Too Legit For the Pit
Hardcore Takes the Rap (Radical)
by Scott Hefflon
I have fundamental issues with both hardcore and rap (and nü metal), but before I get to social impact and blahx3 (and piss off most people reading this), I’ll make note of a few of the real gems here. A few songs sound like they were just really fun to play, even if the covers are just some semi-talented growling white guys with pants that don’t fit, wallet-chains, and ball caps who don’t know dick about living in the ghetto or the weight of constant prejudice, but can play the bare bones of the song well enough to fool others in the same situation. Hands-down the best song is the opener, Stretch Arm Strong‘s cover of N.W.A.’s “Express Yourself.” They turn it into a big whoa-whoa, and it just sounds bright and fun, unlike a lot of the pissy howling hardcore often utilizes. And the glockenspiel breakdown reminds me of 7 Seconds’ cover of “99 Red Balloons,” and I mean that in a good, push-the-limits kinda way.
Following is Candiria‘s cover of Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg’s “Deep Cover.” Like Sevendust on Take a Bite Outta Rhyme, these guys have the advantage of a black singer – a guy with a roar as well as soul and rapping ability that whitey just can’t copy. Another obvious fave is Throwdown‘s cover of Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “Baby Got Back.” Great delivery turns this bootie-shakin’ dance fave into a dark, dangerous, freaky slam pit classic. While I always thought the original was more pop, like MC Hammer or something, it’s a great song, hard rap or not. Another dopey fave is The Movielife‘s cover of Public Enemy’s Flav-dominated “Can’t Do Nuthin’ For Ya Man.” It’s an easy song to do goofy, and while I can’t really tell if the band is being playful or if they’re limp-wristed emo posers thinking they’re all cool and clever, I’ll give ’em the benefit of the doubt cuz they get the subtleties and details right. The details are what the skim-the-surface emo/slacker losers usually miss, and that’s how you can tell the worthy from the overhyped soon-to-be-forgottens. A final fave, one that took me longer to appreciate, is E. Town Concrete‘s cover of Nas’ “The World is Yours.” Maybe cuz I don’t know the original that well, or the hardcore style is more straightforward and therefore harder to pick out as exceptional, but after repeated listens, hell yeah, add it to the list of the best on this thing.
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