Hip-Hop Records From 1990 Reviewed
Artist: Lord Finesse & DJ Mike Smooth
Title: Funky Technician - LP
Label: Wild Pitch - 1990
Producer: DJ Premier, Diamond, Showbiz, Mike Smooth
Lord Finesse, "The Funkyman," wrecked shop like a terrorist back in
the day with this phat, obese, rotund debut LP, and although he gets much respect
from his peers and many in the hip-hop community, he hasn't yet received the public
attention he deserves. His trademark rap vocal style is described by his name,
a smooth-as-silk delivery combined with a street wise, no-nonsense lyrical attack.
Long before Das EFX went gold with "They Want EFX," Finesse took that
funky beat and used it for the title cut "Funky Technician" (with Diamond
D flexin' his production talents) and delivered rhymes like these: "I got
skills so don't try approachin' me/I keep rhymes in stores just like groceries/Dont
try to snap troop 'cause this man is strapped/Come correct you be leaving home
handicapped." Another highlight is when Lord Finesse flows pimp-style on
"Strictly For the Ladies" (Premier behind the tables and tracks), and
when Andre the Giant guests on "Back To Back Rhyming" and "Keep
It Flowing." With Finesse flaunting his skillful style and the producers
reading like a who's who of East Coast beat and cut masters, "Grandpa Finesse"
doesn't lie when he states that "They gonna get crazy funky for y'all tonight,"
on the intro track!
Artist : Special Ed
Title : Legal - LP
Label: Profile - 1990
Produce : Howie Tee & Artist
Special is one of the underrated lyricists in rap and he proves that he has skills
on his second album (Legal) as well as the first LP. "She said I'm a member
of the booster squad/ and I'm thinkin to my self I'd knock the boots so hard/
that's what I did/ until we had a kid/ now the freaks got half my money, plus
the crib, plus the car, plus the limo with the bar/ but I guess that's what you
get when you're livin like a star!" Ed is dope, and so is the production
throughout this album. Don't pass up "The Mission," "I'm the Magnificent
(remix)," "Livin Like A Star," and "5 Men and a Mic"
which features cameos from Special Ed's two brothers, Little Shawn, and even DJ
Artist: L.L. Cool J.
Title: Mama Said Knock You Out - LP
Producer: Marley Marl
Label: Def Jam/Columbia - 1990
Anytime I think about Uncle's landmark LP "Mama Said Knock You Out"
one of the first things that pops into my mind is the unforgettable first line
of the title cut: "Don't call it a comeback, I've been here for years."
After becoming one of rap's first true platinum stars with the success of 1985's
"Radio" LP, L.L. faced significant negative criticism from many other
rappers and from a finicky rap audience always looking for the new style around
the release of his third LP, '87s "Walking With A Panther." He
silenced most of his critics with the diverse, jam-packed "Mama Said..."
LP and it put him back on top, so to speak. Legendary hip-hop producer/dj Marley
Marl proved to be the perfect musical accompaniment for L.L.'s wicked lyrical
abilities on the mic. He updated his "I Cant Live Without My Radio"
with "The Boomin' System," he created ferocious battle rhymes with the
title cut "Murdergram," and "To Da Break Of Dawn" (the latter
ripping apart Kool Moe Dee, Hammer, and Ice-T like a leashed junkyard pit-bull
not fed for a few days). Furthermore, how many emcees can exhibit creative storytelling
abilities displayed in tracks like "Cheesy Rat Blues," and "Milky
Cereal?", not many. And for all those not hip to the "sex sells"
aspect of the music biz, L.L. also takes care of his many female fans on cuts
like "Around The Way Girl," "Mr. Goodbar," and "6 Minutes
of Pleasure." In other words, he covered hella ground, made much mail, and
kicked some booty in the 9-0.
Artist: Above the Law
Title: Livin' Like Hustlers - LP
Label: Ruthless/Epic - 1990
Producer: Dr. Dre
This mackadocious joint is to this day one of the perfect Hip-Hop examples of
music to roll by: cruisin' in ya ride with the dark, ominous tint; the fat,
shining rims; and the deep, bellowing bass of woofers loud enough for 5-0 to
pull ya over and hassle ya for "noise pollution"... This album was
the bomb! Claiming hustlin as opposed to bangin', ATL came upon the rap
game wit' enough attitude and talent to make ya eardrums believe their player
philosophy, and with Dr. Dre providing some of his trademark intoxicating beats,
this entire LP swings like it ain't no thang. Cold 187um and KMG rappin' over
everything from Isaac Hayes to Quincy Jones' old theme for the Bill Cosby Show
works like a charm, and when the whole N.W.A. posse gets busy on "The Last
Song," once again it's on.