Tuesday, January 30, 2007

MC Search

OK, I admit it - I watch VH1's The White Rapper Show. Yes, it's another reality TV show, but I like the twist - a bunch of white rappers compete against each other for prizes and the perhaps dubious tag of the "next Eminem". They live in Brooklyn the Bronx, in less than fabulous quarters, dubbed "The White House". They get visits from some of hip hop's big names - Grandmaster Flash, Fat Joe, Juelz Santana, Brand Nubian's Sadat X & Lord Jamar - who offer sage advice. It's four episodes into it and I am hooked.
It is hosted by MC Serch from old skool original white rappers 3rd Bass. I was a big fan of 3rd Bass back in the day, as it was refreshing to hear some white rappers who didn't suck. Watching this show has me digging out their oldies. Today's post spotlights their 1989 debut album The Cactus Album (Cee/D). Wow, it's two years shy of being 20 years old! It definitely sounds dated and of it's era, but to me it is one of the great eras of hip hop, with the rise of De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, the Jungle Brothers and Queen Latifah as well as fellow white rappers The Beastie Boys. Serch and Pete Nice had Prince Paul, Sam Sever and PE's Bomb Squad on production, so their sound was definitely not the watered down pop hop of their rival Vanilla Ice. Lyrically they mixed social commentary (Product Of The Environment) with goofy humor (Brooklyn Queens or The Gas Face), and both rappers had pretty good mike skills to complete the package. Here are two of my favorite tracks; Wordz Of Wisdom (produced by Sam Sever) features a crisp breakbeat,some funky keys and good wordplay. The killer Steppin' To The A.M. comes with beats and bass courtesy of the Bomb Squad's Hank and Keith Shocklee and Eric "Vietnam" Sadler. Check the chorus with it's samples of Beastie Boys, Schoolly D, Chuck D and The Time (what time is it!?!).
The pair went on to hook up with DJ Richie Rich and record 1991's Derelicts Of Dialect which gave them their biggest hit (Pop Goes The Weasel) before they split up. Serch released a solo joint in 1992 called Return Of The Product (which I also listened to today and enjoyed - maybe a post forthcoming...) and Pete Nice and Richie went on to record 1993's Dust To Dust (which I sold long ago). They reunited in the late '90s to record a song, and there were rumors of a full blown record/tour but all of it fell through. Pete Nice now sells baseball memorabilia in Cooperstown NY, and Serch is on my TV every Monday night.

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