Thursday, October 23, 2014

Hip Hop Nostalgia 101, Session 41: A 25 Year Retrospective, 3rd Bass' "The Cactus Album" (1989)

After the success and positive response of Beastie Boys' "Licensed To Ill" in 1986, that trio not only influenced aspiring artists of all races, but they also set the standard, if you will, but White MCs to emerge and do their thing. In my view, race was never an issue. If you had talent and could rock the mic like anyone else, you deserved to be accepted in hip hop, and that's where today's session comes in. 3rd Bass, actually hip hop's first interracial group, was comprised of MC Serch, Prime Minister Pete Nice (I've always liked this name), and DJ Richie Rich, and in 89 they dropped their debut, "The Cactus Album".


Release date: October 23, 1989



1. Stymie's Theme
This 15 second intro leads us right into.....


2. Sons Of 3rd Bass
Produced By Sam Sever


Sample check


Word had it back in the day that this song was a direct shot at the Beastie Boys, especially during Serch's opening verse. Be that as it may, the song itself is good for the most part.
*Grade- B



3. Russell Rush
Russell Simmons, well known head of Def Jam Records, comments briefly on the group.


4. The Gas Face
Featuring Zev Love X from KMD
Produced By Prince Paul, Co-Produced By 3rd Bass

Sample check #1

Sample check #2


If you were a "sucker MC", lol, against 3rd Bass, or promoted racism in any form, you were put on blast by the crew on this classic, one of their most popular, well known songs. 
*Grade- A+



5. Monte Hall
Produced By Sam Sever and Pete Nice


Sample check #1

Sample check #2


A decent smooth one right here, for the ladies if you ask me.
*Grade- B



6. Oval Office
Produced By The Bomb Squad, Co-Produced By 3rd Bass

Sample check #1

Sample check #2

Sample check #3


Serch and Pete Nice tell a rather funny story about their adventures in the "oval office", lol, in more ways than one.
*Grade- C



7. Hoods


8. Soul In The Hole
Produced By Sam Sever and Pete Nice


 Sample check #1

Sample check #2


Soul in the hole indeed. Another dope cut right here, and they utilized Stanley Turrentine's "Sister Sanctified" just as dope as BDP did the prior year with the classic "My Philosophy".
*Grade- A



9. Triple Stage Darkness
Produced By Sam Sever and Pete Nice

Sample check #1

Sample check #2


Good song, including some well worked samples, specifically B.T. Express' "This House Is Smokin".
*Grade- B



10. M.C. Disagree

11. Wordz Of Wisdom
Produced By Sam Sever and Pete Nice

Sample check


Clocking in at 6:31, this banger was certainly fast paced in its own way, featuring that unmistakable 3rd Bass sound.
*Grade- A+



12. Product Of The Environment
Produced By Sam Sever and 3rd Bass

Serch and Pete's account of where they come from was their form of introspection and a dope song as well. At 6:16, it's another fast paced song like "Wordz Of Wisdom".
*Grade- A+



13. Desert Boots

14. The Cactus
Produced By Sam Sever and 3rd Bass

Sample check
 

This one reminded me so much of something De La Soul would've made. As a matter of fact, I could've pictured Trugoy and Posdunos with a guest appearance here.
*Grade- C+



15. Jim Backus

16. Flippin' Off The Wall Like Lucy Ball
Produced By Sam Sever and 3rd Bass

Sample check


Oh man, if this was meant to be their form of comedy, sadly it failed. Let's continue on.
*Grade- D



17. Brooklyn-Queens
Produced By Pete Nice
Sample check
 

Serch and Pete show mad love to Brooklyn here, all the while referring to the borough as a "queen".
*Grade- A+



18. Steppin' To The A.M.
Produced By The Bomb Squad, Co-Produced By 3rd Bass

 Sample check
 


Another Bomb Squad produced classic, designed to get you on your feet more than anything else.
*Grade- A+



19. Episode #3

20. Who's On Third
Produced By Sam Sever and Pete Nice

This was a brief showcase of DJ Richie Rich on the wheels of steel.


21. Wordz Of Wisdom (II)
Produced By Sam Sever and Pete Nice

Part II was longer than its predecessor and just as good if not better.
*Grade- A+





While not quite the album that Beastie Boys' "Licensed To Ill" was, at least on the level of production, 3rd Bass' debut was a unique treasure, but it still had the elements of hip hop that made it a very good album, including the right dose of comedy throughout. MC Serch and Pete Nice had good chemistry with each other, plus they balanced things well in terms of being serious and comedic at the right times. Furthermore, largely thanks to both versions of "Wordz Of Wisdom", "Steppin' To The A.M.", "The Gas Face", "Product Of My Environment", and "Brooklyn-Queens", this certified Gold album will stand the test of time. Mad props, respect, and thanks to MC Serch, Pete Nice, and DJ Richie Rich.


Final Grade- B+

No comments:

Post a Comment