Tight Bro’s From Way Back When
Lend You a Hand
Lend You a Hand would be the perfect soundtrack if you ever decided to chug a fifth of Jack Daniel’s like it were a miniature carton of apple juice. You’d savor the last sip, and then wish the bottle was a tiny box so you could just stomp all over it, and smash those smiley cartoon apple faces to bits.
Realistically, Tight Bro’s liquored up AC/DC sound will make you destroy your stereo (to get closer to the music), or leave you dangerously befuddled in a 30 car pileup on I-95. That’s what you get for selling your soul to rock ‘n’ roll – so be it – it sure beats selling your girlfriend for trance.
John Belushi might have dug Tight Bro’s music. It’s easy to picture him (shirtless, of course) holed up in an expensive hotel, chasing creamy skinned bimbos with furred bikinis, while “Gimme the Key” blares loudly in the background.
If it sounds too “rawkish,” have no worries. Tight Bro’s (I’m not sure why there’s an apostrophe in their name) avoid becoming jangled hick noise by stealing the blues. On “Show Me,” lead singer Jared Warren (formerly of Karp) thrusts his hips with lightning bolt power as he hollers “Show me a woman that’s got a good man, and I’ll show you a woman that’s doin’ all she can,” until his vocal cords collapse like an old barn.
The highlight of this album is a cover of the Animals classic “Inside Looking Out.” It runs on spirited guitars, maracas and a throbbing bass until the jamboree session sputters out, the sun rises and the kegs are empty. The themes scattered about Lend You a Hand are a given: lousy heartbreaks, sizzlin’ romance and doing doughnuts, but that doesn’t mean you’ve ever heard tunes this bitchin’.
If classic rock stations were smart (or weren’t owned by corporate monopolies), they’d start slipping songs from this disc on after midnight, right beside the usual staples by Hendrix, Deep Purple and T. Rex. But, as we all find out sooner or later, usually from Mick, you can’t always get what you want, and unfortunately classic rock radio will never play Tight Bro’s, especially now that they have called it quits. So grab the JD, unset your alarm clock, turn the music up full blast and imagine a perfect world – until some RA narcs on your door and absurdly questions why you’re blah blah blah.
For more info: www.killrockstars.com.
Under Tha Influence
This is the party album of 2002.
OK player – that must be why Dr. Dre is jocking Quik’s beats. You know that moderately wack single “Addictive” by Truth Hurts with the lax verse by Rakim? Contrary to rumor, Quik made the beat, not Dre, and the beat is uncut hotness – the only thing that makes the track worth a quick listen. Every beat on Quik’s Under tha Influence is forty galaxies beyond that one.
The intro/first track, “The Proem” features Shyheim, the blue chip member of Wu-tang’s extended fam, and Talib Kweli, currently the most dynamic lyricist on the scoreboard, slaying jewels all over Quik’s neo-gangsta Cali production. A massive hurricane of beats and R-rated lyrics is about to touchdown – don’t worry about hiring a DJ, just leave this disc on repeat.
On “Come 2Nyte,” Quik comes with three verses (he’s the producer who rhymes and writes his own lyrics) of explicit head nodding that rock like Too Short on Ritalin, while Truth Hurts drops an adequate hook. “Put It on Me” showcases some guest production by Dre, and just to hate, it’s clearly the weakest beat on the album. It plays like crisp leftovers from 2001, with Dre’s spacey, patented production doing nothing more than retracing his past moonwalks. When you skip past a track blessed by Dre, that’s crunk taboo, but Quik is Kobe to his Shaq – quicker handling, more versatile slams – which would you rather see with the ball?
Before you can answer, “Murda 1 Case” and “Ev’ryday” score off of two fast breaks. The former bounces around like Milf jugs to a ragga hook, as Pharoahe Monch “sells fakes Gucci bags on eBay.” The latter washes a choppy Cali synth line over some thumpin’ Southern dirt influence, as Quik reassures a husband that “Truth is she had homies/I was horny/So we laid on the bed and made sandwiches.” Hah.
The album’s most tripped out record, “50 Ways,” is the also the one (read: only) track with a sense of social and spiritual morale. It combines a subtly ascending beat with a marching drum roll and somehow captures the reflective memories of an innocent, long forgotten summer. The lyrics, “Now which part of this movie did I just miss? /Did I really sell my soul to this big, red bitch?” paint a literal confrontation with the devil, similar to DMX’s “Damien,” (but good) before eulogizing a dead friend, “But when you start to bubble, then your friends, they spite you/And if you go to church, then hip hop don’t like you.” The track is so def because you can sink into it like Johnny Depp on an Elm Street mattress, or stay afloat partying the night away.
Adding to the scorching beat marathon is a 4 minute-long sax instrumental entitled “Quik’s Groove 6.” Several West Coast rap collectives dabble with jazz, especially Madlib and Stones Throw, but when has an artist claiming Compton this hard displayed the balls and musical know-how? Daz Dillinger, Kurupt, Snoop – go ahead bring out the whammies.
Toss in some above par G-funk bangers, zero lame skits, zero rock crossover idiocy, and tadow! – an album that will get your friends off the couch (if not, seek new ones), and solidify any weekend bash (2 keg minimum) as legendary (by UM house party standards). Go to your nearest record store and paper bag it.
For more info: www.dj-quik.net.
Hunter Stephenson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.