Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Da King & I - Contemporary Jeep Music LP


Rowdy (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.

Da King & I is another one of those long forgotten hip hop acts of the early 90s that I discovered digging through internet lists of forgotten hip hop acts of the 90s.  The descriptions I read had sounded right up my alley, so I hunted down a copy of their only album, Contemporary Jeep Music.  I've discovered a lot of great albums this way and while I won't say this is the one I like best, I do think that this is an album that would have probably been one of my favorites if I had actually gotten to hear it in 1993.

I never remember seeing Da King & I on Yo! MTV Raps and I also don't recall seeing them in The Source, but I imagine they probably got written about at some point and I just don't remember a random article from a magazine that I last saw thirty years ago.  (as an aside, if you want to have your mind blown, go look and see how much 1992 and 1993 issues of The Source sell for on eBay.  I had wanted to track down some of those old ones I had, but the cost of entry is quite prohibitive)  I can only assume this album didn't sell all that well at the time and they were relegated to the dustbin of hip hop history.  But I am really glad I dug around and discovered them.

The beats are pure, uncut 1993 goodness.  Jazzy loops, keyboards in the breaks, cracking snare drum punctuating hard bass drum beats. Production-wise, it's about as good as you're going to find and it holds up with most albums of the era.  Izzy Ice handles the vocals and does a pretty admirable job living up to the high bar the beats set for him.  His lyrics may not dazzle you the way some of the MCs that dabble in more complicated rhyme structures, but all of his rhymes are serviceable and his cadence meshes pretty perfectly with the music.

To me, this is really one of the great forgotten gems of 1993 hip hop.  It's an incredible record that's just begging for a fancy reissue on 90s Tapes or something like that.  Really happy I stumbled across this one.

Da King & I - Contemporary Jeep Music:

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