Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Black Sheep - A Wolf In Sheep's Clothing 2xLP


Get On Down / Universal (2014, Reissue)

Every Wednesday, in honor of Ed Lover Dance Day from Yo MTV Raps, I take a break from rock and roll to write a little bit about hip hop. In the late 80s and early 90s hip hop ruled my musical life. During this often called 'Golden Era' I discovered so much incredible music. As I am slowly replacing the CDs I've had for 25+ years with vinyl copies, I'm going to talk about some albums that had a really important impact on me during some very formative years.

Like most folks in the 90s, I was taken by the Black Sheep video "The Choice Is Yours (Revisited)" which I saw on Yo MTV Raps pretty often in 1991.  That song is one of those that broke out of Yo and had pretty big impact on the rest of the world.  Recently I heard used on a car commercial with CGI hamsters, so for whatever it is worth, this isn't one of those songs that didn't make a dent in the mainstream.

The record as a whole is one that I have grown to appreciate more and more as I've gotten older.  For whatever reason when I was fourteen in 1991 I was a little disappointed the first couple of times I listened to my CD.  I think it's because the vast majority of the album is much more laid back than the video that made me pick it up to begin with.  However as the years have gone by, my appreciation has only grown and in some ways I like the rest of the album even more than the single that initially caught my interest.

Most beats are the sort of mellow Native Tongue style jazz loops that I always associated most closely with A Tribe Called Quest.  But Dres and Mista Lawnge have a darker approach that doesn't have the sort of upbeat hopefulness that Tribe pulled off.  Black Sheep are more content to wallow in the shadows a bit and spin songs that are a bit edgier, but also allow Dres to opportunity to showcase his smooth multisyllabic flow.

This version of the LP is one of the only ways to get all of the songs from the original CD on vinyl.  Most single LP versions are missing "Flavor Of The Month (Revisited)" (which seems pretty insane when you think about it) and the closing track "Yes."  For me to upgrade my CD to vinyl, there was no way I was going to lose those songs.

Black Sheep - "The Choice Is Yours (Revisited)":

Black Sheep - "Flavor of The Month"

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