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Written by: Robbie Ettelson
It’s times like this I can’t but wonder “What would EST do?”
Gone are the days of wondering “What ever happened to…?” or shelling out a week’s pay on some test-press vinyl action. Chances are, the folks over at Traffic are putting it out on CD right now. By the time you’ve read this, five more albums from the vaults will have been re-issued, and by days end, a further twenty. But for now, I’ll attempt to tackle three recent re-releases:
Wanted: Dead or Alive – Kool G Rap & DJ Polo
Not only is this KGR’s most consistent release over his long career, but it also served as the catalyst for an ugly war of words between young up-and-comer Large Professor and veteran stand-over man Eric B., when Large Paul declared that he “got robbed” of his proper credit on the album, and Rakim’s former partner responded that he had to remix and remaster most of it since it sounded like “garbage” when LP first turned it in. Whatever the case may be, it’s one helluva record, and contains what G Rap has stated to be his own personal favorite word – “Kool Is Back” – and “Bad To The Bone” (one my personal picks), not to mention “Streets of New York”, “Talk Like Sex”, “Money In The Bank”…actually, every song on here is great except for “The Polo Club”, but I’d rather a hip-house song than some typical 1990 ballad. The repress offers the lyric book and a run-of-the-mill write-up on the album, as well as the standard remixes and instrumentals that you’ve come to expect from these Cold Chillin’ re-issues. Sadly, there are no studio outtakes or radio spots to be found on this edition, but that’s no big deal considering how good this album is.
Kool G Rap & DJ Polo – “Bad To The Bone (Large Professor Remix)”
Streetwize – J-Rock
I remembered this from his ad and review in The Source and the “Save The Children” single I found in a dollar bin. Not to long ago, dudes were dropping a bill on the vinyl of this indy release, but despite featuring some early contributions from Easy Moe Bee and DJ Premier, it’s really nothing too spectacular. Considering this dude is posed next to a rental on his cover, I was hoping for some entertaining (and even slightly ignorant) shit, but his repertoire consists mainly of “positive message” songs that Lord Finesse executed more successfully two years earlier and standard brag-rap that may have impressed in ’89 but was starting to date when this originally came out. Not to say that J-Rock doesn’t have his moments, as tracks such as the “Neighborhood Drug Dealer” remix still bump, but there’s a reason why this only received 3/5 in J The Sultan‘s old rag.
J-Rock – “Neighborhood Drug Dealer (DJ Premier Remix)”
Greatest Hits – The Wascals
Did you hate The Pharcyde? I know I did. Sure, their whole “hyperactive stoner” routine was entertaining enough for a couple of listens, but I’d rather throw on Quincy Jones than “Passing Me By”, ya dig? This was one of the projects that J-Swift did after he split with Fatlip and co. which never made it past a single release (same with the Jazzyfatnastess as far as I know. They didn’t drop an album until 1999 and by then had shed two members and J-Swift). Basically, this is a poor mans’ Pharcyde crossed with the most annoying parts of Lords of the Underground. After a few whoolas, you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference between the two crews, which is either great news (if you’re one of those sickos who enjoy that style), or a good reason to steer clear of this whole mess, depending on you’re viewpoint. Whoever put this package together must agree, since the second CD contains instrumentals for most of the album, and offers some quality early nineties style hardcore jazz and hard drums combinations.
The Wascals – “Doggy Style (instrumental)”
Thanks to Shogun Distribution.
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