surprise it was dope as hell, not to mention that I was such a beatbox fanatic back then. A great memory of the first time I dropped the needle on that piece of priceless wax! Still an all-time fav – BC

Comment by BC 10.21.06 @

I have a VHS tape of 89 era Jive Rap videos and Skinny Boys are on there. Its a tight vid, the Boys boxing in a gym.

Comment by Mike G 03.09.07 @

make no mistake about what the credits say on all the albums….i remember being around when jay, jockbox, shaun and former member pete wrote the jockbox back in 82…i’ve seen them rock that and awesome as well as many other songs from the first album…..they’ve always wrote their own shit as well as superman j producing all the beats…as for back then they went by the name superior crush and were being booked boston to new jersey back then by a promoter named arthur armstrong….trust that is the real real

Comment by jj 07.30.09 @

that was long b4 mark and rhonda bush ever connected with them….and truth of the matter was mark and rhonda never produced or wrote anything…..the couldn’t even operate thedrum machine and samplers….jay did that..i know this because i came up with these dudes….they simply never new the biz and their cousins mark and rhonda took advantage of that….the entire state of connecticut knows this is true

Comment by jj 07.30.09 @

I first had this album as a low quality tape copy, then a few years back as MP3, and finally I bought the CD reissue. After 24 years I’ve never grown tired of hearing it!

As described in Robbie’s review, the Skinny Boys sound on Weightless is “bare-bones” but delivered with flawless timing.

Comment by Br1 04.26.10 @

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