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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
So Stylistic
Tommy Boy Records

Rating: NR/10 ?

October 1, 2004
Tommy Boy Entertainment has been through a lot of changes in recent years. After a decade under the major label umbrella, founder Tom Silverman bought Tommy Boy back from Warner and has re-launched it as an indie. Perhaps even more significantly, long-time uber-producer Prince Paul, who virtually defined the label with his production work on De La Soul's influential 3 Feet High And Rising and his own masterstroke, Prince Among Thieves, left the label.

So in the post-Warner, post-Paul 2003, what is Tommy releasing?

Well, mostly club music. One of the only hip-hop releases Tommy has dropped all year is Fannypack (think "Fanny" as in the posterior and "Pack" as in group, check the cover art above, and it makes sense). And even So Stylistic has its share of dance beats.

But it is very much a hip-hop album, even if it is girl group hip-hop that resets the style to an age before TLC or Destiny's Child, when Eazy-E oversaw girl groups like the scatological Hoes With Attitudes and the pop-friendly J.J. Fad. Fannypack is more like the latter than the former, but also recalls the forgotten female MC Ice Cream Tee who rapped with The Fresh Prince on "Guys Ain't Nothing But Trouble" back in 1987.

The album features straightforward party rhymes from three New York girls, with DJs Matt Goias and Fancy providing the music and beats, which are tight and clean, if a bit traditional. Goias and Fancy borrow heavily from late 1980s club beats and the early 1990s hip-hop sampling style favored by the East Coast, Golden Age groups whose upbeat rhymes predated gangsta rap.

There are a few tracks that rock - the rude single "Cameltoe," the old-skool bang of "Theme From Fannypack," and the title track. But too much of the rest are annoying skits or filler built on trite lyrics and cutesy beats. The worst offender is "Things," which, with its chorus of "I like things/that make me glad/I don't like things/that make me sad" is disposable twee-hop.

But then one must consider that Fannypack's fans most likely aren't looking for deep soul-searching lyrics, or Def Jux-worthy beats. They're looking for inane rhyming and silly, catchy songs, which this album has in spades. Listeners who are spending the summer enjoying MC Paul Barman and the Electric Six may want to check out So Stylistic, or "Cameltoe," at least. It may not go in steady rotation anywhere for more than a few months, but with a strong promotional push and serious crossover potential with the electroclash movement, Fannypack is likely to be a force to be reckoned with as long as summer lasts.

Reviewed by Erick Bieritz
Erick Bieritz lives in Chicago, where is usually either very hot or very cold. He was the brainchild behind EPMD, where he wrote about EPs and singles for LAS, looking for overlooked or underappreciated non-album releases.

See other reviews by Erick Bieritz



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