Ammbush, Amphibians, N.E.U.K., sIster tAMbORIne, Tame One ::
The Singles File Volume 001

as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

No, this is not the column for lonely men and women looking for a date -- this is a feature where we wrap up a crop of different singles or twelve inches I've received and give you the play by play so you can also keep score at home. Let's begin shall we?

Artist: Amphibians
Title:  Lettuce (Entertain You) b/w Journey
Label:  Spread Love Entertainment

The Amphibians debut on Spread Love Entertainment features "Lettuce (entertain you)" on 'This' side and "Journey" on 'That' side. The whistling noise throughout "Lettuce" gives me eerie deja vu flashbacks to the early 90's all-star song "You Can Get the Fist" but musically it's a refreshing upbeat track. Their vibe is like Black Eyed Peas, if the Peas had lyrical skills. Props to them for keeping the "vegetable" metaphor fresh and crispy throughout. "Journey" is a smoothly sonically sound song but not my favorite vocally. The first rapper reminds me too much of Lord Have Mercy, and the second sounds like he was rapping underwater with the BoogieMonsters on a remake of "Strange". On the whole though I recommend picking up this twelve inch and I'm hoping that the Amphibians serve up more crispy crunchy salads in the future.

Music Vibes: 9 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 7 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 8 of 10

Artist: N.E.U.K.
Title:  Wartime
Label:  Paradox Entertainment

Our next contestant is N.E.U.K. from Paradox Entertainment. On the A-Side we have Infared w/ N.E.U.K. on the hook serving us "Wartime". A lot of Son's and God's in the opening might lead you to think it's gonna be some pseudo Wu-Tang and Infared does sound like a refugee from Killarmy. This isn't a bad thing though in this case. The track is dark and moody and these soldiers are obviously preparing for the armageddeon. The flipside moves N.E.U.K. from the chorus to the spotlight on "Run They Gonna Kill Y'all". Guest star John Dilly kicks some fairly generic braggadocio competently, while N.E.U.K. sounds a little too depressed and the synth noise combined with what sounds like applause begins to grate the ears. "Wartime" is definitely the high energy cut of this double dip, but on the whole they need to keep N.E.U.K. away from the mic and come with a little stronger beats.

Music Vibes: 6 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 6 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 6 of 10

Artist: sIster tAMbORIne
Title:  Hold On b/w Chance of a Lifetime
Label:  R.A.G.E. Recordz

I could have sworn R.A.G.E. Recordz promised to send me some material by D.A. Smart from the One Million Strong compilation, and I wish they had: sIster is not cuttin the mustard. Her vocals are as appealing as catholic nuns whacking you across the wrist with a ruler and the She-Funk synth groove makes you yearn for a hit of The Chronic. The flipside is given emergency mouth to mic airtime courtesy of D.A. Smart's rap and sIster being limited to chorus vocals only. Obviously, the wrong artist was credited for this track and the wrong performer was marketed on this single: D.A. deserved the A-Side AND the top billing. Let's hope that this sIster gets kicked to the curb. Since her track throws the curve out of wack, I'm going to grade on the B-Side only. This track is everything that Canibus' "I Honor U" *should* have been. His rap about growing from sperm to manhood and the thin line between being good and evil in a mother's control over your upbringing gets the thumbs up approval.

Music Vibes: 7 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 7 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 7 of 10

Artist: Tame One, Ammbush
Title:  In The Area b/w Human Torch
Label:  Urban Productions

Last but not least is a cassette single from Urban Productions which features none other than M.I.A. Artifacts member Tame One on the A-Side. "In The Area" only lacks in one department: short of Diamond D or Shawn J. Period, no producer is hype enough to match Tame's verbal acuity. Tame flips his trademark Boom Skwad skills with rhymes like "The chocolate and diamonds, the rhymin Don Johnson, next Charles Bronson with more comp than Compton" and gets you open lovely. The B-Side jacks some old school funk for Ammbush's "Human Torch", which could have been more aptly titled "Push Up Ya Lighter". This side would be worth it for the instrumental alone but Ammbush represents credibly, even though he's clearly not in Tame One's class by a longshot. If you want more information on how to pick up this hard to find single, write to Ma Dukes and request the 411 on this joint.

Music Vibes: 8 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 10 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 9 of 10

Originally posted: September 1998