Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The Death City Boyz Vs. The Bopsey Twins

Sometimes you just talk about a good record.  This is a one shot single by a group called the Death City Boyz out of Clinton, NY, better known as Hell's Kitchen.  "The Bopsey Twins" came out in 1985 on Snowflake Records, the same label as DJ Polo's original group, The Terminators, and it's just a solid record all around.  Yeah, it's a record about girls (we'll come back to them in a minute), but the rapping by the three Boyz: Nasty Prince B, KMG and Johnny Rock is pretty strong.  But the real hook of this record is the phat production with super big beat, deep bassline, and very catchy electro elements, including cuts by their DJ Professor Paul.

Now, if the name "Bopsey Twins" sounds familiar, it's because it comes from a long running series of children's books called The Bobbsey Twins.  Seriously, there've been hundreds of them, going back to the early 1900s.  It was a boy and a girl and I think they solved mysteries... I never actually read them.  This record doesn't really have anything to do with those characters, though, it's just referring to "Bobbsey/ Bopsey twins" as a nickname for any two inseparable friends.  In fact, in this song, they're literal identical twins, two hot girls named Katie and Kim - one sexy, one shy - who each of the Death City Boyz have romantic run-ins with, and of course it's a misadventure, mistaking one for the other ("Now hold up, man, now it's me to do the dissin'.  I was goin' out with Kim, but it was Katie I was kissin'!").  I'm not quite sure if it's meant to be funny, but it's not really the story-telling aspect of this record that works.  The Boyz have great voices and flows for 1985, and high energy interplay with each other.  And again, they sound kind of hardcore for such a fluff topic, which goes great with the electro production, mixed by DJ Frankie Bones.

There are a couple mixes on the 12": Long Version, Short Version, Dub and X-Rated Version.  Despite the name, the lyrical differences between the X-Rated and other versions are pretty slim, and it really doesn't live up to its "X-Rated" name.  But it is a little more sexual, starting with the second verse, where the line, "found Katie in my house, in a nightgown" becomes "found Katie on my bed, without a blouse."  And at the end of the verse on the original, he brags "we did it mid-town style!"  But he says "doggie style" on the X-Rated.  Later, they call Katie a "ho," but on the original they say "she's so low."  Finally, in the last verse, Katie is either "the one I screwed" or "not the one for you," and she either got "horny" or "hot."  And the biggest difference is a whole extra couple of lines in the final verse, "yes, we hopped into the sack and she was ready to work.  And I thought in my mind I was Kimmie's first, because she started to scream, and she started to shout, and now the whole East Side knows that I busted her out," is only on the X-Rated Version.

Actually, I've been calling the Long Version the "original," but it's probably more likely they wrote the X-Rated version first, and the label asked them to rewrite those lines for radio.  Anyway, as you can see, the X-Rated version isn't exactly a Blowfly record; they probably thought the X-Rated was clean enough when they wrote it.  So, lyrically, I'd definitely say just go with the "X-Rated" version, because it sounds more natural, although the long version does also have some extra, funky instrumentation.

So, like I said, this was a one-off record for the Death City Boyz, meaning it was their only song.  But Prince B and KMG continued working with Frankie Bones and formed a singing group called Spirit Matter.  I'd say they were better rappers than singers, but they still had some solid, electro-style production, and released a couple respectable freestyle records, particularly 1989's "Betrayal."  But none of it was as dope as "The Bopsey Twins."


  1. Yo! Werner. Nice one.
    Is that Professor Paul from ESP who recorded for Select Records by any chance? ESP were the dope stuff.

    1. Good question! I would guess so, because it's not just the same name, but also New York artists in the mid-80s. But I can't find anything that really confirms it. Like, his real last name isn't in any of the credits, ESP don't thank the Death City Boyz in their album credits, or anything like that. But it seems like it's kinda gotta be the same guy.

  2. Thank you, Werner! That makes sense, good chance it's the ESP DJ Prof. Paul (Valoompadoom Pink! What a title for an LP that was!). Thanks for all the great hip-hop history - great to have you shining a light on these 'lost' hip-hop gems - highly appreciated. Peace out from the UK.