Boogiemporium: KMD’s “Mr. Hood”

If you’re like me (which likely you’re not), you’re wondering about how you are going to navigate through all the garbage music and movies for your kiddo(s) when they arrive. I mean, let’s be real here, I’ve been listening to what I want to listen to at the volume I wanted for the last twelves years approximately without little interference or interruption. Sometimes the lovely wife takes objection and, easily with her request, I’ll oblige, but now with little ears listening, I have to use stronger discretion.

I had cleaned out my collection to make room for Ellison and you should’ve seen the stack of giveaways. It was close to every failed foul-mouth rapper from the last decade. And some CDs I had duplicates of like it was twice that good. I was even slightly embarrassed when I started giving this stuff out. It was just some really bad music. And if it had no place in the home of a married man, you could bet it didn’t have any place in a family home. Problem is, neither does really dope records like, say, the first four Ice Cube records. When in the hell am I going to listen to those?

As I pondered such a depressing notion, it’s like life’s nudging you, saying it’s time to grow up. There’re impressionable ears listening.

I saw a cat in an Insane Clown Posse shirt the other day walking his two kids out to the car and I was thinking to myself that duke probably plays ICP records around his kids and they’re going to grow up to be two knuckle-dragging carnies who drink too much Big Red, eat too many Cheetos and have violent outbursts in public. I don’t want Ellison to be that. I want Ellison to be refined. Well-rounded. Sure, she’ll make some decisions on her own, but anything I can do to direct or guide that future decision, you know I will.

Well, I found a record that might have a place in your new reality. KMD’s Mr. Hood.

Teddy Ruxpin, Dr. Seuss, Bert and Ernie and the Three Little Pigs. Of course, it’s a hip hop record too. Sambo, defined racial overtones, 5% Nation, the occasional crackhead, the pursuit of the opposite sex. The difference between Mr. Hood and, say, almost every record that came out in 1991, it’s remarkably clean lyrically with no more offenses than a PG movie. Even a De La record carried enough innuendo that would sometimes go a tad too far for, say, a three or four year old. KMD, however, accomplish pure musical mastery under the careful work of DJ Subroc and co-producer MC Serch, Prime Minister Pete Nice and Dante Ross. Zev Luv X (who goes onto to transform himself into the one and only MF Doom) and Onyx carry the bulk of the lyrical contribution and are especially playful and positive.

<Zack Morris Time Out>

**I had a rant one time on The Root Down (The Six Worst Developments in Hip Hop’s History) about “conscious hip hop”, you know, the “positive” stuff that you can listen to in front of the kiddies. Yuk. It’s come full circle. I promise never to use the word “positive” to describe music ever again. My first and only offense.

Where was I? There’s occasional racial and religious rhetoric which sometimes might lead to that “Daddy, what’s a 5-percenter?” conversation. And be careful of Brand Nubian’s (specifically Grand Puba) cameo on “Nitty Gritty.” Dude rolls out some sexually suggestive lyric that might lead to some other back-and-forths with your kiddo about dirty magazines and the “lovin’ hand.” But they make up for it for inviting in Bert and Ernie the sing-a-long, er, hum-a-long favorite, “Humrush.” With characters like Preacher Porkchop, the 808 Man, the Boogie Man, the Boy Who Cried Wolf, this album is more like a Sesame Street episode than a rap record. It’s been reissued some twelve times now after Elektra dropped the crew after the artwork for Bl_ck B_st_rds which showed a Sambo character hanging from a tree–a definite turning point in the group’s short history. It went from playful to definitively militant and angry on the second record. But don’t miss this beautiful accomplishment. It’s PG so the youngun might have to earmuff a few moments, but buy the disc, listen it through and pull the tracks you’re comfortable with onto your iPod and be done with it.

Three outta five Dirties for this beauty for it’s incredible Golden-era sound with little language and uncomfortable racial overtones that you’re not prepared to talk about with your kiddo.


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