SONG TITLE: DEAD ON IT
YEAR OF RELEASE: 1994 (1987)
COMMENTS: This comes from the infamous "black" album which surfaced as a bootleg in 1987. Hearing "some silly sh!t rapper talking silly sh!t raps" provokes our hero to explain the bottom line on the genre: "The rapper's problem usually stems from being tone deaf. If they pack the hall and tried to sing, there won't be no one left." And then he shows the punks how it's done.
He lays out the goods in a confident and unhurried mid-tempo. A cutting contest with the gangster rap community for Prince is something like shooting fish in a barrel. Some NWA is obviously little competition for an accomplished multi-instrumentalist who has already proven himself to be the greatest musical genius of his generation - of any race. Prince's rhymes are more clever, and god knows the playing is a lot more accomplished. The organ, rhythm guitar, and chicken scratching lead guitar are making with that groove thang. The vocal harmonies and fills alone (la, la-luh-la-lah etc.) are more interesting than most whole hip hop songs.
And there is a goddam song, which is to say melody, under the rhythm gimmicks and clever and well deserved punking Prince does to the rap community. Most raps are not really songs; there is not enough memorable pattern in them for anybody else to cover. Besides attitude, they have little to offer. I mean, who would bother to cover anything by Dr. Dre or Snoop Dogg? There's nothing there TO cover.
"See, the only good rapper is one that's dead [pregnant pause].....on it."
A reader responds
Music Sustains the Soul
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