As long as the vinyl continues to flow like the Pacific and the Atlantic, "Singles File" will continue to rock the planet. On our 11th (and now monthly) installment we take a look at both some older material (B-1, Bizarre, Screwball) and some new (Cash Brown, Kurupt, Willus Drummond). Let's get crackin!
Title: Cardinal Sins b/w The Life We Lead
Label: Rawkus Records
Sleeping would be a mistake; even though Large Professor's hypnotic tracks on both sides may induce unintended slumber. In fact, with the heavy presence of Kool G. Rap on the A-Side (he does the chorus and the third verse) you might expect something more brash. Instead, the simple two tone beat and birds chirping (a.k.a. +CARDINAL+ Sins) sound better when stripped of the rap; which is a shame since the rappers shine throughout. The solo flip may cause some to catch the ghost of Nasty Nas on his "Illmatic" days, as Extra P's beat induces B-1 to a strong resemblance of the pre-Escobar and Ginuwine underground heights he once held. It's the track that really holds this together - B's rap lyrics are prototypical CNN style thuggery - but the overall package is still pleasant to the ear canal.
Music Vibes: 7 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 6 of 10 TOTAL: 6.5 of 10
Title: Attack of the Weirdos EP
Label: Federation Records
If you haven't been sleeping on Detroit, you already know that Eminem was just the first of a Dirty Dozen set to be unleashed on the unsuspecting rap populace. Royce Da 5'9" is the most well-known of this crew, but Bizarre's got something fresh to offer too. The simple pulse of "What What" and guest appearance by Da Brigade is only a warm-up for the more comical and explosive "Trife Thieves" with Fuzz and Eminem; wherein Bizarre cribs from Em's sick style with lines like "I'm the reason niggaz come ten deep and end up leaving solo" and "Fuck around and get raped like one of Bill Clinton's interns." Unfortunately they chose to include instrumentals of "What What" and "Overreact" instead of "Trife Thieves" or the "Get the Dick" featuring The Outsidaz. I can't agree with the choice but I can easily recommend the quality lyrics and Bizarre's lyrical tuberculosis on wax!
Music Vibes: 8 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 8 of 10 TOTAL: 8 of 10
Artist: Cash Brown
Title: Clubber Lang b/w Last Man Standing
Label: Major League Ent.
8Off Agallah is not fucking around these days. Even though this is Cash Brown's project, Agallah makes his presence heavily felt by producing the beat, guest-rapping a verse AND contributing the chorus to "Clubber Lang". Don't worry, this is a GOOD thing - the wind instruments lacing the track provide the perfect backdrop for Cash, Ruck (of Heltah Skeltah), Matt Fingaz and Labba (Guesswhyld) to wreck the set. This time, Rocky will NOT win. The opposite end is also movie inspired (even including "Belly" samples) and features more of Cash Brown's straightforward rap style over an Ayatollah beat which is straight old school R&B. Combined with a Mobb Deep hook and even an 80's reference to "big bucks with no Whammies" for those who know their game shows, this twelve inch will cause all around smiles and head nods in any mix.
Music Vibes: 9 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 8 of 10 TOTAL: 8.5 of 10
Title: Ride With Us
Label: Antra Records
As a reviewer, I'm a bit confused - I was under the impression this single came out in 1999; yet this vinyl just arrived new in my mailbox and I've seen the video in rotation on "Rap City." Regardless, the song is a quality summer thump anthem for "California living" as Daz and Kurupt (still together even if they aren't Tha Dogg Pound) hoo-ride their way through a heavily G-funked out beat. There's not a lot here - a Radio Edit, the LP Version, and an instrumental and an acapella. Still it's enough. For blazing on your personal stereo system, funking up your mix tapes or bouncing your hydraulics on the highway, the "Rumble in the Jungle like Ali and Foreman" will rattle your speakers.
Music Vibes: 8 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 7 of 10 TOTAL: 7.5 of 10
Title: Who Shot Rudy? b/w You Love..
Label: Tommy Boy Records
It's about time somebody served New York's REAL most notorious thug on wax. Mr. Giuliani isn't even the only target, cause they come right out and say "Where the fuck is Dinkins?" too. It's all good as long as they bang with the rhyme and leave the real gats alone; at least they're letting Rudy know his reign isn't that popular to ALL New Yorkers. As the track's opening says, "If you see a Devil, smash him." Mike Heron's excellent "Rudy" track is matched by Godfather Don on "You Love to Hear the Stories" where Screwball represent for the Queensbridge with love to MC Shan's original "The Bridge" which put them on the map and paved the way for Nas to drop "Illmatic on all you faggots" and then Mobb Deep to blow it up. It's truly amazing when you think how much rap talent one tiny section of New York has turned out, and Screwball represents this fine tradition to the utmost.
Music Vibes: 9 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 9 of 10 TOTAL: 9 of 10
Artist: Willus Drummond
Title: L.A. Vacation b/w No Consequences
Label: Downs Elementary
Moving from Entaprisez Records to Downs Elementary, the new single "L.A. Vacation" is some heavily hardcore music stripped down to just a fat drum-track and a disturbing sample of Samuel Jackson going psycho. "MC's act hard, I laugh while they frown" epitomizes Drummond's lyrical concept and intent to be "the King-Kong of the three minute rap song." Also included for your listening pleasure is a song by J-Zone and Huggy Bear called "No Consequences" which is a madman's fantasy land of going on a rampage with no police officers where Zone "pisses on Broadway in broad day" and rolls through the ghetto pumping "Ice Ice Baby" while even finding the time to assassinate Rudy (a popular theme it seems). Zone's spooky singing mixed with the uptempo beat and the psychotic rhymes makes for a class A headtrip that even Roger Ebert would have to hold up both thumbs for!
Music Vibes: 9 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 9 of 10 TOTAL: 9 of 10
Originally posted: May 15, 2000