I think “International Supersport” proves I’m a glutton for punishment. After “Reservoir Dog” I was ready to never review another Schoolly D album, despite my abiding respect for him as a gangster rap pioneer, Philadelphia musical icon, and the signature voice who introduced us to the Aqua Teen Hunger Force. Even though his catalogue continues to be increasingly miserable the later into it you get, I was nonetheless compelled to dig deeper when I discovered “International Supersport” was a digital-only release. Compact disc sales in the U.S. peaked in the year 2000 and have been in decline ever since, but did nearly 8 times as many sales in 2010 as they did a decade later, when they bottomed out at 31.6 million units sold. I’m sure someone would have bought a Schoolly D album in 2010 when this came out — probably me. I have a blind spot for D bordering on stupidity.

Perhaps it’s apt then that the first song on this album is called “I Can’t Help Myself.” Owing to a lack of liner notes I can’t tell you who produced this (or any other track) but if I were them I wouldn’t want to take credit. At first it sounds like the kind of rap you’d hear in the outro of an ATHF episode, but the charm wears off when he runs out of things to say and recycles his signature catchphrases from the 1980’s. Then he gives up all together and the next 60% of the song (over two minutes) is unnamed guest stars repeating a few lines over and over. It’s hard to even call it a “song” at all. It’s more like a demo no one bothered to finish.

“Twelve Ounce Mouse” shows his affection for [adult swim] is in full effect from the title alone, and he probably owes them that love given his career would be on life support without their help. I think he might have done some background music for the Mouse, but none of that is on this album. For what it’s worth though this is the second closest to a good Schoolly D song to be found here. It actually feels like a classic “Saturday Night” style tale (at least for the first verse) where he gets held up by a cop for his entire stash. The vocals are blown out and the instrumental wears out its welcome before the song ends, leaving a woman singing aimlessly until the beat just STOPS. Please remember that I said this is the second best “International Supersport” had to offer as we continue down this dark road.

“Love Struck” is another song that seems to be more about the unnamed guest stars than the billed artist. Some woman keeps telling us about how tight her pussy is, then Schoolly D tells us repeatedly he’s “rocking rolling jamming mixing,” then she tells us again how much D (or whoever she’s talking to) loves her coochie. “I put my thang up her skirt/I told her baby doll it might hurt/And that’s the way I like to flirt.” I’d say these nursery school rhymes are beneath D, but based on some of his previous output that’s just not true. The song’s farting synthesizers don’t make either of them come off any better.

“Can’t Stop My Game” is worse. Schoolly D decides that rapping a dirty version of “now I lay me down to sleep” is a good idea, then someone on production decides that modulating the vocals with AutoTune is a good idea, then someone mixes in guitars from a jam band that don’t fit either. It’s like the worst possible mash up of the Beastie Boys and Nirvana — all noise and no jam. It’s not quite the “I want to never hear again” levels of bad that you’d get with IceJJFish, but one listen is way more than enough.

“Family Affair” might be the one song that can redeem this album. Eight more tracks of this would have been tolerable. The singers are decent, the musicians sound like they found a groove, and Schoolly D’s vocals are not distorted to oblivion. Considering that the album was only sold digitally it might be worth purchasing this song a la carte… no, no it’s not. Even this passable track is not one-tenth as good as vintage 1980’s D. It’s like a ghost that has haunted us since then whispering in the darkness. You can just barely discern a bit of sound that reminds you of something that was once good. It’s an echo of a past that’s long gone.

Appropriately enough we end on a song where D repeats the phrase “I’m going back, yeah I’m going way back” over and over. He’s trying to return to his era of greatness with “Swinging On My…” but never quite gets there, probably because he doesn’t even have the balls to say “Dick” in the song title. He vows to do it for the old school because that’s what the old school would do, but the old school D wouldn’t give a fuck who he pissed off whether it was a song title or the lyrics within. At least it’s a tolerable finale to “International Supersport,” but it also makes me relieved that it’s over. This didn’t need to exist and to anyone but an overly devoted fan of Schoolly D (that’s me) it never will. It’s an album best left forgotten.

Schoolly D :: International Supersport
3Overall Score