Positives Dealt With

26 years on from The Last Poets let’s have a look at a bit of middle 90’s hip-hop.  I’d pretty much fallen out of love with it at the time, bar a couple of Method Man tracks and Gravediggaz, I’d retreated back to all my old favourite artists, it all sounded either like they weren’t really trying (R&B? yuk!) and all the revelling in violence and booty just left me cold* – where did all the righteousness and politics go?

Dont be a Menace sampler 03

So maybe I wasn’t the best designated recipient for this 4-track sampler 12″ for the soundtrack to Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood**, featuring Ghostface Killah, Mobb Deep, Mona Lisa and Joe.

Now I think it does me great credit that I got past the first side of this 12″, it kicks off with Mona Lisa ‘Can’t Be wasting My Time’.  Let’s be positive here, let’s be nice.  The track has some pleasant piano on it.  Positives dealt with.  It’s not offensive, it just really isn’t my thing, basically syrupy soul wailing with a beat and a bit of a half-assed rap in the middle, courtesy of The Lost Boyz^.  This 4-minute track lasts at least 23 minutes.

The avenging techno angel of constructive criticism
The avenging techno angel of constructive criticism

Next up is a glimpse of the true, featureless, uncaring blandness that lies at the very epicentre of all evil – Slayer? pah! Deicide? double pah! {Insert name of favourite obscure crew of face-painted Norwegian church-torching happy chaps here}? Triple MF pah!  No, true evil is less obvious, wears fewer studs.  Let me introduce you to my namesake, Joe and ‘All The Things (Your Man Won’t Do)’, the first track on Satan’s ‘Date Mix’ (and not in a good way).

Girl, to me you’re like a diamond
I love the way you shine
A hundred million dollar treasure
I’ll give the world to make you mine

I’ll light a thousand candles all around
Show me to the subway, I’ll go down
Nothin’ can be sweeter than the sound of makin’ love
Baby, when I start I just can’t stop
I’ll love you from the bottom to the top
Nothin’ is forbidden when we touch

This is the work of a psychopath.   I hate vile lovey-dovey smoothy-woothy shite like this, it just sounds like he’s not trying to rap properly.  Basically as far as I can tell the whole song is saying ‘woman, I’ll kiss you downstairs’, as if that’s some fucking big deal.  Initiate / reciprocate and grow up dude!^^  If you could amplify excrement, this track is what it would sound like.  Positives dealt with.

Dont be a Menace sampler 01

Luckily the Don’t Be A Menace sampler has a flip side and it’s damn good.  Ghost Face (featuring about 9 other dudes I haven’t got the energy to name here) ‘Winter Warz’, is up first and has a great, slightly jarring menacingly hypnotic quality about it.  If you look at the lyrics it is pretty much the usual boasting and braggadocio^*, but done with a bit of class by men who really sound like they mean it.  I bought Ghostface Killah Ironman purely on the strength of this track.

Dont be a Menace sampler 04

Last up, and journeying in the opposite direction to Joe, is Mobb Deep ‘Up North Trip’, which is possibly even better again.  This has a pleasingly old school sound to it, cleverly primitive compared to all the Wu Tang’s sonic density (which I’m not a fan of) and some clever pop hooks, masking some pretty gruesome lyrics.  Again despite all the bragging there’s something a little melancholy stirred through the mix of this song and the knowledge that the outcome is always going to be death or prison – the ‘up North trip’ of the title.  This didn’t inspire any purchases, but I can spot quality.

Positives dealt with.

629 Down.

PS: I tried to watch the film once, but let’s keep this post overwhelmingly positive.


*when you have crazy booty like me, you can be self-sufficient on that score.

**let’s just call it Don’t Be A Menace, otherwise I’m going to end up in  finger hospital by the end of this post.

^sadly not Corey Feldman, Kiefer Sutherland, Jason Patric and co. that would have been shitloads better.

^^and that’s coming from a man who still finds AC/DC’s ‘Givin The Dog a Bone’, hilariously funny every time I hear it.

^*that’s for you Bruce, I know you love that word.

23 thoughts on “Positives Dealt With

    1. I haven’t listened to it in a long time, so I’m just going my old memories but the first track in particular (Iron Maiden) was just amazing – worth the price of the LP by itself. Have you got it?

  1. Oooft. I mind that movie. One of those was typical spoof shenanigans, if I remember. Terrible. Awful. Too harsh to say it was creatively redundant?

    As for this, definitely worth it for Ghostface and Mobb Deep.

      1. The Infamous was a good album. Perhaps qualifying as really good. So too was Hell On Earth. Other albums have some good tracks, but nothing quite as consistent as those two.

  2. I had no idea this existed! And from the sounds of it, only half of it is any good. Still, I laughed out loud many times, and nodded at your sage comments on the good stuff.*

    * I could say that about all of your posts.

      1. Sounds pretty ok, I woulda dug this back then. I remember Gee Street from when I worked at Apollo Records in Buffalo around ’94-95′, but never saw anything from this group. Around this time everyone I knew had gotten into shitty techno and the only ‘Hip-Hop’ anyone ever played at a party was Paul’s Boutique! small town shit man, we almost got into fights over trying to change the music at a party…and I can’t listen to Paul’s Boutique, I liked that album too!

      2. The other one everyone forgets about were The Goats – I’ve seen them three times at least, ‘Tricks of The Shade’ was a genius LP.

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