Saturday, 16 June 2012

The 2kDozen 500: #219 - EPMD, "Unfinished Business"

Such was the light speed of hip hop back in 1989, that I strongly suspect EPMD were way well on an irresistible arc to irrelevance by the time this album came out. I was only vaguely aware of them at the time, but the sunhats on the cover date them firmly in the Eighties.

"Please Listen To My Demo" is the back-in-the-day reverie. "Jane II" is the sexy story of the horny woman getting them home. There's a party tune too: "It's Time 2 Party" stitches together various samples, end-to-end, like a party mixtape. It may've sounded more of a departure back in the day, but it sounds very laidback and minimal now. "Who's Booty" has a bit of a Tribe Called Quest feel and predates them by a few months, still a bit James Brown reliant and spliced with Funkadelic.

There's something not quite on the money about the flow either, a few words a bit hurried, perhaps not much punch. My qualifications are beneath reproach, of course. The production leans on the same stacks of auld R&B wax, whereas Public Enemy and Dre and De La Soul were already pulling much large back catalogues in greater, more exciting directions. "Snappin' necks and cashing cheques": perhaps but digging crates? Not so much. "Knick Knack Patty Wack" goes over the same Joe Cocker loop that Dre would use later for "California Love".

"You Had Too Much to Drink" has a strange Eighties rock keytar feel to it, a nightclub version of an extra Highlander movie. The lyrics are pretty lumpen too. And there's way too much role play chatting on it. It's too much of a public information film - and no-one even hits a bag of tomatoes with a cricket bat. Weeaakkk!

Rating: JBs out of Momentum

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