Gangsta rap has made quite a mark on Hip-Hop. There has been no denying its selling power ever since NWA's "Efil4zaggin" scaled the Billboard mountain in 1991. Since it became popular in the 90s, there has been no shortage of hardcore acts looking to make their mark on the mainstream. Though many gangsta rappers have reached success comparable to NWA, far fewer have reached the level of quality that NWA is known for. Yet they keep trying. Gangsta rap has produced several classic moments ("Shook Ones Pt. II" jumps to mind), but for the most part, nothing to write home about. Recently, there have been notably few flashes of brilliance from this sub-genre. With that in mind, I present to you: "Fuck Hip-Hop Volume 1," by the Insane Clicc.
"Playas run up in here, playa, where the hell they come from?
Phoenix, AZ, playa, valley of the siz-un!"
This is the only introduction this group needs. They are from Arizona, they are "playas," and they like to carry guns. On "Blow It Up," they command the audience to "blow it up, man, blow it up/ keep on rippin' these niggas until they had enough." A minimalist beat propels the song along, but the vocals consist of numerous voices yelling at the top of their lungs. So far, not so good. The first song is completely devoid of originality. Eventually, the track fades into "Fotray On Mind." The hard-hitting beat drops, and gets me a little excited. Then…the rapping starts.
"Niggas be hatin'" on them, and I think it might be because they can't understand what the Insane Clicc is saying. A good portion of the first verse of "Fotray On Mind" is unintelligible, a raspy mumbling punctuated with emphasized bars like "we leaving muthafuckas mesmerized," and "we do it all for the fame." The hook isn't exactly riveting, either. It's just more of the same. By this point, I got a sinking feeling that I knew what the entire album would sound like.
To tell you the truth, I maintained hope that the monotony of the screaming vocals and gangsta swagger might be broken at some point on "Fuck Hip-Hop." Unfortunately, that never happens. A low point is reached on "Clicc Wit This," which features an insufferable hook and an annoying beat. There is also an odd R&B track called "Insane Holiday," which thankfully is something different, despite still having the grating vocals. At least the chorus is easy on the ears. At this point, the listener will be looking for anything else as a change of pace, which "Insane Holiday" does provide. Other than this, though, they don't stray from their formula.
Following the "Insane Holiday" that they take is a song called "Fucc You Up." Followed by "Last Of A Dying Breed." Followed by "Scream." You get the idea. The production on a couple of these songs is actually quite good, but the vocals dominate every cut, overshadowing the music completely. Rounding out the album is more yelling and cussing, bringing the final track count to sixteen with "Murda."
This Clicc obviously has one thing on their collective minds. What I don't understand is the title of their album. Can someone please explain to me the purpose of naming this "Fuck Hip-Hop Volume 1"? I don't think the Insane Clicc even mentions Hip-Hop, let alone validates the cryptic title. A better name might have been "Fuck the Haters." There really is nothing on "Fuck Hip-Hop" besides rants about the thug life. Maybe they are trying to say that they don't care about anything, music included. In that case, the title does function perfectly. They certainly make it abundantly clear throughout this record that they just don't care.
It really is too bad. There are a couple of nice beats that are lost in the irritating lyrics of "Fuck Hip-Hop." For the most part, however, there is nothing unique, or even slightly interesting on the record. The rappers, nailing the angry yelling delivery down, wear the listener's ear out. The lyrics, when they can be understood, consist of loud, profane references to being hard and staying strapped. I am not saying that there is necessarily anything inherently wrong with that. Several gangsta rap acts have pulled this off in the past, but the Insane Clicc lacks any sort of originality or diversity in subject matter. It is very difficult to listen to the same exact thing, executed in piercing fashion, for sixty minutes. An EP with five or six songs, selected with care according to the quality of production, might have held my attention a bit. As it stands, though, "Fuck Hip-Hop Volume 1" is simply way too much. If this moves units regionally, more power to them. No matter what, however, I doubt it will last too long in your system.
Music Vibes: 5 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 2 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 3.5 of 10
Originally posted: April 20, 2004