WASHING DIRTY LINEN IN PUBLIC
ON THE evidence of the track ‘Gettin’ Loose’, it seems 2 Live Crew don’t want to get too clean: “Grabbed one by the head/Threw her on the floor/Opened up her thighs/Guess what I saw? A hell of a mess…”
This, you understand, is the hygienic, sanitised version of the much hyped As Nasty As They Wanna Be album that got at least one American record shop owner arrested for trying to do his job, i.e. unload the mother.
Of course, if you deprive a nasty rap record of its right to depravity, within a scratch and a beat “Down bitch and spread ’em” becomes “Back to mine for coffee?” In theory, anyway. The point is that really dirty rappers (and they do have their function) should either dump their load or get off the pot. At least there’s some humour (albeit of the sick variety) on the dirtier double LP available on import.
The gritty realism of ‘Get The Fuck Out Of My House’ and the ‘size counts’ sensibility of ‘Dick Almighty’ never make it to the clean version, and ‘The Funk Shop’ is called something else on the Nasty LP. It’s still just a pornographic, hip hop version of ‘Love Shack’.
Roy Orbison’s classic ‘Pretty Woman’ becomes ‘Big Hairy Woman’ and ‘My Seven Bizzos’ chronicles a different lay for every day of the week. ‘C’mon Babe’ is one long, lame chat-up line.
They fare much better on the drugs and violence tracks like ‘City Of Boom’, which says the city is run on money and keys (i.e. kilos), and ‘You Got Larceny’ which is an education on the street legal system of inner city America.
The beats are stripped down and mean sounding a la Schooly D and Just Ice, but some tracks are tempered with a party flavour, reminiscent of JVC Force. It’s the less-is-more school of thought and a good one for achieving that spare, sinister feel.
The samples are Hendrix and Soft Metal, and they’ve all been done to death. Not a hell of a lot to recommend here, on any score.
© Michele Kirsch, Select, October 1990