I could write this huge, convoluted intro about the history of Psycho Les, Ju Ju, and Fashion. I could write about their history with the Native Tongues, their apprenticeship under those beat masters, how they made their first appearance on an album by producing a cut for Monie Love. But all I really need to say is one sentence.
You can’t front on the Beatnuts.
At least not musically. Lyrically? Hey. Simple shit rocks parties, and that’s all these cats have ever aspired to do, and they do it well. Their first release as a collective was the EP “Intoxicated Demons” a tight little package of dusty drums, acoustic bass and flute loops, all jazzed and funked the hell up over goofy, smart, at times ill and controversial one liners.
The intro, “World’s Famous Intro” builds a mood nicely, as a simmering, sliding bassline rises over a cut up sample..and then the drums drop like a sack of bricks, and it’s on from there. I DARE you not to nod your head. It’ leads perfectly into the more calm, but just as head noddable “World’s Famous” with the chant “Beatnuts Ya’ll! Beatnuts Ya’ll!” hyping up the chorus, after admissions of stealing sides of vinyl for their breaks, and calling sucker DJ’s “snuffleupagus.”
You got a basically useless interlude (Interlude? On a EP? WHY?) after that, “Engineer talkin Shit” that promises some kind of hilarious payoff after hearin the engineer talk mad shit about the nuts getting a contract. Instead, you get some British Queen crowing at them..eh.
And then the mood shifts into straight rowdy house party mode with “Psycho Dwarf,” which is probably better known by it’s chorus: “I wanna FUCK, Drink BEER, and SMOKE SOME SHIT!” Production is ill as hell, coupled with serviceable lyrics about who’s getting fucked, fucked up, and what they’re getting fucked up on. This is followed by the brag track “No Equal,” a spanish tinged jazzy track with a expertly cut up chorus juxtaposing Rakim and Q-Tip. While these cats talking about their proficiency on the mic is kinda like Chris Dudley bragging about shooting better than Shaq at the line, the beat, as the beat usually does on a Beatnuts track, makes you forgive it all, and actually think it’s better than it has any right to be.
The same goes with “Reign of the Tec,” one of the tracks that REALLY got the Beatnuts noticed, with the infectious chorus “When I pop the trunk, HIT THE DECK!” and Sadat X sampled on the chorus/title. Probably the funniest line on the album, “Yo I’ll shoot your mom’s if I have to,” was heavily criticized at the time for “Going too far.” Whatever. The shit is comedy. Beatnuts are comedians. They’re the only rappers who have even come close to reaching the comedy levels that previous kings Black Sheep hit. Something about those Native Tongue outsiders…
“Quality and Bushmen off the Top” showcases a fat little beat over a pretty laughably wack freestyle (“Yo, where the fuck is Pete? He’s not in the studio, where’s his feet?”) then the closest thing to a blah track on here “Third of the Trio.” and the EP finally closes out with the first taste the public got of the Beatnuts particular brand of perversity, “Story,” a funny track about the sexual exploits of the Beatnuts. Once again, fat track, clever manipulation of the Beastie Boys on the hook, and a couple laugh-out-loud-first-time-you-hear-it lines like “It’s like this ya’ll! I bust a BeatNut and take a Piss ya’ll!”
Lyrically, come on, you ain’t listenin to the Beatnuts for lyrics. That’s like asking Ol Dirty for decorating tips. They make party shit, funk bomb shit for you to shake ass to and have fun with.
But Musically? I say it again.
You can’t front on the Beatnuts.