Friday, July 29, 2016

Answer Record Week 3, Day 6: Was Ice Cube Tha 1 After All? (NWA DIss)

And we turn the tables one last time to conclude this Answer Record Week, with NWA getting some unexpected feedback from the ladies. Youtube version is here.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Answer Record Week 3, Day 5: Further Sucker Deliberation

Of course you're familiar with "Sucker MCs," you may even be familiar with "Sucker DJs," but apparently in 1985, someone felt there was still more to be said on the subject. And they don't like Run DMC very much. Youtube version is here.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Answer Record Week 3, Day 4: Who Was Sally and Why Did Everybody Diss Her?

This one isn't quite an answer record, though it has connections, and the A-side basically answers the b-side.  But it's a weird, interesting 80s rap situation that I've been meaning to talk about. Youtube version is here.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Answer Record Week 3, Day 3: Ex-Jawns

An obscure, Jersey answer record from the early 90s… By the way, this is the only record on Trump-Rap Records, but TGK was on an stablished label called Trumpet Records, so I assume this was an offshoot of that. Oh, and the Youtube version is here.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Answer Record Week 3, Day 2: Old School Gamers

Here's a nice old school pair of records. Not the first, but a very early gender reversal from hip-hop's disco era. Youtube version is here.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Answer Record Week 3, Day 1: Who Rules the World?

We start out Answer Record Week 3 with a bit of a two-parter: first a very famous one, followed by a rather obscure answer to the same record. Youtube version is here.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

The Lost Juice Crew All Star

So, we all know the main artists who were part of The Juice Crew: Big Daddy Kane, Kool G Rap, Biz Markie, Master Ace, etc. And there's one lesser known MC, Glamorous, who still gets her credit. She was on the "Juice Crew All Stars" record and did that "Oh! Veronica" answer with Craig G. In fact, I just heard Craig shout her out in a video he did about the Crew's history. But there's another female rapper in the Juice Crew, who seems to be even more slept on: Debbie D.

Debbie D was also on that Juice Crew All Stars record; she has the first verse on "Evolution" as Harriet Tubman. And actually, at the time, she was pretty much the most established artist out of any of those guys on that record. Shan, G Rap, Craig G... it wasn't quite everybody's first record, but all those guys were pretty new: young artists on their way up. But Debbie D goes way back. You remember the group Us Girls in the movie Beat Street with Sha Rock and Lisa Lee? Well, Debbie D was the third Us Girl - the tall one in the black dress who raps first. Debbie's hip-hop roots go all the way back to days before hip-hop was on wax. There are clips of her performing with Wanda Dee on Youtube, but she was better known as one of The Jazzy 5 MCs . Not to be confused with the Jazzy 5 who recorded the classic "Jazzy Sensation" with Afrika Bambaataa, this crew featured Debbie alongside Jazzy Ace, Busy E, Darryl Dee (her brother), Sinister Rock and DJ Patti Duke.

And so what we have here is her debut solo record from 1986 on Reality Records, Doug E Fresh's old label. And look at the credits on the label, and what do we see? Produced by Marley Marl. Also, mixed by Marley Marl, co-produced and arranged by Tyrone Williams, a.k.a. The Juice Crew's own Fly Ty. Oh, and there's one more producer listed, somebody named J. Rivas. Who's that? None other than the Mr. Magic himself! So yeah, I'd have to say this record is pretty thoroughly Juice Crew vetted.

So how is it? Well... here's why today's post is a text blog instead of a video. Interesting to learn about, but nothing you need to hear. The song is called "The Other Woman," and lyrically it's pretty interesting. She's rapping about her man and how she knows he's cheating on her. "I still am the one he comes home to. But never the less, he still sees her, too. He doesn't think I know, but I get it all, especially from the ones right down the hall."

But she's using this whisper rap delivery, and the instrumental is very low-key, with this simple keyboard or xylophone loop laid over some basic programmed beats and recurring hand claps. It's just so low energy, there's no life to it. You have to push yourself just to pay attention to it. It's similar in tone to Doug E Fresh's love song "The Plane (So High)," but that has a much more captivating sample, stronger hook, and more emotion in Doug's delivery. On "The Other Woman," Debbie's doing the style just fine, I guess; it's really the instrumental that's letting her down. It feels like an unfinished rough draft of a song.

There's a shorter Radio Edit and a Dub mix, too; but you're not going to want to bother with those. She has a B-side, though, but unfortunately, it's too similar to the A-side. It's called "Tom, Dick & Harry" and it's basically about the same thing: her man's trying to play her, giving her the old Tom, Dick & Harry routine - essentially still trying to play the field. So her man's cheating on her again. An interesting premise once, but you really want to flip this record over and hear something else.

It's another slow, boring beat, which again is the real drawback. On the intro, Debbie D seems to be saying, "Gary Love, please, just if you will, give me a beat that fits my skill." And there's two names in the song writing credits: Debbie's and Gary Peterson. I thought he might be an in-house Reality Records guy, but I looked at a bunch, and his name doesn't seem to pop up on any others. Maybe he was her DJ? And maybe Marley and co. didn't actually make this beat? I mean, it's not bad. It's just slow and boring. But it's not sloppily made or anything. And it's too sonically removed removed from a lot of other stuff coming out on Reality.

At least Debbie D doesn't do the whisper thing on this one and uses her full voice. But on the other hand, she actually seems to be putting less energy into it. Or maybe it's just the beat pulling everything down. Ultimately, this whole record isn't embarrassing or anything; it's just kind of a misfire. It's too bad Debbie D didn't get another shot, because you can tell from her old school performances she could definitely deliver something a lot catchier.

Now discogs connects her with another Debbie D who recorded pop rap records on the Dutch label Rams Horn Records in the late 80s and early 90s, but those are two different people. The real Debbie D actually became a minister, and is now part of the "The Hip Hop Ministers Alliance" along with Kurtis Blow, Sparky D... oh, and fellow Juice Crew All Star Glamorous. Check out one of her sermons here! I kinda think it's too bad Marley didn't squeeze in one more track on In Control vol. 1 pairing up Debbie and Glamorous. It might've opened up a tough female side of the Crew with them signing to Cold Chillin' or something. But then again, I guess they only had room for one queen!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Just Somethin' Slammin'

I've got some fun, off-beat videos planned coming up, so I wanted to be sure and get at least one genuine, seriously dope record on the table first.  :)
(Youtube version is here.)