According to their press material K-Tel Disco and Jeff Effect used to be members of a ground called the Phunk Junkeez that were signed to Interscope in the 1990s. The group was a rap-rock hybrid group and I assume the genre didn’t hit at the time and they were dropped. Reunited and back in 2006 “Funky Dedication” looks and sounds like the album they never got to drop in the 1990s. By that I mean that K-Tel Disco and Jeff Effect sound dated and not in a good way. Their style, topic matter, and beats are trapped in 1995. While great albums released decades ago still sound great today, mediocre albums from the same era sound even worse in today’s context. “Funky Dedication” would have been mediocre ten years ago, and sounds that way in 2006.
The album opens with “Battlin’ Me” where K-Tel and Jeff spit battle rhymes that might have won a battle in 1985 but do nothing for today’s rap fan. The track is even more humorous considering that later on in the album K-Tel declares he’s not a “battle rapper.” The old school vibes continue on tracks like “Big Gold Chain,” “Real Rhymer” and “Sucker MC’s Pause.” The results are the same as the beats sound old school but aren’t necessarily classic and the rhymes are stuck in the 80s.
Now I’m no fool and I do know what this is. With a name like “Funky Dedication” it’s clear that K-TD and JE are purposely making an album with old school beats and rhymes, but the question that remains is why anyone would make such an album or think it’s a good idea. Sure some elitists complain about how bad today’s music is and how great anything from 15 years ago was, so it’s plausible this album has some sort of audience. But as I said before, average music is average no matter when it was made. K-Tel Disco and Jeff Effect claim to be trying to pay homage to the past while making fresh music, but end up sounding like their doing old school karaoke. Who cares about a “Big Gold Chain” in 2006 and isn’t the proper term a “phat” gold chain? Is a gold chain or Adidas jump suit such a great thing that anyone would want to be stuck in the 80s just so they could be stylish rocking them? And to ask the real question, what’s the difference between Slick Rick’s obsession with gold and Paul Wall’s platinum grill? The point being that the old school isn’t all that different from what’s happening today in terms of substance. Technology has made it easier to produce music which leads to a lot of bad music and also a lot of good music. Why anyone would consider this a bad thing I really don’t know. Why someone would prefer a simple 4 bar loop as opposed to more advanced music and live instruments is even harder to explain.
I’m as big a fan of good rap music no matter when it was made, but this album was one big mistake. If I or any other rap fan wants to hear some average old school music we can go back and listen to the countless albums we passed on over the years, but the same reason I’m not running out to cop every album released 13 years ago is the same reason I have no interest in “Funky Dedication.” See, I never get an itch for the “old school.” Sure, more than occasionally you’ll hear me bumping anything from Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five to Gangstarr and DOC, but the reason I do it is because it is good music and not because I’m reminiscing. With that said, K-Tel and Jeff sound like they have some talent both on the mic and behind the boards, but it needs to be put to better use.