“A Puerto Rico, HOOOOOO!!”
Who knew a sample of Grand Wizard Theodore and some bass from Fred Wesley and The J.B.’s “More Peas” were all you needed to make a classic? I mean this with all admiration and no disrespect whatsoever — there’s absolutely NOTHING to “Puerto Rico.” Frankie Cutlass was the right man at the right place to put those elements together and create a record that was guaranteed to get a party started. Now as “More Peas” samples go I actually prefer “Soul Clap” by Showbiz & A.G., but at least Cutlass’ record lends itself well to seamlessly blending from Cutlass to the D.I.T.C. crew in a live mix… or at least it does if you’re any good on the 1’s and 2’s. Me? I was terrible.
Every song on the aptly named “DJ’s Only” only EP follows this same formula. Frankie Cutlass takes a break, takes a sample, and he loops it. These aren’t even disguised in any way. Every single thing he does is easily identifiable and recognizable, and I find that charming. I need to say this again just so I’m not misunderstood — there’s absolutely nothing to it. Anybody could have jacked samples of Doug E. Fresh & Slick Rick, Rakim, Smooth B and Large Professor and looped them to a beat on “Here We Go.” You know what though? I don’t care. I enjoy listening to it. If you needed a transition between one song and the next doing a live set, you could easily throw this on and take a break to drink some water or have a smoke.
When Frankie Cutlass says it’s for “DJ’s Only” that is almost literally true. Take the Stik-E Beats version of “Shake Whatcha Mama Gave Ya” for example. If you wanted to hear an actual rap song with Eddie Bo’s “From This Day On” you’d listen to Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth’s “The Creator.” (To this day I’m still sure Grand Puba and C.L. coached Pete Rock in the studio for that performance — but it worked.) This is a glorified loop. Nothing more, nothing less. Nobody’s rapping here. Cutlass isn’t even saying shit here. Everything is about the sound of the samples, but they sound really good.
I’m honestly not sure what else to tell you. “Puerto Rico” is such a legendary song that it’s been reissued countless times in countless forms, and even the “DJ’s Only” EP has been reissued more than once. Turntablism? There’s no tricks here. No scratches, no catches, maybe a few BPM matches, that’s it. Emcees? Just the ones who get quoted as he hits the pad on a sampling machine. This entire release is everything and nothing at the same time. It’s probably underwhelming to a whole lot of people, but those who appreciate it are gonna love the FUCK out of it just for the sound. Frankie Cutlass may not go down as the all time greatest producer or deejay, but his sense of timing was impeccable and “Puerto Rico” remains a classic to this day.