A.Alikes, Fat Cat Kareem, Mos Def, N'Dea Davenport, Poetic, Profound ::
The Singles File Volume 002

as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

Coming live and direct to your set is yet another edition of that OHHLA feature known as 'The Singles File' wherein yours truly examines a crop of twelve inch singles and rates them on their content. This time around, we've got some supa slammin hits for that ass, so don't be caught snoozin!

Artist: Fat Cat Kareem
Title:  Fugazi b/w Money Game
Label:  Casino

Our first contender is Brooklyn's own Fat Cat Kareem, who made his rapping debut... in a Squeeze-R fruit juice commercial? Now before you think the man went out like Daddy-O on that ass, hold up. He comes correct on the single "Fugazi" and in the process coins a new NY way of saying "It's wack, bogus, phony and stupid." Over a beat which some of the elders among us will remember from EPMD's "Total Kaos", the Fat Cat rolls with a crisp timber and a natural flair for memorable punchlines, among them, "Niggaz panic, since I'm an iceberg, they're Titanics!". The b-side "Money Game" isn't quite as memorable, and the rhymes don't seem as well thought out: "More RapPages, than that magazine" -- what kid? Still the A-Side alone shows enough potential to get a thumbs up move on the joint!

Music Vibes: 8 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 7 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 7.5 of 10

Artist: Profound
Title:  The Hulk
Label:  Bomb Hip-Hop

From California's own Bomb Hip Hop label is a rapper known as Profound who drops the 12" "The Hulk" backed with "Warriors Song (Remix)" and "See Y'All". Word to the motherfucker I can't front on this shit, especially the A-Side. Pro's man Kashiem plays the Dr. David Banner part on the first half, then he drinks a secret military chemical he developed which unlocked his Gamma Ray potential and flips into The Hulkster, as played by Profound himself. Sampling from the theme song as did Killarmy on the jam "Wake Up", these cats score a winning combo due to the flavor and the flows; as they represent both the intellectual Dr. and the foaming at the mouth Hulk to a perfect Jekyll and Hyde T! Favorite line by Profound in part two: "It be smart, you to me, not anger!" The songs on the B-Side are nice as EFF too. I can relate to Profound's "Warriors Song" a lot: like me, he first heard old school rap at the tender age of 9, and even though his first rhymes were "cat and hat" he swore to keep writing and developing. He describes his flows as "ripped from my heart and my head" and says "nobody understood how good was this little brother". I feel you Pro, I feel you. This cat is not gonna stay on the unknown for long if he keeps dropping shit like this!

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

Artist: A.Alikes, Poetic
Title:  Walk With a Bop b/w Savior
Label:  Bomb Hip-Hop

"This Side" is handled by A.Alikes on "Walk With a Bop" in a song that can only be described as total SCHMOOVE. Not being hyper like his compadre on this single is not a downer: rather this God leaves you feeling pleasantly refreshed despite what is almost paradoxically hardcore lyrics, including a chorus that chants "I walk with a bop, give a fuck about a cop". It's like Junior M.A.F.I.A. met Brand Nubian!

On "That Side" we have Poetic -- some may know him better as Grym Reaper from The Gravediggaz, but Poetic is the original handle he had as half of the crew Too Poetic known for the classic underground twelve inch "God Made Me Funky". His song Savior has a chorus so sweet it needs to be quoted in it's ENTIRETY:

   I'm bout to wreak havoc over beats this year/Labels ain't tryin to promote this year/ Commercial radio shows, they just don't care/The Savior of the Rap World, just appeared/ To my peers on the pavement, time is near/To my peeps on my wavelength, have no fear/ Ten years of politickin made me aware: my soul is more precious than rap careers

How ill is that? Living up to his name with ill flows: "The God is twisted like Bavarian pretzels," and a message to his fellow rappers to elevate their game, he comes off -- especially when the song abruptly ends with "I'm too hype to finish this shit!"

Be on the lookout for this "Birth" album when it drops, looks like it'll be nice!

Music Vibes: 9 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 8 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 8.5 of 10

Artist: N'Dea Davenport f/ Mos Def
Title:  Bullshittin'
Label:  BMG

"Bullshittin'" is sung by the equally beautiful and talented N'Dea Davenport. Mos Def hops on the train to bless the session with some lyrics and he is in top form on this appearance:

   Yo check it out I'm at the dance doin my thing right (right)/ She was at the dance with her crew (that's right)/The eye contact, POWERFUL impact, amazed/ Beats knockin, see shorty locked in my gaze (yeah she know me)/I'm tryin to keep it low key/ (Who you wit B?) I'm in here all by my lone-ly/Yo slowly, in dreamtime, queen make, the bee-line/ We traded mathematicals, energy was magical...

I won't spoil the rest for you, cause this one has the potential to unlock barriers between fans of hip-hop, acid jazz, and R&B and get all THREE bumping hips on the dancefloor. The song title and the vibe could almost be described as silly and playful, but the groove is anything but. This jam is FONKY.

Music Vibes: 10 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 9 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 9.5 of 10

Originally posted: November 1998
source: www.OHHLA.com