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Ice-T
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  • Rhyme Pays
  • Power


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    Rhyme Pays 8 ( 1987 )
    Intro-Rhyme Pays / 6 N The Morning / Make It Funky / Somebody Gotta Do It / 409 / I Love Ladies / Sex / Pain / Squeeze The Trigger / Make It Funky 12" Mix / Sex Bonus Beat / Somebody Gotta Do It 12" Mix / Our Most Requested Record

    For those of you whom a twenty year old RAP album is about as attractive as a twenty year old veruca, look away. For the rest of you, a then young MC Ice-T gets to grips with himself and pounds away on the rhymes. What a guy! Indeed, the bass-drum on 'Funky' is so heavy and exciting your feet are likely to vacate your shoes and head straight towards the dancefloor. The six minute opener, 'Intro' is nothing of much, 'Make It Funky' is glorious and where the album really begins. 'Ladies' and 'Sex' in particular leave little to the imagination and make sure the listener is in no doubt Ice-T prefers the ladies and that's where he's 'happiest to be'. Well, we weren't doubting you in the first place, Ice. For those judging Rap music lyrics, there's nothing overly offensive here if everything is taken in context. Personally, I find many a Prince album track more lyrically offensive than these often funny boasts and bravado's. The more out-there and polictical of punk acts in the UK often had more odious and offensive lyrics whilst others were just too stupid to not realise they were being offensive in the first place. Oooh, heavy bass-drums are back for 'Pain', almost nearly obliterating everything in their site. It's on this kind of old-school rap track my speaker system and sub-woofer are tested and I love it. Gets an old swagger in your step, it truly does.

    Oh, for those of you wondering. 'Raising Hell' by RUN DMC released a year earlier shows more maturity and skill on the decks than the beats on 'Rhyme Pays' do, but Ice goes for shock and effect for the beats on his record, hence the simple yet heavily effective likes of 'Make It Funky' and 'Pain'. Elsewhere, the beats and music does stretch out a little '409' being particularly impressive. It's also a track on which ICE-T himself utterly convinces. His flow has a rhythm and melody all of its own, arguably stronger than Run DMCs trade-offs.

    A verse from '409'.

    Every day I make a sandwich with ham and cheese
    Use miracle whip I don't like mayonnaise
    I eat a can of beans good for my heart
    About 1 a.m. I always.....
    Far from me to bite anothers rhyme
    They're just too easy to write
    I do'em two at a time
    Like doggin' the wax and ya don't quit
    And if you didn't like that then suck my....
    Dictations how I write my raps
    Cold maxin' with two freaks upon my lap
    Chillin' on the phone,bookin' more def shows
    An' if the freaks get illy I smack the....
    Whole days of my life are spent inside my bed
    Just maxin' an' relaxin' like I'm at club med
    Ya say you like this record,you think it's fun?
    Party people get stupid we just begun!!!

    You see, both skill and humour! Newer rap loses the humour a little, I find. It's the humour I love in Run DMC's earlier work. It's great looking back at some of these older rap albums and just listening without predjudice. 'Our Most Requested Record' seems to feature Michael Jackson from Bo Selecta just briefly, which is most entertaining. It's another noisy blast for those that want to know. The entire record is paying attention to Run DMC and the pioneering work they've done. It's an enjoyable album with far less filler on it than your average rock record, so props to Ice-T for that. Yo.

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    top of page Power 8 ( 1988 )
    Intro / Power / Drama / Heartbeat / The Syndicate / Radio Suckers / I'm Your Pusher / Personal / Girls L.G.B.N.A.F. / High Rollers / Grand Larceny / Soul On Ice / Outro

    'Rhyme Pays' is an important 'Gangsta Rap' milestone. 'Power' is just the 2nd album by Ice-T. Now, that may be unfair, but rap was moving at a rate of knots back then. Ice-T has sharpened up his beats and some of the faux-band backing tracks are hugely enjoyable. His raps retain their power in terms of rhyme, attack and flow. Some of the lines are lazy, but overall this is another excellent LP. 'Power' and 'Drama' are two very strong cuts, the title track is a furious lyrical and verbal assault on the senses, I'm livin' large as possible,posse unstoppable / Style topical,vividly optical / Listen,you'll see'em sometimes I'll be'em / Cops,critics and punks,necer ever wanta see me in POWER / Well,that's too bad,Apocalypse Now I'm back and I'm mad'. Well, indeed. Drama' is a fakeish freakish soul groove of a tune over which Ice-T tells a story. There's a lot of stories here and a lot of first person narrative to hold your attention. Produced by Afrika Islam, a virtuouso DJ able to spin four turnables at once. So, Ice-T goes for the jugular on 'The Syndicate', goes firmly old-skool (?) throughout 'Personal'. Ice-T talks of himself, a usual rap thing. He takes a few stabs at the authorities and over the fake soul bass groove of 'Heartbeat' tells us again what a great MC he is whilst also mentioning Afrika Islam and Not robbin' or killin',just mic illin' The phone rings,"WE MADE ANOTHER MILLION" and so forth. For 'Gangsta Rap' 'Power' is pretty tame compared of N.W.A or in fact almost anybody these days, 'Rhyme Pays' seemed to me to be a little more on the dangerous side. Still, 'Ice-T' had a little success and a little bit of power indeed and raps about it. We don't mind, because his flow is excellent, even if it appears he'd been listening to Eric B And Rakim. Well, there are worse people to be listening to.

    I make records for music, not for the money sings Ice-T during 'Radio Suckers'. Not a single rapper could really say that and not face some kind of flak these days. This album is nearly twenty years old, now that's a thing. I even remember the album cover. It seemed a bit tasteless back in 1988 when I was fourteen years old, but there's now denying the bikini that woman is wearing. It's an hilarious album cover, Ice looking suitably mean, but not really. Clearly posed as Ice-T set about establishing himself. 'Power' firmly established him. 'Rhyme Pays' was important, 'Power' is just as good a record and that's a pretty good start to your album career. Those of you for whom Ice-T is a celebrity rapper, old-school kind of joke, actually listen to one of the mans albums, you know? Rap isn't just Public Enemy and De La Soul for rock fans. Rap can be everything for rock fans with an open mind. This album has some grooves but more importantly it has Ice-T at the top of his game.

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    top of page this page last updated 15/04/07


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