The Beatnuts, Choclair, Chris Lowe, KCyee, The Nobodies ::
The Singles File Volume 005

as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

We may have skipped a month, but our style has not skipped a beat. Welcome to Volume 5 of The Singles File; where the latest in new twelve inches, cassette singles, and CD-5's are put under the microscope for a look at what's new on hip-hop's Final Frontier.

Artist: The Nobodies
Title:  It's Hip-Hop b/w What You Hear
Label:  Mends Recordings

Hear to dispel the illusions of North Carolina, The Nobodies return with a bouncy song which melds the bouncy vibe of old school rap beats to modern lyrical skills. "World-wide like web sites *modem sound* yeah you heard right/forever live, me and my Tribe Quest to eliminate the Jive/it's hip-hop so feel the vibe" from the second verse illustrates the kind of skills they flex on "It's Hip-Hop", while the B-Side "What You Hear" is also fresh, just not quite as bouncy. Be on the lookout for them to make noise with their new album in the nine-nine AND for the return of YAGGFU Front. You definitely can't say they're Nobody anymore!

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

Artist: KCyee
Title:  Whatcha Gonna Do b/w Queens Life
Label:  Harvest Music

Oh boy, where do I start on this one. The press release says, "KCyee has the potential to have the great success of a Puff Daddy or Will Smith." Well, not too much argument there, if you catch my drift. His first single "Whatcha Gonna Do?" has all the makings of a typical song by the above named artists. He talks about money, women, Versace, Dom P, cars, clubbing, "true playas", etc. I think my favorite line is, "If a playas' hatin' me, then I'm hatin' him too." Boy, is that good or what. The beat, again, is typical of what you're likely to hear on the radio or something like that. A 90's revamp of a 70's disco track, I can really see people gettin' jiggy wit it on that track. If you like Ma$e, Puffy or Will Smith, then you will probably like this too. HA!

"Queens Life" f/ Stress & Mesha, is more of the same over a "harder" track. They really should have gotten some one better to sing that really bad hook. They really should have came with better lyrics. They really should have come with a better beat, it was "aight" at best. Shoulda, woulda, coulda….but didn't. I do have to say that both these cats (KCyee & Stress) have decent tone & flow control on this cut, easy to listen to. Too bad the song itself isn't.

Music Vibes: 6 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 5 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 5.5 of 10

Artist: The Beatnuts
Title:  Watch Out Now b/w Turn it Out
Label:  Relativity Records

With any group that has the audacity to call themselves "Beatnuts" you expect a certain amount of finesse on musical production - and on this newest single, they do not dissapoint. Unforunately, Al'Tariq (formerly Kool Fashion) is still sorely missed lyrically, as this duets mic finesse continues to plummet. JuJu manages to spark a single nice verse on the b-side, even though it's on some party guns and liquor ish. Otherwise, this entire single is forgettable other than the nutty beats and the cameo by Greg Nice, Greg N-I-C-E on the flip.

Music Vibes: 9 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 4 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 6.5 of 10

Artist: Choclair
Title:  Flagrant
Label:  ** White Label **

Back again to prove there's more North of 54-40 than Labatt's Blue, Choclair nicely rips a Saukrates produced track on "Flagrant" with some braggadocio type rhymes that would not be out of place on any New York mixtape. This proves to be an asset as well as a failing, as neither the A-side nor the remix on the flip packs much of a punch that you'll remember. It's listenable but it's not likely you'll say, "Who's that cat? I've got to get it," the day after. It serves notice Canada isn't to be slept on; but unfortunately, only for the three and a half minutes it's under the needle.

Music Vibes: 9 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 6 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 7.5 of 10

Artist: Chris Lowe f/ Large Professor
Title:  Uncut Action b/w Never Heard..
Label:  Bronx Science

The problem with putting Large Professor on your song is that no matter how good your skills are, you're likely to be overshadowed by people fiending for a taste of that ex-Main Source bass. They won't be dissapointed by Extra P's appearance on "Uncut Action", but Lowe does flip the script nicely with his "Newhaven to Queens" connection. Both sides are musically are lyrically palatable and won't leave you with a foul taste in your mouth. Chris Lowe is definitely worthy to be addressed by his real name - he won't need an MC alias for his rhymes.

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

Originally posted: June 10, 1999