Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Casual - That's How It Is 12"


Jive (1993)

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 twenty-five plus 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.

Fear Itself by Casual is my second favorite hip hop album of all time, only No Need For Alarm by Del has had more spins throughout my life.  Much like I did with Del, I decided that it was time to gather up all of the accompanying Casual singles of that era.  I'm starting off with "That's How It Is," this first single from Fear Itself.

I did always think it was a little odd that this was the first song picked as a single.  Not that it isn't great, because it is, but it seemed a little too intense for a new listener.  Over a deliberate, rumbling bass line, Casual unleashes punishing battle raps with intricate rhyme schemes and bars for days.  It's one of the things Casual is best at, but I can't help but wonder if a song like "Me-O-Mi-O" or "Lose In The End" wouldn't have been just a little more digestible to the average Yo MTV Raps fan.

This single has several extra tracks, but most aren't particularly exciting.  There's the instrumental and an a capella version of "That's How It Is" as well as an appearance by another track from Fear Itself, "Thoughts Of The Thoughtful."  Again, another great track, but it is also on the full LP.  The only real exclusive is the Disseshowedo Mix remix of "That's How It Is."  It's more than a remix as there's a completely different vocal take as well with some new rhyme schemes and a completely different cadence.  It's really great and the beat is pretty incredible.  It's almost like a new song and I'm definitely into it.

Casual - "That's How It Is (LP Version)":

Casual - "That's How It Is (Disseshowedo Mix)":

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