Saturday, May 17, 2008

Mannish "Jive U The Mann" (1995)

Obviously, Scratch Live has changed the entire game for a lot of DJ's and vinyl heads...people with heavyweight vinyl collections seem to be thinning them out these days, since you can just spin the digital copy anyways. If you've moved enough times, you know how the vinyl collection can feel more like an unwanted anchor than an arsenal.

As I was digging through a local spot in Philly a few weekends ago, though, I started to reconsider the whole idea. This spot was selling bonafied gems for $2-$5, and the only reason I could think of (confirmed by clerks) was the great Scratch Live sell-off. Fuck selling, now is the time to BUY...I'd almost given up hope of finding a pristine copy of this twelve, but here it was for cheap:

For a lot of heads, Mannish was one single -- "Expect That" -- that ultimately got buried in the avalanche of dope mid-90's indie hip-hop. The B-side to the "Jive U The Mann" 12" -- "Mannish", pictured above -- was a MONSTER cut that hardly saw the light of day.

"Mannish" is effortlessly ill, and definitive of the mid-90's hardcore underground hip-hop sound that made no one any money (see Da King & I). The beat is simultaneously thick and minimalistic; the kick & snare are heavy, but the sampling is sparse with a sinister bassline. The effect is complete: the instrumental still bangs just as hard, thirteen years later.

MC Jekill's style on this cut reminds me of Da King & I's Izzy (which isn't a bad thing), and serves as a tour of tight mid-90's delivery. It's not quotable lines as much as consistently solid wordplay, cadence variation, battle rap bravado, and MC-as-hip-hop-cultural-critic:

Real artists, the ones that can relate to what I'm sayin'
The lyrics: no bullshit, no playin'
Some of these hardcore niggas is straight gay
Slappin' women 'cause they get it up the anus every day

Aww shit -- it doesn't make any sense
'84 I dropped my metaphors on pages galore
Jekill's the general givin' my listeners lyrical mineral
Mineral lyrical listeners give in general

Consider "Mannish" essential listening if you've slept, a testament to the sound a lot of heads won't forget. Includes "Mannish" album, radio, and instrumental, as well as "Jive U The Mann" album, radio and instrumental.