For reasons that are unfathomable even to me, it’s now apparent that I will ultimately review every album Schoolly D ever released. I honestly could have stopped at “Saturday Night” because that was the high water mark of his entire career, and if it weren’t for Aqua Teen Hunger Force he could have easily slid into “Where Are They Now?” obscurity. Nevertheless the renewed interest ATHF brought to a true progenitor of gangster rap was well deserved. Even if it’s comical to read Wikipedia entries that state “the album was a commercial disappointment” or “the record failed to chart,” the truth is that D’s relevance extends far beyond the success of any one album (or lack thereof). If you don’t acknowledge how influential and funky records like “Gucci Time”, “P.S.K.” and “Saturday Night” are then you aren’t telling the full story of Philadelphia, the rise of the anti-hero in pop culture, and the fundamental shift from lighter rap fare to darker more “cinematic” rap records in the mid-to-late 1980’s.
“Another Sign” is the only song I remember getting any traction off this album. I can’t say that it charted or helped the performance of this release (I have no evidence of either) but I know it got play on MTV back in the day. In fact if you could find a twelve inch or CD single of it, I’d recommend you grab it and skip the rest of this album. D’s lack of interest in his raps is just as clear here as on any other song, but the guitar samples and the uncredited singer on the hook carry D exactly as far as he’d go in 1994. That’s not far, but at least it’s not rock bottom.
At least there’s a self-evident honesty to songs like “I Wanna Get Dusted.” I firmly believe Jesse Weaver is not putting on a persona here. This was a statement of what interested him at this point in his life, and rapping was definitely not it. He had achieved some notoriety from his songs appearing in Abel Ferrara films, but not enough to bank off it commercially, so he just went through the motions and churned out albums like “Welcome to America” with as little effort as possible. The best thing I can say about Schoolly D’s sixth studio album is that it’s not the nearly unlistenable mess that his 21st century release “International Supersport” is. That’s it. I highly recommend you don’t buy or listen to this CD.